France Looks To Pass 'Right To Disconnect' Law

| by Jimmy King
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, FranceThe Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

France is reportedly set to adopt the “right to disconnect”.  The move being considered would give French workers the right to disconnect from work emails while off the clock.

The proposed measure comes as the French government is reportedly concerned about “burn-out” of employees who work around the clock, reports Independent. 

France currently has a 35-hour national work week, and is seeking to avoid extra hours being covertly added.

“There are risks that need to be anticipated and one of the biggest risks is the balance of a private life and professional life behind this permanent connectivity,” said French labor minister Myriam El Khomri in an interview with The Local.

The new law may be meant as an incentive for French companies to prohibit their employees from making work-related calls and emails while off the clock.

“Professionals who find the right balance between private and work life perform far better in their job than those who arrive shattered,” said Bruno Mettling, the author of a report that first suggested the new measure.

A recent study by the French research firmTechnologia suggests that 3.2 million French workers may be overworked, reports The Local.

Head of Technologia Jean-Claude Delgenes explained how technology may be adding to the number of hours worked by French employees.

“France’s appearance from the outside can be a bit simplified.  There is a lot of overtime.  Most workers don’t adhere strictly to the 35-hour work week,” Delgenes told The Local.

“We have poor self control when it comes to new technology.  Work spills over into people’s private lives.  The difference between work and social life used to be clearly distinct.”

France’s recent economic woes may be motivating workers to work extra hours for fear of losing their jobs.  The country is experiencing a record unemployment rate, with joblessness at at more than 10 percent.

“We need a change of attitude.  If we introduce a right to disconnect but not reduce the workload for those under pressure, managers will just ignore it or find a way of staying connected.  When people work too much, they end up working badly,” Delgenes said.

Sources: The Local, Independent, Trading Economics / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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