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German ministry bans out-of-hours calls to staff

BERLIN (AP) - Germany's labor ministry has banned managers from calling or emailing staff out of hours except in emergencies.

The ministry says the measure is intended to prevent staff from suffering undue stress by being constantly on call.

Daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Friday that the ministry is following the lead of major German companies such as automaker Volkswagen and Deutsche Telekom.

The newspaper cited official guidelines stating that no staff should be penalized for turning off their cellphone or failing to pick up messages after working hours "to prevent self-exploitation."

It said managers were also being urged to refrain from calling staff while on leave but out-of-hours contact was permitted "in exceptional circumstances."

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