New rule fuels “work time” debate

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Many French workers may be able to win the right to disconnect from work during leisure hours, as a new rule comes into effect from January 1 that obliges companies with more than 50 employees to negotiate with their workforce on the “out of hours” use of smartphones.

The measure is intended to protect workers from burnout stemming from always “being at work”. Research carried out by Eleas, and published in October, found that more than one-third of the French workforce used their phones for work outside normal hours, and almost two-thirds would like to see some restrictions placed on employers’ expectations.

However, many French workers welcome the flexibility that allows them to choose their “hands-on” working time to fit in with family demands, such as meeting the children from school.

No penalties have been agreed for firms that fail to come up with an agreed plan with their workforce.

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