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French “Right to Disconnect” Law Goes Into Effect


Workers march in 2016 to express their opposition to longer working hours. On January 1, a new law went into effect banning employees from responding to work emails after hours.

This is What’s Trending Today.

The start of a new year brings many new laws into effect in the U.S and around the world.

For example, a new law in California makes it illegal for drivers to hold their mobile phones while in the car.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, people who buy drinks with added sugar, like Coca-Cola, will be taxed about 50 cents per liter.

In Colorado, residents must not pretend their untrained pets are special service animals.

And in France, a new law requires employers to ensure that their employees have time to disconnect.

The “right to disconnect” law went into effect on January 1.

The French Ministry of Labor says the rules make sure workers have time away from work and with their families without feeling as if they always need to read their work emails.

Companies with at least 50 employees will have to set up quiet periods at night and on the weekends when their staff does not have to respond to work messages.

One French member of parliament told a news service that email and other electronic messages can be like a leash. Constantly feeling connected to work can cause a lot of stress.

There is also some concern that workers are not properly being paid overtime if they check their emails.

Two universities in North America reported studies showing that work-related communication on nights and weekends can be a problem.

Many people reacted to the news on Twitter and Facebook.

One person wrote: “Shoutout to the French. Coming through with the work-life balance protections.”

Another wondered why Americans do not have the same right.

A third writer wanted to know when this idea will spread around the world.

And that’s What’s Trending Today.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Is there a law about work email where you live? Let us know in the comments section.

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Words in This Story

pretend –v. to act as if something were true

leash – n. a long, thin piece of rope, chain, etc., that is used for holding a dog or other animal

overtime – n. time spent working at your job that is in addition to your normal working hours

shout-out – exp. an expression of praise

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