New French law forbids reading work emails after 6pm


If you want the easy life outside of work, then it looks as though France is the country you should go and live in. Workers there already enjoy a 35-hour week, but now it’s against the law to read work email outside of working hours.

Regardless of what your job is, it’s typical that you now have a work email address, and just as typical for your inbox to be accessible while you are out of the office. But a new labor agreement was signed last week in France which forbids workers from reading and acting on email after 6pm every night.

This is a law that impacts all companies that have a presence in France. So if you work for Google, Facebook, or any of the other big tech companies that rely so heavily on email, don’t expect it to be any different. For example, if your boss at Google sends you an out of work email and pressure is put on you to read and act on it, Google is going to be in trouble with the French government. Simple as that.

If you work remotely or from home, then the law is still going to apply. You’ll have set work hours after which it is expected you’ll close your work inbox and just ignore it until it’s work time again. It doesn’t matter how tempting it is to have a peek, you can’t as you may get your employer (or yourself) in trouble.

Although I’m sure the majority of employees will love this new law, I doubt it would ever get passed in many other countries. It certainly wouldn’t go down well in the UK or US. I’d also like to know exactly how they intend to enforce such a law? Will it just be down to individuals having to come forward and show evidence they have been contacted and pressured into working outside of their normal hours?

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