The French government has presented before Parliament the
"El Khomri" bill which, if passed, should modify a
significant part of the employment law framework in France.
Among various provisions, the bill mentions the right, for the
employees, to disconnect.
Indeed article 25 of the bill states that the
employer has to regulate the employees' use of digital tools in
order to protect their private and family life as well as resting
More specifically, it is provided that the terms and conditions
related to the right to disconnect are part of the topics which
must be discussed on an annual basis between the employer and the
employees' representatives, during the mandatory negotiations
related to the quality of work life. The purpose of it is to ensure
the respect of rest time provisions and minimum leave.
This does not entail an absolute obligation to stop all
email exchanges during weekends or out of working hours.
Instead, it should help employers defining new rules within the
company in order to achieve a good work/private life balance.?
The bill provides that in companies with:
at least 50 employees, the rules on the right to disconnect
shall be set up in a charter drawn up after the consultation of the
works council or staff delegates. The charter will provide,
notably, the implementation of training programs in order to obtain
a reasonable use of digital tools.
less than 50 employees, the rules on the right to disconnect
can be mentioned in a code of conduct.
Even if the bill will probably be amended, it is very likely
that the above-mentioned provisions will remain unchanged.
This right to disconnect should enter into force in
January 2017 but, as always in practice, companies
will benefit from a tolerance to proceed to its actual
It is important to note that the right to disconnect has
already been implemented in several sector of activities (in
particular the IT sector) in order to control and manage
employees' workload, notably those subject to the working time
system based on working days per year (called "forfait
The government has not included a penalty if the employer fails
to comply with its obligations but such failure would certainly be
used by employees for grounding their claims related to violations
of health and safety protection (e.g. burn out matters). This,
however, will only be an additional argument to justify the
possible non-compliance of the employer with health and safety
requirements. Indeed, even without this law, people working on
weekends can already sue their employer for breaching health and
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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