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France Bans Work Emails During Non-Working Hours, What Will French Workers Compulsively Check Now?

As long as no one bans non-work emails during working hours, we'll be OK.


Working in France has some pretty great perks like several weeks of required vacation time and a 35-hour work week (though they’ve relaxed restrictions on exceeding that limit a bit in recent years). Well, they’re going even further to protect their work/life balance by banning work-related email activity after working hours.

Last week, a labor agreement was signed that forbids checking work email after 6:00PM when you’re supposed to be having valuable family time. It also stipulates that employers are forbidden from pressuring employees to break the rule and engage in work business during after work hours.

Man, the guy in that horrible Cadillac ad would be really pissed if he lived in France now even more than he already seemed like he’d hate living anywhere outside of the United States. He seems like the kind of guy who’d invent a whole new day of the week and expect his employees to work on it. And he’d call it something like Americaday or Freedomday or something. And—oh, right. France.

The new email rule even applies to people who work from home, who will have to set working hours and keep themselves from indulging in inappropriate email checking. It all sounds pretty hard to enforce, so it’s likely going to be up to workers to report when their company expects them to respond.

As for how anyone will know if workers break the rules, it’s probably up to their fellow employees who don’t want to look bad for abiding by the rule to report rule-breakers, because reporting coworkers to the government sure will make them employee of the month. Either way, France is committed to this measure in an effort to ensure that being constantly connected doesn’t mean being constantly on-call.

Whether it works or not remains to be seen, but it’s nice that someone cares that employers increasingly expect their workers to basically work all day without paying them any extra. If anyone’s going to put their foot down on that kind of thing, I’m not surprised it was France.

I bet France would actually remove one of the five workdays if they thought they could get away with it. I’m a little surprised that they haven’t tried it yet. Or maybe they did, and they just don’t want everyone else to find out and try to copy it or move there. I bet they got rid of Tuesday. Tuesday is basically just a second, worse Monday.

(via Geek, image via Kevin Baird)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.