After months of negotiations, French employees have won a respite from after-work emails, texts and phone calls.
A new labour agreement has been signed between several employer groups and French unions that bans digital communication after working hours.
After months of negotiations, millions of employees in the nation’s consulting and tech industry will now have a ‘duty to disconnect’ from their communication tools after work, according to reports in French media.
Employers will also be banned from pressuring their employees to answer texts or emails under the new agreement.
The Guardian reports that the deal will affect a million employees in the technology and consultancy sectors, including French employees at Google and Facebook.
It is being widely reported in Australian and British media that the ban takes effect after 6pm, although the text of the agreement does not seem to specify a time.
The agreement seems to be an attempt by French unions to fight back against creeping intrusions – from bosses and technology – into work-life balance.
France was the first country to ever legislate a 35-hour working week in 1999.
Working beyond the hours of 9pm and 6am is outlawed in the country unless the work is of social or economic importance.
The agreement was negotiated with employer groups Syntec and Cinov and two unions.
Syntec has hailed the agreement as “une avancée sociale majeure” or a major social advancement on its website.
If enforced, the agreement could bring respite for many French employees from the bombardment of job-related emails and text messages after clock-off – and yet another reason to daydream of Paris.