The Guardian reports (with the sardonic twist that seems inevitably to color British reportage on French subjects) that the French unions are negotiating labor agreements that protect worker free time:
employers' federations and unions have signed a new, legally binding labour agreement that will require employers to make sure staff "disconnect" outside of working hours.
Under the deal, which affects around 250,000 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. Thus the spirit of the law – and of France – as well as the letter shall be observed.
The New York Times adds,
the agreement will affect perhaps 250,000 consultants and technology workers whose contracts stipulate only an annual number of workdays, but not daily working hours, said Frédérique Lebon, a spokeswoman for Cinov, another employers’ federation that signed the deal. The agreement is meant to establish safeguards that would ensure “balance” in the lives of employees, many of whom work with foreign companies in far-flung time zones, Ms. Lebon said.
Before one jumps to the conclusion that this is just another example of how a bunch of wine-swilling, baguette-munching existentialists will do anything to preserve their right to lean against bicycles and chain-smoke, or that such legislation is the logical extension of the Terror and Napoleon, I'll note that similar things are happening in Germany. And that there's good evidence that NOT checking email in the evenings lets workers be more engaged during the day.