Updated: January 3, 2017 1:17:53 pm
Do you think technology has robbed you of your life? Do you dread that horrid ping sound your phone makes when you get an email, because it might be something from your boss that needs immediate attention?
This whole idea of work-life balance sounds great on paper, but how much of it do we actually achieve? Alas, not much!
But not so for those working in France. Starting January 1, French companies are now required to guarantee their employees a “right to disconnect” from technology as there is a concentrated effort to deal with the Digital Age problem of always checking one’s emails at all hours. And not only that, the employer’s expectation of the email being answered as well!
“There’s a real expectation that companies will seize on the ‘right to disconnect’ as a protective measure…At the same time, workers don’t want to lose the autonomy and flexibility that digital devices give them,” Xavier Zunigo, a French workplace expert, told The Guardian.
“Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash, like a dog,” Benoit Hamon, Socialist member of Parliament and former French education minister, told the BBC in May. This concept was introduced last year with the aim to relax some of the country’s strict labour regulations, and though it was practised by some already, it is only this year that the provision now has legal backing.
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This is just a cherry on top of the existing reasons that makes France a great place to work, even if it’s not the best (that would be Denmark at the No. 1 spot!).
France already has a 35-hour work week, which is less than the average gruelling 50 hours, according to OECD’s Better Life Index 2015. In France, around 8 per cent of employees work very long hours, less than the OECD average of 13 per cent.
In France, full-time workers devote 68 per cent of their day on average, or 16.4 hours, to personal care (eating, sleeping, etc.) and leisure (socialising with friends and family, hobbies, games, computer and television use, etc.) – more than the OECD average of 15 hours.
Even when it comes to annual leave policies, if you manage your year smartly, you can get up to 36 days of leaves; plus there are 11 paid public holidays – that’s almost seven weeks! Although, to top it off, some companies like Orange (whose policies also inspired the “right to disconnect” concept) even give their employees nine and a half weeks of paid leaves!
Do you STILL need convincing on why France is a great place to work? Check your email after 10pm. Or not!
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