French Workers Win Limits On Checking Emails After Hours

In France, the land of 35-hour workweeks and five weeks of paid vacation for full-time employees, two French unions have signed a new labor deal that will place limits on checking work emails outside of normal working hours. Under the new guidelines, workers will be required to step away from their work phones and devices after work hours and are not allowed to check emails for 11 hours each day.

While many English-language outlets reported on Thursday that the ban would require up to a million French workers, it turns out that the deal will affect around 200,000 employees. Here's The Local's translation of Slate's French-language description of the deal:

"France has not banned workers from sending emails after 6pm" was the simple headline in Slate. The site pointed out that the agreement, which was not a new law, between federations Syntec and Cinov and unions CFDT and CGC, only affects around 200,000 workers, not the whole of France as some of the headlines would have us believe, not even the “million workers” quoted in the Guardian. Those workers are mainly employed in management positions and work outside the framework of the 35 -hour week nor a typical 9 'till 5 or 10 'till 6 hours. In reality they work all hours of the day and evening, hence the need for them to be protected. Slate also points out that agreement has no mention of a 6pm cut-off point.

While the facts may have been exaggerated by anglophones, many American workers can understand the rigors constant connectivity brings to the workplace, which now exists anywhere, not just your place of work.

Whatever your opinion of the agreement, it speaks to a growing belief in the Western professional world that work never ends, and that technology's purpose is to tie workers to their jobs, not to improve lives or relationships.

Shouldn't it all be about balance? In France, some workers are saying yes, and we can get behind that at MindBodyGreen.

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