French workers get 'right to disconnect' from emails out of hours (2023)

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French workers get 'right to disconnect' from emails out of hours (1)Image source, Getty Images

France employees are getting the legal right to avoid work emails outside working hours.

The new law, which has been dubbed the "right to disconnect", comes into force on 1 January.

Companies with more than 50 workers will be obliged to draw up a charter of good conduct, setting out the hours when staff are not supposed to send or answer emails.

France has a working week of 35 hours, in place since 2000.

Supporters of the new law say that employees who are expected to check and reply to their work emails out of hours are not being paid fairly for their overtime, and that the practice carries a risk of stress, burnout, sleep problems and relationship difficulties.

(Video) France: workers win "right to disconnect", to ignore work emails after hours

The measure is part of a set of labour laws introduced in May.

It was the only one of the laws - which also made it easier for firms to hire and fire employees - that did not generate widespread protest and strikes.

Some private companies have previously tried to put limits on their employees' use of work email outside working hours.

For instance, in 2014, the German vehicle-maker Daimler set up an optional service for workers going on holiday; instead of sending an out-of-office reply, they could opt to have all new emails automatically deleted while they were away.

Image source, Getty Images

More on this story


Is it illegal to send emails after work hours in France? ›

In France, there's a rule against emailing employees on the weekend. Image via Pixabay. France is famous for protecting its employees.

Are employees required to disconnect from work after hours in France? ›

France. France was the first European country to introduce legislation on the right to disconnect. Since January 2017, France has legally required employers to negotiate agreements with unions for a right to disconnect from technology after working hours.

Did France ban all work emails after 6pm? ›

The French government passed a law that keeps businesses from requiring their employees to be available for workplace communication, like calls or texts, outside of regular work hours.

What is France right to disconnect policy? ›

Less than a decade later, France enacted the right to disconnect to protect workers from being penalized for ignoring after-hours work messages.

Can the French send work emails at the weekend? ›

France employees are getting the legal right to avoid work emails outside working hours. The new law, which has been dubbed the "right to disconnect", comes into force on 1 January.

Are emails legally binding in France? ›

reiterated the fundamental principle of enforceability of electronic documents: “An electronic document shall not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that it is in electronic form.”

What is the French email weekend law? ›

The law requires companies with more than 50 employees to establish hours when staff should not send or answer emails. In an interview with the BBC, French legislator Benoit Hamon described the law as an answer to the travails of employees who “leave the office, but they do not leave their work.

What is the French law on working hours? ›

Maximum working time

Daily: 10 hours, but can be increased to 12 hours subject to conditions. Weekly: 35 hours but increased within the limit of 44 hours averaged out over a period of twelve consecutive weeks and within the limit of 48 hours in a single calendar week.

What is the law on working hours in France? ›

French law is very strict with limiting employee's working hours. Employees cannot work more than 10 hours a day, 44 hours a week (on average of 12 weeks), unless specified on the collective agreement.

How do the French end their emails? ›

À bientôt / à plus tard (informal)

Both have the same meaning as “see you soon” in English. “À plus tard” is commonly shortened to “A+” and is mostly used between friends when ending an email in French.

Is it rude to email after office hours? ›

As much as possible, try to avoid sending emails outside work hours. This reduces the pressure employees or colleagues may feel that they should also be online outside work hours.

Which country has made it illegal for employers to message employees after work hours? ›

Ever had a persistent boss who won't stop messaging you once you've left work or logged off? In Portugal, that behaviour is now illegal.

Does France have a right to remain silent? ›

The French Code of Criminal Procedure (art. L116) makes it compulsory that when an investigating judge hears a suspect, he must warn him that he has the right to remain silent, to make a statement, or to answer questions.

Can you just dismiss an employee in France without notice? ›

1.8 Summary dismissals

The term 'summary dismissals' has no real meaning in France. Dismissal without a notice period is only possible where there has been a serious breach, but even in that case, a dismissal procedure applies, including the preliminary meeting and registered letter.

Does France have a data protection act? ›

The French Data Protection Act covers both personal and sensitive personal data. Unless there is some exception, such as a legal case, France's internal security, or the life of a human at stake, all data handlers, public and private, are supposed to adhere strictly to the requirements of this law.

Can an employer contact you after hours? ›

Currently, the United States does not have laws prohibiting companies from contacting employees after work hours. However, employment experts expect that to change. In countries like Portugal and France, employers can be penalized for contacting employees after the work day is done.

What are the French laws about work? ›

The law caps a five-day workweek at 35 hours, and an employee can't work more than 10 hours in any workday. Hours worked beyond 35 hours are overtime, paid at an increased rate.

Is it rude to email on Sunday night? ›

Berger agrees that it is best to avoid sending emails over the weekend. “It's not when to send it's when not to send,” she says. “I'm not crazy about sending emails over the weekend. If I have something that I am thinking about, I use draft folders, and then Sunday night or first thing Monday morning I'll send.”

What is Article 1153 of the French Civil Code? ›

Those who sign a contract on behalf of a party must have authority to represent that party, and they must only act within the limits of that authority (article 1153, Civil Code).

What is 1367 French Civil Code? ›

Article 1367 of said Code establishes a presumption solely in favour of the so-called "qualified" electronic signature as defined below: " the reliability of an electronic signature process is presumed, until proven otherwise, where that process uses a qualified electronic signature".

What is Article 1218 of the French Civil Code? ›

Article 1218 of the French Civil Code (the Civil Code) provides that – “There is force majeure in matters relating to a contract when an event beyond the control of the debtor, which could not reasonably have been foreseen at the time of conclusion of the contract and the effects of which cannot be avoided by ...

Are there email laws? ›

The CAN-SPAM Act, a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.

Can I send a professional email on the weekend? ›

If you have a quiet weekend to yourself and want to get some work done, go for it. If you are spending the weekend with your kids, leave the work for the work week. Having said that, expecting a response to professional emails sent on the weekend is rude. If you choose to use your weekend for work, that's fine.

What do the French call an email? ›

courriel m ⧫ e-mail m. by e-mail par courriel ⧫ par e-mail. to send an e-mail envoyer un courriel ⧫ envoyer un e-mail.

Is working weekends in France Illegal? ›

Although it is not illegal to work on weekends in France, it is forbidden for most workers, depending on their industry, to work on Sundays. The industries that are exempt from this rule are those that need to meet public demands, such as restaurants and entertainment.

What country has the best work life balance? ›

German employees work the least amount of hours in the world, clocking in 1,349 hours per year. That's compared to the U.S., where employees work 1,801 hours per year. What would you do with nearly 500 extra hours of free time?

What is a good salary in France? ›

What is a high salary in France? The middle class in France earns between € 1,500 and € 2,800 net per month. In Paris, a good salary is often considered to be between € 3,000 and € 4,999 per month to allow a good living in the capital.

Is it OK to email after business hours? ›

As much as possible, try to avoid sending emails outside work hours. This reduces the pressure employees or colleagues may feel that they should also be online outside work hours.

Can I send an email after business hours? ›

So what is the etiquette? You should never call or email outside normal business hours — before 8am or after 6pm. However, if you know that a person's work hours are different you can assume they are also working.


1. No Job Emails After Work Hours in France
(ABC News)
2. French workers get 'right to disconnect'
(FRANCE 24 English)
3. French workers can ignore work emails
(CNN Business)
4. French Employees Unplug After Work
(ABC News)
5. French Law: Workers Can Turn off Work Email After Hours
(Wall Street Journal)
6. French Law - No Work Emails After Hours - Right to Disconnect -Kris Fannin
(Kris Fannin)
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