French workers have long enjoyed shorter workweeks and plenty more vacation time than Americans. Now, 1 million workers in France may be free from any work-related emails or phone calls after 6 p.m., The Guardian reports.
Unions and employers there have agreed in principle that no work communications are sent after work hours.
The deal would affect a portion of the technology and consultancy sectors and includes the French branches of Google, Deloitte, and PwC, according to The Guardian. It will not take effect until it is ruled on by a judge.
The plan is the culmination of labour unions’ six-month effort to maintain the 35-hour workweek famously signed into national law in 1999. The unions argued that bosses were infringing on workers’ rights by contacting them through mobile devices after hours.
The 35-hour workweek does not necessarily mean that France stops operating by the time the sun’s down. The limit serves as a threshold for when overtime or rest days kick in.
Yet, as this chart from the economics website FRED shows, the French (represented by the red line) still work notably less than Americans (blue). Their hours are similar to other members of the eurozone, and the French put in more annual hours than the Germans (green):
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