That's because France now has a legally binding labor agreement that respects tech employees' right to disconnect when the workday is done, Business Insider reported, correcting an original report from another outlet claiming that France was making it illegal to answer emails after 6 p.m. The measure, which took six months of negotiating between employers and workers' unions, was made to keep managers from infringing on employee's "legally mandated rest period" with emails, text messages or phone calls, according to Business Insider. If it can't get done in their 35 hour workweek, the French seem to be saying, then it can wait.
But maybe France is just trying to play catch up with Germany. In 2013, Germany's labor department created rules protecting employees from punishment for not being "on" during off hours, with an exception for work that couldn't wait until the next workday.
"It's in the interests of employers that workers can reliably switch off from their jobs, otherwise, in the long run, they burn out," labor minister Ursula von der Leyen said then.
That burnout fear is real. As we've reported, technostress, or the feeling of being on call 24/7, can create an overwhelming sense of pressure on employees that hurts everyone. "This ever-present connection makes them feel like they’ve lost control over their time and space," OPEN Forum contributor Andrew Angus wrote. "Eventually, they’re overwhelmed by the volume and variation of their responsibilities, feel unable to accomplish tasks effectively and experience a high level of job dissatisfaction."
Add to these initiatives the fact that every country in the EU has at least four weeks of paid vacation, and It's enough to make you want to rethink your work-life balance policies.
Read more articles about work-life balance.