German labor ministry bans after-hours email from managers to employees


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Seems like an odd requirement. Do employers in Germany habitually collect the personal email addresses of employees? Because that’s the only way I’d ever get an after hours email from my boss… as soon as I clock out I’m not checking my work email until the next morning.

Pages, well that’s another matter. But those come with the territory.

The article is horribly ambiguous, but this applies only to their own employees, not all employers.


I assumed it is to stop businesses from getting out of paying people who should be on call.

@KarlS is right though. I had to read it a second time to understand.

I sometimes email coworkers outside business hours. I understand that they might not respond until the next work day; I just want to get it in their queue. If I were subject to this rule, I’d want the ability to compose the message at my convenience and have it delivered automatically when business hours resume.

I don’t mind getting messages during off hours. That might be partly because my boss doesn’t seem to expect a response right away. But I also think of it as the flip side of my own freedom to do online shopping or (ahem) post to BoingBoing during business hours. It isn’t as black-and-white as it was in the factory days.

It’s the law IN CALIFORNIA in the good ol’ USA.
California labor laws aimed at tech firms demanding unpaid overtime mandate that workers must be paid for evry work hour, even for answering an email or logging in off hours, or before the start of workday or during lunch.

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And do employees faithfully enter these times?

ha ha ha oh, April Fools, so funny. no, CA bosses email around the clock, and work their employees like dogs laws? ha. I know a contract employee who is paid for 8 hrs/day, working 12

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Please please please add “its” before “managers”. It’s far too ambiguous and took me far too long to work out what was actually meant.

Then the paying party is in violation of contract and exposed to liability. Unless they have dirt on your friend, he or she might well have them over a barrel and not even know it.

{Citation needed} - Source:

And yes, it only applies to employees of the ministry.

This could work okay at places where there’s a pretty standard set of working hours for most everyone. If you’re the kind of place that runs basically 8AM to 5PM and almost everyone tends to work something pretty close to inside that kind of schedule, it wouldn’t be hard to not email folks when they’re off. You could just limit to only emailing between 8 and 5. But in a lot of work places, it’s not that simple. Like my husband’s plant works several shifts. There are lots of people working lots of different schedules. What would be normal working hours for some bosses and employees to email are likely to be intrusive for others. Like his email will sometimes blow up around when the shift that’s at work at 4AM is having a meeting. If he was also at work at 4AM, it would be no biggie, but since he doesn’t start till 7, it is a nuisance that wakes us up while we’re sleeping if we leave the phone turned on. And he deals with people in different plants in different time zones, even different countries,too, so it would be a challenge to make sure that not only are the emails matching up with that employee’s normal work schedule, but also to make that schedule work with the time differences. To email someone who’s working in the plant in China would require being awake at a time that is definitely not a typical working time for the people in the central time zone of the US where we live.

A lot of people these days have their emails, including their work email, tied in with their smartphones. So while they might not have purposely sat down at a desk top and logged in to their work email, they still are bothered with notifications and with the emails themselves on their off hours.

Pretty much any email client will schedule an email to be sent at a certain time, or under certain conditions. That’s its job.

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