Worker unions and federations have signed an agreement that orders employees from the consulting and technology fields to turn off their work emails at 6 p.m. and bans employers from forcing their employees to be available online after work hours are over.
Unions made the argument that contacting employees through email at all hours of the evening made employees work more than 35 hours a week, going against the work hour agreement passed in 1999.
“Digital work time” in France will now be monitored by unions to keep employers from overworking their employees.
“We can admit extra work in exceptional circumstances but we must always come back to what is normal, which is to unplug, to stop being permanently at work,” said Michel de la Force, Chairman of the General Confederation of Managers.
This stipulation includes French employees from branches of some major companies like Facebook, Google, PwC and Deloitte.
The nine-hour time difference between France and California means that email correspondence from France to Google or Facebook’s headquarters will have to be done before 9 a.m. in France.
Despite working fewer hours than most countries, France maintains some of the highest productivity levels in the Total Economy Database.
France also has higher life expectancy and higher life satisfaction rates than average, according to the OECD Better Life Index.
French people spend 15.3 hours a day on leisure activities and personal care like sleeping and eating, according to the OECD.
At the time this article was published, a poll on The Guardian indicated that 73% of people thought that the after 6 p.m. email ban is a good idea. The poll closes in two days.