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New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the annual-non-performance-review dept.

Communications 477

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Lucy Mangan reports at The Guardian that a new labor agreement in France means that employees must ignore their bosses' work emails once they are out of the office and relaxing at home – even on their smartphones. Under the deal, which affects a million employees in the technology and consultancy sectors (including the French arms of Google, Facebook, and Deloitte), employees will also have to resist the temptation to look at work-related material on their computers or smartphones – or any other kind of malevolent intrusion into the time they have been nationally mandated to spend on whatever the French call la dolce vita. "We must also measure digital working time," says Michel De La Force, chairman of the General Confederation of Managers. "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." However critics say it will impose further red tape on French businesses, which already face some of the world's tightest labor laws." (Continues)"However according to Simon Kelner French productivity levels outstrip those of Britain and Germany, and French satisfaction with their quality of life is above the OECD average. "No wonder, we may say. We'd all like to take a couple of hours off for lunch, washed down with a nice glass of Côtes du Rhône, and then switch our phones off as soon as we leave work. It's just that our bosses won't let us.""

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At least someone appreciates work-life balance (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713749)

If I'm off the clock, I should be able to completely ignore work and everything work-related. I should be able to leave my work smartphone in the office.

Re:At least someone appreciates work-life balance (5, Insightful)

pezpunk (205653) | about 5 months ago | (#46713861)

i agree. unfortunately, that's "un-American".

Re:At least someone appreciates work-life balance (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 months ago | (#46713945)

If I'm off the clock, I should be able to completely ignore work and everything work-related.

In a fair world you would be able to. Of course, in a fair world people also wouldn't check Facebook during business hours, or read personal e-mails, answer texts/calls their personal cell phones, shop on Amazon, or gossip with their coworkers at the coffee pot/water cooler outside of designated break times.

The work-life balance tilts both ways. YMMV, but I come out significantly ahead when I compare the personal things I do on company time against the occasional phone call or e-mail I handle during the evening or on the weekend.

Re:At least someone appreciates work-life balance (2, Insightful)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | about 5 months ago | (#46714071)

In a fair world you'd be able to accept more responsibilty in exchange for a set of benefits (salary, etc) you considered fair. I've interviewed for (and been offered and variously accepted) jobs ranging from a 9-to-5 position for a utility company that would be very stable and practically permanent to one at a startup with a small staff that meant only a couple of people were responsible for crucial 24/7 infrastructure. The former paid less but was, again, stable. The latter paid more, with promise of reward should the company succeed (it didn't).

If I'm willing to carry a mobile device outside of business hours, what bureaucrat's business is it to tell me I can't?

Re:At least someone appreciates work-life balance (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714217)

If I'm willing to carry a mobile device outside of business hours, what bureaucrat's business is it to tell me I can't?

Exactly! If you choose to accept the responsibility of the job, extending to after-hours work, then you should have the right to do so unmolested. However, a business should not *require* this of anyone who is not willing to do it. If the job will need 24/7 support, then the business should be up front about that when hiring for the position.

Re:At least someone appreciates work-life balance (3)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#46714115)

If I'm off the clock, I should be able to completely ignore work and everything work-related.

Lots of French people can ignore everything work related, since they have 11% unemployment, 25% for people aged 18-25. The last thing France needs is yet another reason for businesses to locate elsewhere.

Re:At least someone appreciates work-life balance (4, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 5 months ago | (#46714333)

he last thing France needs is yet another reason for businesses to locate elsewhere.

Yes, it would be nice if the rest of the world caught up. There is no reason to make anybody work more then 6 hours a day, 30 hours a week...

Re:At least someone appreciates work-life balance (1)

fche (36607) | about 5 months ago | (#46714409)

Aw heck, there is no reason to make anybody work at all.

What the French call la dolce vita? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713751)

Isn't that Italian?

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713769)

Wish I had mod points.. Mod parent up he is right!

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 5 months ago | (#46713819)

Yeah.... 'cos nobody uses expressions in a foreign language.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713917)

Oh well. C'est la vie.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 5 months ago | (#46713933)

The French do tend towards language chauvinism.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (4, Funny)

MadKeithV (102058) | about 5 months ago | (#46714157)

The French do tend towards language chauvinism.

Pah, they don't even have a word for entrepreneur.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (1)

Liquid Len (739188) | about 5 months ago | (#46714163)

The French do tend towards language chauvinism.

No, sorry but that's simply not true. The French language nowadays includes a lot of foreign words. Of course we have the French Academy which tries to impose French words for everything but really, these (generally old) guys are representative of themselves only, and have nearly no relevance. For instance, they tried to impose "couriel" instead of "email" (and a whole bunch of other ridiculous words) but hey, who would have guessed, it never picked up ...
I believe French-speaking Canadians, OTOH, tend to be much more protective towards the original language.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 5 months ago | (#46713809)

Isn't that Italian?

It's even better than you think. La Dolce Vita is a Federico Fellini film and not necessarily an Italian expression, let alone French. Even the link provided points to the Wikipedia entry for the film.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713935)

I'm Italian. "La dolce vita" is an Italian phrase composed by Italian words and with a meaning of it's own in Italian language. Fellini's movie title is connected to that meaning (it's not easy to understand exactly what the movie means though). Anyway the movie is famous all around the world, so I wouldn't be surprised to find out that phrase has become a catch phrase in other countries too.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (5, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 5 months ago | (#46713857)

The original said "whatEVER the French call la dolce vita", implying that the writer of that sentence is aware that French and Italian are two different languages.

MOD Parent up! (5, Funny)

Phreakiture (547094) | about 5 months ago | (#46714025)

Mod this guy up because he actuall read all the words and demonstrated the ability to grok basic sentence structure.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (1)

alta (1263) | about 5 months ago | (#46713869)

without googling, isn't that "The Sweet Life" or something like that?

I don't know any french or Italian, but it's close enough to Spanish.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (0)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 5 months ago | (#46714099)

without googling, isn't that "The Sweet Life" or something like that?

I don't know any french or Italian, but it's close enough to Spanish.

Was that a Felicity Kendal show?

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 5 months ago | (#46714213)

"Was that a Felicity Kendal show?"

No, that was "The Good Life"

at least in English

I think they translated that as "Goode Neighbors" for American audiences
   

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (2)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 5 months ago | (#46713871)

Yup, that's why Mangan writes:

whatever the French call la dolce vita

She's making a joke about her poor French skills.

Which possibly explain her total misunderstanding of a deal made between the unions and representatives of management (not a law), which is that bosses aren't allowed to hold workers refusal to handle work related mail outside of working hours against them.

There is nothing preventing someone from replying to the boss at 23:59, but if they don't the boss can't bitch.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713875)

I may be falling for something, but I'm going to assume you're serious.
It was a lame attempt at a joke in TFS.

Re:What the French call la dolce vita? (1)

Titus Groan (2834723) | about 5 months ago | (#46713947)

yes, in french it would be "la douceur de vivre"

Wrong way to go about it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713755)

If you want to stop after hours emails, make it illegal for the boss to SEND the email in the first place.

Their is automatic evidence (timestamp) and it doesn't put an employee between the law and un-written work rules where the employee is damned either way.

Re:Wrong way to go about it... (2)

rioki (1328185) | about 5 months ago | (#46713925)

Why should that be?! for example with flex time and all that it can very easy be that I will email someone who is already home with a "This is important, can you do this ASAP." I fully expect it to be done first thing in the morning the next working day, no more no less. Why should I not be able to do that?!?

On the other hand I also am sort of against all this private device / access company services outside of work thing. Why should someone access their work email outside of work? Outside of business hours I am not reachable, nor do I expect you to be, end of story. The only exception to that are people that are "on call", but they should get paid for that.

Re:Wrong way to go about it... (4, Insightful)

Raumkraut (518382) | about 5 months ago | (#46713929)

So what do you do about colleagues in other time-zones? Or on other shifts? Are they not allowed to email you outside of the times you're both at work - assuming there is any overlap at all?

Email is not IM; it's not designed to require or expect an immediate response. Nothing about sending an email necessitates that it must be acted upon immediately.

Good (3, Insightful)

guytoronto (956941) | about 5 months ago | (#46713763)

Tight labour laws are not something to be feared.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 5 months ago | (#46714047)

Yes, they are. Unrestrained legalism isn't the virtue that you think it is. It is the means of tyranny uses to creep into our world. But you're okay with tyranny, as long as it is your kind of tyranny, and that is a pity.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714169)

Yeah, let's have absolutely no regulatin instead, we've seen how weel that works in the finance domain-Ho, wait....

Re:Good (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 5 months ago | (#46714381)

Tyranny by government, or tyranny by business, Take your pick..

Re:Good (1)

Linzer (753270) | about 5 months ago | (#46714395)

I work under tight labour laws, and if you insist on calling that tyranny, then yes, I am perfectly okay with at least this much tyranny.

Yes, they are (1)

unixcorn (120825) | about 5 months ago | (#46714055)

I want the flexibility to make my own rules with my employer. Sure, I am on call but I make $40K more than my peers so, to me, it's worth it. I also expect to go home at night and order from 24/7 websites so I am guessing other employers require some of their workers to be on call like me. It's not perfect but I own it, not some government douche who thinks he is doing me a favor.

Re:Yes, they are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714331)

"A nation of temporarily inconvenienced millionaires" indeed. It's optimistic at best to think that this normally would be an equitable negotiation - more commonly, the employer would hint (in a non-legally-binding way) that it'd be preferable that they could reach you outside working hours, without actually offering anything in return.

Re:Good (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about 5 months ago | (#46714063)

Unless you happen to be a patient in a hospital hoping your stay is within the 23 x 6 x 263 uptime of the life critical hospital IT systems.

Re:Good (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 5 months ago | (#46714205)

Indeed. Bring on the overworked doctor to cut me open!

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714073)

This, buisnessed that can't deal with them are buisnessed that wouldn't survive a crisis anyway, they're not flexible enough and all that.

Re:Good (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 5 months ago | (#46714139)

My boss already knows that I don't obsess over email during my off hours. If it's important enough to need my immediate attention like a major outage, they will call me. No law required a good employer wouldn't expect you to respond to email 24/7 anyway.

La Douce Vie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713773)

Wouldn't "La Dolce Vita" be what Italians, and not French, call it?

Re:La Douce Vie (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 5 months ago | (#46713867)

Maybe some people just use expressions in a foreign language.

eg. Can you think of any Latin words used by lawyers? Latin's been dead for thousands of years!

Re:La Douce Vie (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 5 months ago | (#46713965)

A staggering number of people commenting here appear not to understand English, let alone French or Italian.

Re:La Douce Vie (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 5 months ago | (#46714119)

Maybe some people just use expressions in a foreign language.

Sacrebleu!

That's alright... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713775)

I already ignore my bosses' emails during working hours.

Might look like less of a (-1, Troll)

N1AK (864906) | about 5 months ago | (#46713793)

So I'm supposed to take seriously a critical submission about the French from someone ignorant enough not to know that la dolce vita is Italian? It doesn't even sound like it could be French, and there is even a French equivalent "la bonne vie" expression.

time they have been nationally mandated to spend on whatever the French call la dolce vita.

Re:Might look like less of a (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 5 months ago | (#46713887)

Well colour me puzzled. Surely the expression "whatever the French call la dolce vita" demonstrates that, whatever the French do call it, they don't call it la dolce vita? So he knows it's not a French expression, he just doesn't know what the equivalent expression in French is.

Well done for supplying the French equivalent.

Re:Might look like less of a (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 5 months ago | (#46714109)

French equivalent "la bonne vie"

Or perhaps la vie fade (dolce has a wide range of meaning).

Re:Might look like less of a (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 5 months ago | (#46714421)

French equivalent "la bonne vie"

Or perhaps la vie fade (dolce has a wide range of meaning).

The "boring, unseasoned, tasteless life"?

Zow, that's a weird translation.

"La dolce vita" (the film) was released in France as "La Douceur de vivre".

Douceur: softness/sweetness/gentleness/smoothness

Re:Might look like less of a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714365)

French don't say "la bonne vie". "La belle vie", maybe. They also say "dolce vita".

It is nice to see.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713803)

..that the repercussions of "Madame Guillotine" is still very much alive today in modern France. IMHO more countries could benefit from their government representatives being over-shadowed by the potential of losing their heads if they do not work for the benefit of the people.

A law for everything... (2, Insightful)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about 5 months ago | (#46713815)

Ah, so this explains why Silicon Valley is located in France.

Seriously, if someone wants to work crazy hours, why not let them?

I had that phase in my career, and it paid off. I'm in a different phase now. I just choose not to work after hours. If my employer didn't like that, I'd have found a better job by now. Same thing for travel - I used to travel a ton. Now I don't want to, and so I found a place to work with no travel. I'm a grownup, I can take care of myself, thank-you-very-much.

Re:A law for everything... (5, Insightful)

guytoronto (956941) | about 5 months ago | (#46713865)

We don't let people work crazy hours because it allows employers to take advantage of the desperate, poor, and ignorant.

Re:A law for everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714309)

As opposed to the desperate and poor actually *wanting* to work crazy hours to, you know, *not* be desperate or poor anymore? To maybe, like, better themselves? This is the point of overtime.

I do after-hours work on personal consulting projects because I actually like that extra $10,000 check in the mail that comes in once I finish the project. Makes it much easier to save for the expenses in my life that I know will be forthcoming (ie: car, house, engagement ring, wedding, etc.).

Re:A law for everything... (5, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 5 months ago | (#46713941)

Seriously, if someone wants to work crazy hours, why not let them?

Nothing stopping you.

All this says is the boss can't fire you for not replying to his out-of-hours email.

(Previously, he might have made an attempt to accuse you of "faut grave", a grave dereliction of duty, which could get you fired without unemployment insurance).

Re:A law for everything... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#46713957)

Don't let the bad headline fool you - it's a legally binding agreement - though exactly what it legally binds the parties to is not entirely clear, as I don't read French and I don't trust the Grauniad's jovial interpretation of it - but it's not a law.

Re:A law for everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714215)

Actually, this is a modification to the Syntec CBA, which is usually the CBA used in technologic company in france. So, not exactly a law, but something that can be referred to.

Re:A law for everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714319)

Good for you. But just because you slaved for a few years back then (blablabla...) doesn't mean workers shouldn't be protected from abuse.

  This article is complete FUD btw. Now law prohibits anyone from working remotely after hours. that is non-sense, and also completely impossible to enforce.

  However I think that it is impossible to get fired for refusing to do so. You cannot be fired for refusing to do something that you are not contractually obligated to do, which I find quite a legalistic and sane way of treating the problem. If you employer wants someone who works 16hours a day, then he should SAY SO in your contract.

  FINALLY in all the companies I have worked @, working over hours all the time was greatly frowned upon. People who are tired make bad decisions. It has been true forever and will always be.

get rid of salary pay / make it have a high level (4, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#46713823)

get rid of salary pay / make it have a high level before you get out of having to pay OT.

once workers start billing OT for doing work stuff at home then it will stop.

Re:get rid of salary pay / make it have a high lev (4, Interesting)

royallthefourth (1564389) | about 5 months ago | (#46713907)

In the 1980's, IBM (among others) invested lots of money to have legislation passed that makes programmers, engineers, and sysadmins into "salaried professionals" so that they wouldn't have to pay overtime.

The only way that could possibly be reversed is a group larger and more powerful than the owners of tech companies fighting to reverse it; that is to say, the organized tech workers will have fight for our own standard of living. We won't be able to do that until we are actually organized, though. Perhaps the sporadically striking fast food workers who were previously thought to be powerless can set an example for us.

Re:get rid of salary pay / make it have a high lev (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714083)

I work in the US as a software engineer, and I work at a company with many engineers. We're salaried, and we get payed OT. One year I worked so much OT I got 1.33x my salary, which is abysmal for work-life balance, but for a young unmarried 20-something it's fine.

Re:get rid of salary pay / make it have a high lev (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | about 5 months ago | (#46714107)

In the 1980's, IBM (among others) invested lots of money to have legislation passed that makes programmers, engineers, and sysadmins into "salaried professionals" so that they wouldn't have to pay overtime.

What legislation was this specifically that forced these folks to be "salaried" because I never heard of such a thing?

Re:get rid of salary pay / make it have a high lev (1)

afidel (530433) | about 5 months ago | (#46714153)

Or, you know we could negotiate a salary that we are happy with given the job descriptions we are applying for. Since I make between 2 and 3 times the median wage I'm ok with answering some emails off hours or waking up to a page once every 6 months due to a system problem. Then again I'm a tech lead and hence management so I'd be exempt under just about any rules =)

Re:get rid of salary pay / make it have a high lev (4, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | about 5 months ago | (#46714307)

See what that gets you after a few years when your salary has effectively dropped 5% due to raises failing to keep pace with inflation. Where do you turn when all the jobs in town are shit and your pay is stagnating? There's not always an individual option available.

At that point, the only option left will be collective action against the company. The only question remaining is how long it will take for tech workers to pull their heads out of their asses and realize that half of them will never afford retirement at the current pace of things.

Re:get rid of salary pay / make it have a high lev (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 5 months ago | (#46714341)

Well this agreement is actualy only for "management".

Of course it doesn't apply to people "on call", as long as "on call" is limited to a certain number of days/year.

And it's only a limit on what you can be required to do, it doesn't limit what you can do of your own free will.

(A page every six months. You lucky bastard. I dream of only getting a page once every six months).

In other news... (-1, Troll)

alta (1263) | about 5 months ago | (#46713849)

France fails at having an Internationally competitive workforce.

Re:In other news... (5, Informative)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 5 months ago | (#46713901)

France fails at having an Internationally competitive workforce.

Don't be ridiculous, France has one of the most productive workforces in the world (in GDP/worker and GDP/hour worked).

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714327)

Ha, not in aerospace. I've seen the french lose so many service deals in that sector due to restrictive labour laws it's not even funny.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713937)

France fails at having an Internationally competitive workforce.

And somehow, still have many companies being internationally competitive.

Re:In other news... (1)

CQDX (2720013) | about 5 months ago | (#46713983)

Yes, but are their business units in France the ones that do well? Or is their satellite offices in other countries like the UK and Germany that pick up the slack?

Re:In other news... (5, Insightful)

taylorius (221419) | about 5 months ago | (#46714003)

"France fails at having an Internationally competitive workforce."

Good for them. In the race to the bottom, France's "failure" sounds more fun than being the winner.

Short term - long term (3, Interesting)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about 5 months ago | (#46713895)

That's good for workers in the short term, it really is ridiculous how much work intrudes into our personal lives anymore, to where a company can practically own you; I can somewhat relate, having recently been made to go "on call" at work but where we're not really "on call" but expected to actively monitor 40 sites for a week, with a 4 week rotation among employees (and compensation for this new duty.. what's that? Only happens if we actually engage an issue, we're not paid for just the monitoring) I love how an employer can just change the terms of your employment, but it's not like I can walk in and declare I'm now going to make $8,000 more a year. BTW, we have a union, they don't do squat.. they just hit you for dues.
OTOH, this will ultimately put French businesses at a serious disadvantage in competing with other countrys' businesses, as their response time to an issue may be greatly reduced.
Rather than outright ban it, maybe just some solid restrictions on say, 11pm to 6am as off limits.. or alternating weeks or something ...and provide overtime pay, definitely.

Re:Short term - long term (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 5 months ago | (#46714007)

The only reason they get away with such abuse is because you let them. Of course I don't mean you specifically, but people in your position.

And if your union doesn't pull its weight, find another one that does. Failing that, resign and get a more fulfilling job!

The Guardian has it wrong (5, Informative)

Orphis (1356561) | about 5 months ago | (#46713905)

It isn't forbidden to read emails, it is forbidden for employers to require the employees to read them or be reachable through their personal or company phone.
Employees must be allowed to have a 11h "blackout" between two consecutive working days and 35h during weekends.
If an employee wants to read emails and do extra work, it's up to him, but it can't be imposed.

And this is an agreement just for some business types (mainly IT related), not everyone.

A FANTASTIC idea! (1)

fellip_nectar (777092) | about 5 months ago | (#46713911)

Ah, yes! Let's make forced overtime the employees fault!

Boomerang (3, Informative)

barlevg (2111272) | about 5 months ago | (#46713913)

My boss has started using this [boomeranggmail.com] , because he knows that if I see an email come in at 10pm, I will open it on my phone, read it, and then promptly forget about it before I get to work the next morning.

Do you really need to legislate this stuff? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46713931)

How about mandatory pee breaks?

Re:Do you really need to legislate this stuff? (1)

Bongo (13261) | about 5 months ago | (#46714075)

How about mandatory pee breaks?

You should't be required to answer the phone then either.

Re:Do you really need to legislate this stuff? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714201)

You clearly never worked in a factory..

Re:Do you really need to legislate this stuff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714405)

If you don't mandate it, you get into the grey zone of companies strongly hinting that it would be prudent to answer your mail 24/7, offering nothing in return. You're free to ignore it, of course - and they're free to keep it in mind when dealing with you. Making it explicitly illegal gives you a much punchier answer if it comes up.

And if they break the law, then what? (2)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 5 months ago | (#46713973)

A fine? And if the business is willing to pay it as the cost of doing business?

.

La Dolce Vita... (0)

curious.corn (167387) | about 5 months ago | (#46713977)

... is not a French film, it's Italian, written and directed by Federico Fellini (together with several other heavyweights of italian contemporary culture.) That's like saying that sombreros are typical of the USA... pfff

What does the agreement REALLY say? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#46713979)

Would anyone who reads French be able to give a less jovial and more accurate interpretation of what the French article says?

Call me cynical, but I have a hunch we may not be getting the full story from the Guardian's "article."

Also:

New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails

It's not a law.

Re:What does the agreement REALLY say? (1)

CQDX (2720013) | about 5 months ago | (#46714013)

It's 4:30 over there. Quit'n time. You'll have to wait until 9am tomorrow before anyone over there is allowed to answer.

Re:What does the agreement REALLY say? (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 5 months ago | (#46714183)

It's 4:30 over there. Quit'n time. You'll have to wait until 9am tomorrow before anyone over there is allowed to answer.

You're thinking of Germany, not France.

We tend to quit around 18:30.

Illegal to work (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 5 months ago | (#46713989)

So what this law does is preventing people who want to do more from doing it, making it illegal for people who want to climb the corporate ladder faster from attempting that.

I am sure that the French will figure out a simple way around this law, after all if an employer sets up a newsgroup and posts to it after hours, who can prevent employees that are interested in reading what the boss posts from subscribing?

Re:Illegal to work (2)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 5 months ago | (#46714249)

No, what this not-a-law does is makes it harder for your boss to sack you for not doing work outside working hours.

If you want to try and climb the slippery pole by brownnosing, feel free.

The Guardian article is not accurate (5, Informative)

taikedz (2782065) | about 5 months ago | (#46713993)

Reading the original article on Les Echos.fr [lesechos.fr] , it seems to me this is not law but an agreement between a coalition of enterprise owners and the unions - they've signed an agreement to implement this.

La semaine dernière, après six mois de négociation, le patronat des sociétés d’ingénierie et de conseil et des bureaux d’études (Syntec et Cinov) a signé avec la CFDT et la CGC (56% de leurs salariés à elles deux) un avenant à l’accord de 1999 sur les 35 heures qui pourrait avoir valeur d’exemple.

"Last week, after six months of negotiation, [ a union of ] bosses of engineering, consulting and design departments (Syntec and Cinov) signed with CFDT and CGC [workers' unions] (56% of their joint workforce) an ammendment to the 1999 agreement on the right to 35 hour working week which could set an example [to the rest of the country?]."

A third union that didn't sign, the CGT, is actually deploring the fact that it still has a loophole allowing it to be ignored, and a previous agreement between the two camps to try and improve working conditions was struck down by a court of law:

Cela suffira-t-il à convaincre les juges? L’avenant est un nouvel épisode du feuilleton juridique, que les signataires espèrent être le dernier dans leur profession. En avril 2013, la Cour de cassation avait invalidé le précédent dispositif, jugeant le contrôle de l’amplitude et de la charge de travail insuffisant.

Will it be enough to convince the judges? The amendment is a new episode in this jurisdiction saga, which the signatories hope to be the last in their profession. In April 2013, a high court rejected their last attempt, judging that the control of the amplitude and amount of work insufficient.

French journalistic style is not as easy to decipher as English-language journalism -- the French style is very fond of appearing as literary as possible. I'll post extra translations at some point if anybody wants.

I wouldn't like this (3, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | about 5 months ago | (#46714011)

Many people seem to enjoy strict segregation of work and personal life. I don't. I like flexibility; I like being able to leave work for a few hours in the middle of the day to go to a kids' school play, or go for a bike ride, or go skiing (next winter I'll be working from home full-time, 20 minutes from a ski resort; I'm seriously planning to be skiing from 9-11 AM almost daily) or whatever. I like being able to, with a totally clear conscience, spend an hour reading and posting on slashdot or G+ or whatever. I also like being able to work in the evening when inspiration strikes, or to make up for time spent away from work during the day, or for whatever reason. Heck, maybe I just want to and for whatever reason don't have anything better to do just then.

I don't live to work, but I like my work, and I don't like drawing a sharp line separating work and non-work. I think that sort of separation is a recent invention anyway; historically work has been a part of life rather than walled off into a particular portion of each day. Of course, I have no objection to people who prefer to manage their work/life balance by sharply separating them. If that what works for them, more power to them. It's not my preference, though, and it's not the only way to balance the two. It's not something that should be legislated.

If it can be done in English (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 5 months ago | (#46714031)

If whatever work French employers want done can be done in English and online, I am right here ready to do it! I've been unemployed for a while now and would rather be working.

morons (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 5 months ago | (#46714035)

Back in a world with logic, just tell people not to check their e-mail after hours. It's actually a lot simpler to not do something than it is to do something.

Keep dreaming (5, Informative)

Noryungi (70322) | about 5 months ago | (#46714037)

One point that is not in the original Guardian article is that this is a proposal only, and a proposal that only applies to French companies that are part of the "Syntec" work agreement.

- Huh?

Yes, in France, companies can adhere to negociated work agreements (named "accord") that define more precisely than the French laws what is possible and is not possible. Syntec is one such agreement, and it pretty much covers the vast majority of IT firms.

Now... What you, gentle reader, need to know, is that that the Syntec agreement is not really that nice to IT employees, as it also defines a lot of things (unpaid overtime, etc.) that are not in the interests of the workers, to say the least. And many IT firms choose not to belong to Syntec, but instead to one of the "accords" that are even more constraining. The company I work with (''it-whose-name-shall-not-ever-be-said-aloud'') belongs to an "accord" that is used to define rules... for the steel industry.

And before anyone starts foaming at the mouth about how French workers are lazy and only work 35h per week: I don't know ANYONE, and I mean ANYONE in France who works 35 hours per week, except maybe a few government employees and McDonald's workers. Yes, I know a lot of people in France who work much longer than that and, yes, I am one of them. Just so you know.

Re:Keep dreaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714361)

MOD THE FUCK UP PLEASE.

  only piece of commentary worth something in the whole thread.

  And I work @ a syntec company is this is a completely legit idea. Checking your mails @ 10pm won't make you work better. You end up treating everything lightly and never getting to the bottom of things. terrible for busines and for quality of life.

I order you to be an unproductive country! (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 5 months ago | (#46714143)

I would despise living under a regime that prohibited me working if that's what I wanted to do.

Re:I order you to be an unproductive country! (1)

egyas (1364223) | about 5 months ago | (#46714247)

I would despise living under a regime that prohibited me working if that's what I wanted to do.

Worse than that, think about a few things. Small companies that need to do "after hours changes" will now have to institute shift-work where they didn't have it before, or at least a 1:1 hour shift for those changes. At my job,. I work 40 scheduled hours, and somewhere between 1-20 hours after that just to get done what needs to be done. Not including the on-call hours when it's my week in the rotation. If this stands, my hunch is that you will see even increasing outsourcing of IT jobs to India, or other countries w/ looser work rules and lower labor costs. How will those French IT workers live "the sweet life" when they are too poor to afford their wine and cheese since they are unemployed?

Re:I order you to be an unproductive country! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714275)

Luckily the French have no problem with this "wanting to work" that you speak of.

Re:I order you to be an unproductive country! (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 5 months ago | (#46714407)

Nobody is stopping you doing your hobby.

What they are stopping is companies that abuse employees by having an employment contract and pay rate for a nominal 40 hour week, but then they punish those that stick to the contract by not working more hours for free.

What they are also correcting is the mass brainwashing of the middle classes that working for free and 60+ hour weeks is somehow something to be admired/looked up to.
 

April Fools? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46714219)

Kinda late for April 1st

Since France has already abolished work (2, Funny)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#46714285)

...It is only natural that they abolish the after-work email.

Doctors are on call, have been on pager for ages.. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#46714371)

It depends on the salary, pay and the level of the employees. If we force lowly paid workers to answer email during off hours, certainly they should be compensated for it. But, on the other hand, there are software professionals making 2 times median wages or more. People who are paid salary compared to that of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, (I remember Greenspan was drawing a salary of 140K per year in Washington DC. Not sure what it is now), they can answer email, log in via vpn and do more work.

Commander Data: No, it is empirical data. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 5 months ago | (#46714419)

This is based on the empiraclly disproven notion that if you restrict work hours that more people will get hired because, hey, the work's still gotta get done, right?

Even after this was repeatedly demonstrated as wrong (unemployment goes up) voters elected to keep the rules. But one shouldn't think for a microsecond it's about anything remotely resembling "increasing employment".

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