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France: Law Permits Workers To Ignore Work Emails After Hours

France: Law Permits Workers To Ignore Work Emails After Hours

“Right to disconnect” law in effect January 1, 2017

A new “right to disconnect” labor law going into effect January 1st, gives French workers the legal right to ignore work emails after hours.

The Guardian reports:

From Sunday, French companies will be required to guarantee their employees a “right to disconnect” from technology as the country seeks to tackle the modern-day scourge of compulsive out-of-hours email checking.

On 1 January, an employment law will enter into force that obliges organisations with more than 50 workers to start negotiations to define the rights of employees to ignore their smartphones.

Overuse of digital devices has been blamed for everything from burnout to sleeplessness as well as relationship problems, with many employees uncertain of when they can switch off.

The measure is intended to tackle the so-called “always-on” work culture that has led to a surge in usually unpaid overtime – while also giving employees flexibility to work outside the office.

. . . .  Under the new law, companies will be obliged to negotiate with employees to agree on their rights to switch off and ways they can reduce the intrusion of work into their private lives.

If a deal cannot be reached, the company must publish a charter that would make explicit the demands on, and rights of, employees out-of-hours.


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buckeyeminuteman | January 3, 2017 at 8:17 am

I’m not so sure that compulsive email checking is the scourge that France needs to tackle right now. I can think of millions of others though…

    This is not aimed at compulsive email-checking but compulsory email-checking. I wonder whether this is just a case of poor translation.

    Nothing in the law prevents employees from checking their work email as often as they like; it prevents bosses from reuiring and expecting it outside the hours that have been negotiated and made explicit. Surprisingly, for France, this is a fairly sensible regulation. It doesn’t impose specific hours on anyone, it merely reuires them to come to some agreement and have a formal policy about which hours are “on” and which are “off”.