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France's After Work Email Ban Is 1 Step Closer To Reality ( 259

Jesse Ferreras, writing for Huffington Post: France is that much closer to becoming the first country to ban after-work emails. The country's lower parliamentary house passed a bill this week that would ban companies with 50 or more employees from sending emails outside regular work hours, BBC News reported. It now goes to the Senate, where members will study it before sending it back to the National Assembly to enshrine it in French law. The bill would make businesses come up with hours during which employees cannot check or send emails. And it comes as workers are finding it increasingly difficult to detach themselves from work, Socialist MP Benoit Hamon told BBC News.Hamon adds: "Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash -- like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails -- they colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down."
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France's After Work Email Ban Is 1 Step Closer To Reality

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  • For some places with 24 hour coverage this could workout great, but for others, the employer might simply institute shifts. Right now where I'm working, we're basically a daytime shop, though we respond to emergencies at any time (and they're really not infrequent). I really wouldn't want to start having to work nights, especially the graveyard shift, and just because something *might* go down.
  • [Workers] remain attached by a kind of electronic leash

    That sounds like more of a personal problem to me. I get to be smug here because I only check my work mail when I'm not working on sick days (and even then usually just once in the morning and once in the afternoon--I'm sick after all so I need to get better). And that's just because I'm such a nice person. Haven't had official on call duties in the present job, but always remember to get a company phone in addition to your personal one if you need to be on call. If I get a text or desperate on my perso

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2016 @12:31PM (#52105663)

    As an American, no, we wouldn't want or need a law like this. It would be unambiguously an anti-freedom nosey-government sort of thing. Blech.

    Except when my wife is checking her emails. Then suddenly I wish the government were slapping everyone's wrists, controlling their behavior against their will, and suppressing their freedom as much as possible. STOP DOING THAT, WIFE!! Come back to the here-and-now with me, dammit. Ok, I get it: the TV show we're watching, bores you. We can watch something else! Now put down that tablet.

  • by dfn5 ( 524972 ) on Friday May 13, 2016 @12:32PM (#52105679) Journal
    "Ban on companies sending email outside of work hours"

    What does that mean? That I as an employee am not allowed to send email to another employee outside of that employee's defined work hours? Or that the company will queue mail until that employee comes to the office? Or that employees are not required to check their email. If the latter that will be about as good as saying "don't come to the office when you are sick". But then guilt employees for staying home causing them to come to the office sick anyway.

    • I also see a problem with "Sorry, boss, I didn't email you last night saying I was going to be out sick today, because it was after work hours. But giving you zero warning is okay, right?"

      I mean, it does cut both ways. No email after work hours can hamper necessary communication.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It means that the company can't require or expect you to send/receive email outside of work hours. If they do you can take them to an employment tribunal.

  • "The bill would make businesses come up with hours during which employees cannot check or send email"

    I looked the article hoping to get more detail on this, but it's still sorta vague. I'm assuming this is hours based on an individual's work schedule? If it was a number of hours set in stone across the board, seems like a company with clients spread across the globe would be hurt pretty bad. Sure you could hire more people and implement shift-work....I know people that like to work odd hours, but once tha

    • I looked the article hoping to get more detail on this, but it's still sorta vague.

      That's because it's a bill in Parliament, and the sponsors have no idea how to make it work - but they still want the political points.

      A lot like that Feinstein-Whazzisname bill currently under consideration by the US Senate.

  • It could be better to allow employees not to read a mail, outside work hours. Anyway the bill comes from politics, people who, for most of them in France, never worked in a company and have no clue how the enterprise world runs ; there are certainly abuses. but the bill seems to be too peremptory.
  • It's already pretty much impossible for US companies to contract to French companies or employ French workers. This means there will be even less US companies working with French ones.
  • Now if they would only block a drunk boss from calling you on a Saturday night and yelling and screaming at you for no real reason at all, that would be a good next step.
  • Although some may bristle and think this will cause a slow down of business, I disagree. It may make for a more efficient business with well-rested, lower stress employees.

    I have seen so many e-mails sent overnight and in the wee hours of the morning from people that want to be seen as working extra time. It is kind of like the days of face time with the boss in the UK. You always leave after the boss leaves, so that it looks like you are a worker.

  • by SilverBlade2k ( 1005695 ) on Friday May 13, 2016 @12:59PM (#52105975)

    Simply make it a financial cost to the company for sending any e-mail to employees after work hours.

    1 e-mail is instantly considered 4 hours of overtime pay. 2 is equal to 8, and so on.

    If the employer doesn't want to pay the overtime, then they don't send e-mails. Period.

    And the ISP's and servers have records of the e-mails being sent, so they can't deny it either.

  • I kind of like the idea that I not be required to check my email away from work, but I personally like to get a view of my inbox about an hour before work in the morning. I feel more comfortable knowing sort of what I am going to face when I get to my desk. I also like to get there a few minutes early to settle in 'gracefully' rather than have my admin hanging over my shoulder prodding me that so and so is waiting in the conference room and boss #2 wants an 'immediate' update on some project the instant I g

    • I like cleaning out my inbox of issues the night before so I can be productive on my personal work the next morning. Different people work differently and it's weird for government to get involved in these sorts of details.

  • by ( 744478 ) on Friday May 13, 2016 @02:20PM (#52106679)

    Previous posters are corrects, the goal is to stop abuse and a situation which is becoming too common and too abusive.
    If there's no immediate urgency, just wait for the day after, else put shifts or an on call team.
    That costs money , but the company is actually working for an extended time, and most likely making more money, so better officialise it.

    If you re worrying about the well being of you re company, you ll just answer late at night thinking it might important. Then it will become a habit and you ll do it everyday. And peoples knowing that you'll answer will contact you more often. I had on duty peoples phoning me when i wasn't on call the week end. At one point i had phone calls every week end, not making any money from it, because i was not "officially" on duty.

    Peoples didn't take this habit to call me, from one day to another, it took a few years. And that s what the other poster is referring to. Once it becomes the norm, peoples who don't answer the week end, get marked as not interested in their work, but they aren't paid either to do this either. And yes at one point it becomes the norm for the whole job branch to be reachable 24/24.

    Then why takes expensive contracts with super fast SLA and everything if peoples answer all the time? The whole market get screwed. At one point they try to officialise what should be the norm and what is not, and answering emails outside of your workshift is not .*

    I am working in a company where peoples take 0 break, that's their norm. I am smoker, i always take a 5 min smoke break the morning and the afternoon (all very dutyfully metered with my token.
    My opinion : my back hurts as hell, i need a mental break, taking a 5 min break won't hurt my productivity. I work (mesured with my token) an average 7h20 per day, when i am paid for 7.
    My coworkers opinion : i am a lazy guy always taking breaks. I stopped answering phone calls the WE (si i can try to have a life, social activities and such), so i am not cooperative.

    The law opinion : every 4 hours period of time needs a 10 min break and every employee working more than x% of their time in front of a computer (i think it s 75%, me : 95%) must have a 5 min activity every hour that they dont do on a computer. And whatever you try to turn it to, the week end is a no no.
    My interpretation of that law ( and there's not much room for interpretation ) : The 5 min break is an activity that would involves me, not being at my desk and being one which is the decision of my employer (there's none). I should take longer break the afternoon to reach 10 min and 0 the morning, obviously, leave earlier.

    What i still do, being passionate about my job and i shouldn't do: Check my office mails and our monitoring every 2 hours in order to catch situation that may become harder to fix later, do a bit more hours, for free.

    Small background on me, should have a few digit less, just didn't register in the early days. Linux admin since 11y. So, yes, i didn't liked that token thing.

  • Heard about gmail? If people feel the pressure to produce they'll find a way to do it. They probably need to put a related law to prosecute employees that carry out those communication...
  • Due to anticipated imminent terrorist attacks, all employees are urged to stay home until further notice.
  • Considering that France is the country that legislated overtime to start after 35 hours and requires no overtime allowed for about a third of its workforce, email legislation to keep employers from getting after hours benefit from existing employees rather than hiring more certainly seems to fit.
  • Elastic buffering. My colleagues in other time zones can send emails whenever they are working, and I'll read them when I am working. And if I happen to have an idea in the evening, I can send an email while it's fresh in my mind, and colleagues can read it when they are working again. The problem is requiring immediate attention. If the company needs that, they should be using immediate communication (phone, text, pager), and it should be in the job description, and they should be paying for it.

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