Though I only just found out (via Ana Díaz-Hernández) that last summer, the German Ministry of Labor, concerned about overworking employees, set new guidelines against non-emergency communications with Ministry employees after hours. This from The Telegraph:

Ursula von der Leyen, the labour minister [ed: she was made minister of defense late last year, and is probably the only defense minister in the world who could be played by Jodie Foster, preferably directed by David Fincher], told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung 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 out-of-hours availability of their workers earlier this year, warning that: “technology should not be allowed to control us and dominate our lives. We should control technology.”

The English-language German Web site The Local adds,

Employees will also not be penalized for turning off their mobile phones or failing to return messages while off duty.

Out-of-hours contact from managers is only allowed when something is so urgent it can no wait until the next working day.

Von der Leyen signed off the new rules to try to stop employees taking work home with them, something which has become easier to do with laptops, emails and smart phones.

The ministry said they were the first public body in Germany to introduce such rules which were agreed following long discussions between the staff council and management.

Given the recent work on the effect of dealing with work-related email late at night on productivity the next day, this is looking like a very smart move.