Score one for French labor unions.
Ever since their country introduced the 35-hour work week in 1999, famously dispatching inspectors to watch office lights for signs of clandestine after hours effort, the unions have wanted to close the check-your-email loophole.
Now, thanks to a legally binding labor agreement between a federation of employers and unions, many workers will be required to switch off their smartphones after 6 p.m. and not check work emails until the next day.
This agreement, reports the Guardian, “affects a million employees in the technology and consultancy sectors” at companies including “Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PwC.” Companies that don’t comply with this new punch clock regime will reportedly face penalties and mockery in an outrageous accent.
And yet, this victory may be a pyrrhic one for labor unions. France’s ruling Socialist Party was trounced in recent local elections. President Francois Hollande, himself embroiled in sex scandals, appointed Manuel Valls as his new prime minister.
Valls is a “bogeyman to the Socialist left,” according to Reuters. He advocated scrapping the party’s name altogether and carving out a new politics. He even “criticized the flagship 35-hour work week” that the Parti Socialiste “pioneered over a decade ago.”
So it’s unlikely that Hollande or Valls will want their government to spend too much time cracking down on after hours office emails. C’est la vie.