A new bill would make it illegal to contact employees after work hours.

After-hours work emails can be stressful to deal with.

The old saying is, "don't take your work home with you." But the new reality for many people is that work follows you home in the form of emails, text messages, and social media.

New York City Council member Rafael Espinal Jr. has introduced a bill which would make it illegal for businesses to require that employees check their email or other electronic communication during non-work hours.


If an employer breaks the rule, they'd be fined $250 and required to pay an additional $500 to their employee.

The "Disconnecting From Work" bill also includes days in which an employee is out on vacation, sick days, or personal days off.

"There's a lot of New Yorkers out there that don't know when their work day begins or when their work day ends, because we're all so tied to our phones," Espinal said.

"You can still work, you can still talk to your boss, but this just is saying that, when you feel like you've hit your boiling point and you can't do it anymore, you're able to disconnect and decompress for a while."

France passed a similar law and other countries are following their lead.

France made international headlines with its own "right to disconnect" law in 2017. They have a very different work culture than the United States, with a mandatory 35 hour work week ceiling in most professions, and workers receiving an average of 31 paid vacation days each year.

One French lawmaker described the law as a necessary move to combat "info-obesity."

Italy's Senate approved similar legislation last year, and many German companies, including Volkswagen, have voluntarily instituted similar policies, where their company servers automatically shut down outgoing emails between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. each day.

This isn't a pipe dream. Espinal has sponsored other eye-catching bills that became law.

Before you laugh off Espinal's bill as unrealistic, consider one other piece of legislation he's already successfully helped make a reality.

His "Office of Nightlife" proposal was signed into effect by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, creating a $130,000 position for former club owner Ariel Palitz, who now oversees a 12-person committee with a $300,000 annual budget dedicated to addressing the city's "nightlife issues."

As with that proposal, Espinal says his "right to disconnect" bill will actually be good both for the mental health of workers, and for the city's economy.

“Studies have shown that if employee disconnect, whether it’s from the internet, leaving the office, take some time off and go back to work the next day and do a better job,” he said. “This is great for business, this is great for the employers.”

A healthy work/life balance is important, and some people might need a legal intervention to get there.

Critics of "right to disconnect" laws say that such changes alone cannot change a work culture that is increasingly shifting toward an "always on" mindset.

And they have a point.

Much of that responsibility rests with managers and everyday workers to embrace a culture of trust where both sides believe the best work is done when someone is well-rested and healthy.

But Espinal's proposal is at least a start to help bring attention to the larger issue, and there's no better place to start than in "the city that never sleeps."

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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