Digital Information 24/7 – The ‘El Khomri’ Law in France

Mosrbergen reports in her article about then-pending legislation before the French Government about protecting employee wellbeing by limiting the hours that work correspondence via email was recommended.  Access to the digital space, including work, is a double-edged sword.  On one hand, telecommuting has allowed people to work from their homes, allowing parents back into the workforce at a higher rate, and yet it is well documented that “ubiquitous computing” (Quesenberry & Trauth, 2005, p 45) can increase stress levels.  Limiting the hours employees could send emails may infringe on the ability for employees to dictate their own hours and telecommute from anywhere in the world.

The ‘El Khomri’ law (as it was commonly referred to) (Mosbergen, 2016) was adopted in August 2016, including the ‘right to disconnect’ clause, one of eight key changes made (Boring, 2016).  Some of the changes are similar to the failed Australian Work Choices legislation (Sloan, 2013) in giving workers and employees the ability to negotiate on conditions and remuneration. If the long term outcome is an increase in employee welfare then it’s a good thing but only time will tell.

References

Boring, N. (2016, Oct 14) France: Controversial labour law reform adopted In Global Legal Monitor. Retrieved from: http://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/france-controversial-labor-law-reform-adopted/

Mosbergen, D. (2016, May 25). French legislation suggests employees deserve the right to disconnect. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/work-emails-france-labor-law_us_57455130e4b03ede4413515a?section=australia

Quesenberry J.L., Trauth E.M. (2005) The Role of Ubiquitous Computing in Maintaining Work-Life Balance: Perspectives from Women in the Information Technology Workforce. In: Sørensen C., Yoo Y., Lyytinen K., DeGross J.I. (eds) Designing Ubiquitous Information Environments: Socio-Technical Issues and Challenges. IFIP — The International Federation for Information Processing, vol 185. Springer, Boston, MA

Sloan, J. (2013, Oct 29) Work choices wasn’t all bad.  The Australian. Retrieved from: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/work-choices-wasnt-all-bad/news-story/81514ddeba59bfe0759204b8c90181c8?sv=a17681b6e4cffa71f0054bb36e2b416b

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