work-life balance

Two French Unions Ban Checking Work Emails After 6 p.m. [Updated]

Photo: Simon Potter/Getty Images

Well, here’s something else the French do better than the rest of us: they’ve prioritized having a life after 6 p.m. Yesterday, two employee unions and federations in France signed an agreement that requires employees to disconnect after the workday ends sharply at 6 p.m., the Guardian reports. All after-hours work activity, i.e., checking email, logging into the company chat just to check in, or responding to late-night “emergencies” from their bosses, is banned. The agreement reportedly affects only 250,000 employees.

It’s a two-prong deal, though: Employers are not to pressure their employees into being available after-hours, but employees must also “resist temptation to look at work-related material on their computers or smartphones.” As if that’s a struggle.

Well, at least we American workhorses can still end a bad date with the ol’ Oh, sorry, my boss is emailing me like crazy! exit strategy.

* An earlier headline on this post suggested that this was a ban that made it illegal for all workers in France to check their e-mail after 6 p.m. In fact, it is an agreement between two labor unions and their employers that will affect only 250,000 employees.

Two French Unions Ban Work Emails After 6 p.m.