A new labor union agreement in France mandates that employees must ignore their bosses’ work emails once they are out of the office and relaxing at home – even on their smartphones. The Guardian reports that France has outlawed employees from reading or responding to “work-related material on their computers or smartphones” after they clock out for the day. This regulation is in response to workers in the tech industry complaining about feeling pressured to be constantly available outside of their 35 hour workweek. According to The Guardian, this will mainly affect over a million employees in the technology and consultancy sectors, including the French outposts of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In today’s global economy, is it realistic to ban work email after-hours? Does “after-hours” even exist? These questions are all an outgrowth of this legislation, and while the thought of disconnecting and shutting down is appealing, do you think this regulation is a good idea?
Update: the labor agreement actually does not actually prevent checking emails after 6pm, because the class of workers covered by the agreement are paid based on days worked, not hours. So, the “obligation to disconnect communications tools”, applies only after an employee has worked a 13-hour day. Still, we wonder if this is the best way to help worker’s create a work life balance. More from The Economist here.