Make fun of the French all you want (seriously, do it, it’s fun) but they’re way ahead of Americans with this idea.
First, back in 1999, the French passed a law that forbid employers from making employees physically work more than 35-hours a week. In other words, when the 35 hours were up, employees could say “au revoir” to the office.
Now, this was passed back in the 90s, when Internet was only on computers and cell phones were the size of smart cars. In 2014, it’s possible for bosses to contact employees at any time, day or night, and expect an instant response. “Aucun!” said the French. (That’s French for “no.” Jeez, crack open a book much, ya French culture mannequin.)
The employers’ federations and unions went back to the meeting rooms and passed a new law to keep up with the times. A new, legally binding labor agreement will require workers to switch off their phones after 6pm. Sorry boss, it will have to wait until morning.
But there’s more!
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. Thus the spirit of the law – and of France – as well as the letter shall be observed.
This would never, ever happen in America. Could it? Let me know in the comments if you think this could happen in the US or if we’re all doomed to work 24 hours a day for the rest of our lives.
When the French clock off at 6pm, they really mean it [The Guardian]