France: No more extended work hours via smartphone access

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In the spirit of pulling back from the edge of the connected life & work, France has implemented a new labour agreement mandating that employees must ignore their bosses’ work emails once they are out of the office and relaxing at home – even on their smartphones.

An excerpt from the article:

..noticing that the ability of bosses to invade their employees’ home lives via smartphone at any heure of the day or night was enabling real work hours to extend further and further beyond the 35-hour week the country famously introduced in 1999, workers’ unions have been fighting back. Now employers’ federations and unions have signed a new, legally binding labour agreement that will require staff to switch off their phones after 6pm.

Under the deal, which affects a million employees in the technology and consultancy sectors (including the French arms of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PwC), employees will also have to resist the temptation to look at work-related material on their computers or smartphones – or any other kind of malevolent intrusion into the time they have been nationally mandated to spend on whatever the French call la dolce vita. And companies must ensure that their employees come under no pressure to do so.

The French have evolved ahead of the rest of the human race. Congratulations, guys. Hopefully, the rest of us will catch up soon. Please go read the full news report: When the French clock off at 6pm, they really mean it.

PS: There is a rejoinder to the above-linked Guardian article. Apparently, just like in the German case that I wrote about earlier, the agreement is binding on only a section of labour and not all French workers. You should read that too: No, France Did Not Make It Illegal To Answer Work Emails After 6 P.M.


  1. I think the enforceability of this depends on the nature of the job in question.

    it certainly can’t apply in all work situations..

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