French workers have the ‘right to disconnect’
As part of planned labour reforms, new legislation in France will encourage all companies to create policies to help their employees ‘disconnect from the office’ when they are no longer in the office environment.
The amendment was included in the hotly contested French Labour Law reform and will mean that companies with more than 50 employees will have to draft policies to ensure that employees have ‘the right to disconnect.’ The aim of the new amendment is to deter employees from working remotely via digital technology to improve work-life balance and overall wellbeing and health of employees in France.
What changes will take place?
The Law came into force on 9 August 2016. Employers have to take steps to ensure that mandatory rest time is respected for employees when they are out of the office.
For those executive directors who work according to “forfeit jours” (working hours that are calculated on number of days worked per year rather than a number of hours per week) the mandatory rest time will be expressed as a number of days.
Already some bargaining agreements and company agreements already provide a ‘right to disconnect’ for those working under “forfeit jours.” As part of these workplace agreements, the employer has to put into place software to disconnect digital devices to ensure employees are adhering to company policy.
In practice and according to this amendment, the annual mandatory negotiations concerning the “professional equality and the quality of work life” in companies with over 50 employees will have to incorporate discussions about the ways in which the employee’s right to disconnect may be exercised and to put frameworks in place to guarantee that employees are unable to connect to their digital devices when out of hours. If employers and employees are unable to agree on the new rules around the right to disconnect then a digital charter will be set in place to attempt to limit the number of those choosing to continue to work out of the office environment.
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