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France to introduce new law which stops employees working out of hours

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France is set to give workers the ‘right to disconnect’ from work emails outside of their contracted hours in a bid to ease pressure and offer a better work-life balance.

Workers will be able to ignore telephone calls and emails from their bosses during evenings and weekends in an attempt to help them have more of a social life outside of their working week.

France already operates a strict 35-hour working week policy, with workers also enjoying six weeks paid holiday, as well as extremely generous sick leave and striking rights.

Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri is still yet to confirm the final details of the new employment law but it is said to be coming into force within a matter of weeks. The law will make it illegal for workers to respond to emails or phone calls out of working hours and companies must ensure that their employees come under no pressure to look at work-related emails or documents on their devices.

Strict French labour laws have already seen Apple fined for making staff in France work nights. This is because the law forbids shifts between 9pm and 6am unless the work plays an important role in the economy or is socially useful.

The 35-hour week, introduced by the Socialists in 1999, has come under threat from the increasingly widespread use of smartphones and other mobile devices, with the new Labour law hoping to ease workers ‘burning-out’.

Jean-Claude Delgenes, of Technologia, said research suggested that some 3.2million French workers were at risk of over-doing it because their employees did not respect their right to disconnect.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has confirmed there are no plans to change the 35-hour-week. France’s working week differs somewhat to the UK’s, where employees are allowed to work up to 48 hours. Britons work 1,677 hours annually, compared to the French who spend 1,473 hours in the office.

Read the full article here, first reported by MailOnline: