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Labours in France rejoice as new agreement will allow shifts to end by 6 pm

Thursday, 10 April 2014 - 11:31pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

All the over-worked, exhausted information technology workers of India will be writhing in jealousy when they hear about the good fortune that has befallen their French counterparts. According to Guardian, a revolutionary labour agreement signed between several employer groups and French unions, bans digital communication after 6.00pm. And, the French already have a 35-hour working week since 1999. France is the first country to legislate such working laws. So, does this mean after stepping out of office at 6pm, one can ignore their boss's text messages, emails and calls? Yes. Employees are actually being encouraged to switch off their phones, laptops and tablets. The 35-hour working week has been an attempt by the French to strike a balance between life and work. But the Internet has caused work to slowly creep into the lives of workers after hours and they are constantly checking work-related messages during dinner, family time or even on the weekend. But now, if they get a call from their boss after 6pm, they can go ahead and cut it. The statutory agreement is going to hit French offices of tech giants like Facebook, Google and Deloitte.

Some Indian techies speak about how they have adapted to intrusive phone calls and mails. "Its not usually encouraged in our office to contact employees with work-related issues once they're out of office, but it does happen. When such incidents happen to me, I usually say I am not at home or in area with a WiFi connection. I just say I'll work on it the next day. Some colleagues of mine have been downright blunt and have said they will not take work-related calls after work," says Haasika Naidu, an employee of a leading international tech company located in Hyderabad.

Others are more deft in their approach. A senior manager at a consultancy firm says, "If my supervisor calls, I'll have to pick it up. But you can cleverly put it off to a working time. If its really critical, I would take the time off and do it and mention it at the appraisals".

A 25-year-old employee at a consultancy firm said that to avoid taking inconvenient calls, some employees pretend that they are in remote locations. "Others put their phones on airplane mode or simply don't pick up," he said, maintaining that he doesn't resort to these tactics. 


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