Does clocking off mean switching off?

Germany is poised to enact an anti-stress law that would make it illegal for employers to send emails to workers during their free time and holidays.

Andrea Nahles, the labour minister, announced her support for the legislation while introducing a study into mental health. Ms Nahles said she had commissioned the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to produce a feasibility study for a law to protect workers from stress caused by ‘constant contact’ with their bosses via smart phones and other devices. She said “There is an undeniable link between having to be constantly available for work and the rise in mental illness” The new legislation may ultimately forbid employers from calling staff during their free time.

The announcement came after some German companies had implemented similar rules. Daimler, the car manufacturer, has guaranteed stress free breaks for its 100,000 employees by offering them the option to have all their new emails deleted while they are away. Wilfred Porth, a director at Dailmer said “Our employees should relax on holiday and not read work related emails. With our ‘mail on holiday’ system, employees start back after a holiday with a clean des. There is no traffic jam in their inbox which is an emotional relief”

Although this is not a law that has been passed in the UK, it may be worth considering how you manage communications whilst employees are on holiday or at weekends. We are happy to assist our clients to develop bespoke local rules for holidays and to amend contracts of employment to provide the best fit holiday solutions for each individual clients’ business requirements.

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