French Say 'Adieu' to Pesky Calls From Boss

New agreement asserts the right to disconnect from work

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That modern intrusion into after-hours life, the cell phone call from the boss, is now officially unacceptable in France.

The country, already famous for its worker-friendly rules and regulations, has found that cell phones have enabled bosses to make serious inroads into the leisure hours of some of their employees.

A new agreement among labor unions and employers' federations, aimed squarely at white-collar employees of technology and internet companies, reportedly mandates that executive-level employees shut off their work phones at 6 p.m., so they aren't tempted to bother their staff at inconvenient hours.

Employees also are required to resist the temptation to look at work-related documents on their computers or phones after work hours, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper.

However, the precise extent and power of the agreement has been questioned since that initial report in the British newspaper. On Friday, a writer for LinkedIn, citing the French-language version of Slate.com, said there were many inaccuracies in the report, reflecting the usual British and American stereotype of French people as Gauloise-puffing sybarites.

In short, the report says that the agreement does not ban anyone from sending email after 6 p.m. or at any other time. It simply protects certain employees from retaliation if they do not read their emails outside working hours.

The distinction may well escape some hag-ridden British and American workers, who are trained like seals to respond to work emails at any time of day or night.

The agreement protects the integrity of the famous 35-hour work week that has been the law in France since 1999.

Naturally, employees of foreign companies in France are covered, so nuts to the driven Paris-based employees of Google, Facebook and other big American technology companies, who will now be have to let their employees off the chain tout de suite.

In fact, the agreement was initiated by unions representing mostly white-collar management workers in the technical and digital sectors, where the on-call lifestyle is considered the norm.

If you think such a concern is peculiar to France, think again: Germany did it first. Earlier this month, Germany's labor ministry banned managers from calling or emailing their staffers out of work hours, except in emergencies.

Some of the country's more enlightened bosses, including Volkswagen and Deutsche Telekom, had already voluntarily set that as a rule.

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miriamisrael1

Well Good for them :-)

April 12 2014 at 12:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
whstokey

Life is about choices and the truth is it's time those that want all the benefits of leasure time start picking up the tab for their choices. Quit placing a progressive burden on those who choose to be productive. Take all the time off that you like and receive the rewards of your choices. Don't work, don't eat, don't send me the bill. More stuff for the media types to point at and publish pictures and video of all those suffering folks. Help those who are committed to helping themselves and those who are unable to help them selves and let the rest receive the rewards of their choices.

April 12 2014 at 11:54 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
bobcornerstone

My lawyer told me the greatest invention of all time is the phone. You can choose to answer or not answer, you can hang up anytime and you don't even have to talk if you don't want to. It's your choice.

April 12 2014 at 11:50 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cbcmkting

The minute I saw the headline I knew it was France.. Lazy, cowardly, nasty French - lived there for 13 years so I know...Worker firendly rules mean lazy, unproductive economy..HEY JUST LIKE THE LEFT IS CREATING IN AMERICA!

GO FIGURE!

April 12 2014 at 9:20 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cbcmkting's comment
qapla5

Someone obviously missed part of the story: "Germany did it first. Earlier this month, Germany's labor ministry banned managers from calling or emailing their staffers out of work hours, except in emergencies.

Some of the country's more enlightened bosses, including Volkswagen and Deutsche Telekom, had already voluntarily set that as a rule."

Only right-wingers would have problems with employees having a "personal life." You know what they used to call employees without a personal life? Slaves. (But, then again, the right-wingers don't have a problem with that. As long as they're not the slaves.)

April 12 2014 at 2:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
anvmd

The French don't like to work anyway, so why not leave all the real work to the illegals from Africa?

April 12 2014 at 7:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to anvmd's comment
cbcmkting

tHE THING IS THAT THEY ARE NOT ILLEGAL! BECAUSE OF THE COLONIALIZATION OF AFRICAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES BY EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. WHEN GIVEN THEIR FREEDOM THEIR PEOPLE AUTOMATICALLY HAD THE RIGHT TO EMIGRATE TO THOSE COUNTRIES LIKE FRANCE, GERMANY , SPAIN ETC. THAT IS WHY THEY HAVE THEIR PROBLEMS WHICH ARE WORSE - SO FAR THAN OURS!

April 12 2014 at 9:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cecelial3911

yeah!! and month long holidays too!

April 11 2014 at 10:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
foxyconserv

Vive la France! :)

April 11 2014 at 9:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BRYANT

No one makes a choice of work, it's a combination of your skills, what's available and what you want to do. You can't just say "I'm going to be a carpenter" and, presto, you are a carpenter. That said, this is only one example of how the job intrudes on your life. Do you smoke - can' t have some jobs. Did you do something to get publicity after work - you can be fired. Do you belong to an organization that the boss dislikes - you're gone (see the firing of a football player for "gang ties" recently).

You SHOULD be able to have a personal/private life, but in America today this is pretty much impossible. If someone in charge does not like what you do outside of work, including not continuiing to work, you will be disposed of. And yes, there should be laws against it.

April 11 2014 at 9:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to BRYANT's comment
Happypoolprune

If you want a private life don't post it on facebook - as far as answering the phone after hours - only if you pay me for it - otherwise I'm off the clock and according to most labor laws you can be in trouble for not being compensated - there are many lawsuits against many companies for that practice - and the employees win them - Ask your fast photo studios - or any labor union shop.

April 12 2014 at 1:50 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
cbcmkting

As an employee of any company you are representing them in and out of work by your actions. if you do not behave responsibly out of work, then your company, family etc. are also impacted..

As far as ones desire not to work, that is fine but then NO ONE SHOULD BE OBLIGED TO PAY FOR YOU TO SURVIVE! NO GOV ASSITANCE, FOOD STAMPS FREE HOUSING..LIVE ON THE STREETS AND BEG IF YOU WANT AND BECOME A PARACITE ON SOCIETY.. TYPLICAL LEFTIST MINDSET..

April 12 2014 at 9:28 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cbcmkting's comment
qapla5

No, you silly cretin. What *I* do outside of work is NOT my employer's business. Providing I'm not calling in sick and then posting photos of me at the beach, my boss doesn't have any business in my personal life.

NO employer should be able to demand access to your Facebook page or even know that you have a Facebook page. THAT is an intrusion that right-wingers don't seem to have a problem with (until it's THEIR Facebook page that THEIR boss wants to check out).

It's amazing that you whine about "typical leftist mindset" while you're busy defending the "typical corporate (right-wing) mindset" that says your boss should be able to dictate your personal life. You don't want the government doing anything to infringe on your freedoms or rights, but you don't have a problem with businesses doing it.

April 12 2014 at 2:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
ricklexus

Kaizen has been around for thousands of years.

April 11 2014 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
knarf714

Every tech worker I know (that would be a lot) was paid a minimum of 2 hours pay if they took a call after hours. Most of the calls took 5 minutes or less. It was our standing jole that if one of them took a call they had tyo pay for dinner. These people made $60-$80 per hour.

April 11 2014 at 4:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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