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GERMANY BANS CALLS FROM BOSSES AFTER HOURS

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GERMANY BANS CALLS FROM BOSSES AFTER HOURS

Post by Darkmen on Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:06 am

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Ministry staff not to be penalized for switching off mobiles

Germany's labour ministry has banned its managers from calling or e-mailing staff out of hours except in emergencies, under guidelines intended to prevent employees from burning out, media reported.

The guidelines state that ministry staff should not be penalized for switching off their mobiles or failing to pick up messages out of hours.

The move follows similar restrictions on after-hours email imposed by German companies, including Volkswagen, BMW and Puma.

VW stops forwarding emails to staff from its company servers half an hour after the end of the working day, while other companies have declared that workers are not expected to check email on weekends or in their free time.

The labour ministry's rules allow contact only if the task cannot be postponed until the next working day. Managers should apply a principle of "minimum intervention" into workers' free time and keep the number of people whose spare time is disrupted as low as possible.

The code is part of a broader agreement covering remote working. Ursula von der Leyen, the labour minister, told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the rules had been drawn up to protect workers' mental health.

"It's in the interests of employers that workers can reliably switch off from their jobs, otherwise, in the long run, they burn out," she said.

The minister called on companies to set clear rules over the after-hours availability of their workers earlier this year, warning that "technology should not be allowed to control us."

The culture of routinely checking emails in spare time came under the spotlight in July, when Carsten Schloter, the chief executive of Swisscom, Switzerland's biggest telecoms group, was found dead at his flat in a suspected suicide.

Two months earlier, he had criticized the need to be permanently engaged, saying: "The most dangerous thing that can happen is that you drop into a mode of permanent activity."



Source: AP
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