Does anyone really believe the French are overworked? Despite the fact that laws already exist mandating a 35-hour work week, a French court has found some employees need even more protection from being overworked.
A new agreement with employers gives more than 300,000 tech-sector workers added guarantees that the “always connected” lifestyle enabled by smartphones won’t infringe on their rights and gives workers at risk of burnout a right to disconnect.
This new rule affects only employees who are “autonomous,” meaning they don’t work specific shifts, but specific days–what we in America would call consultants or employees working a flex schedule. The reality is that fewer and fewer jobs are 9-5 anymore. Many people enjoy having flexible schedules, being able to work from home, and getting paid for their work product—not the hours logged. It’s turned out to be a good deal for both employers, who save on the amount of office space they have to provide, and for workers, who want the ability to work hours that better fit their lifestyle. Regulations, whether handed down from courts or legislative bodies, rarely add flexibility; they mandate conformity and one-size-fits-all policies, which is the opposite of what most workers want.
As I discussed with Bill O’Reilly on his show last night, this kind of thinking is totally out of step with the modern economy. If the French want more jobs and better jobs, they should take a more laissez-faire approach to the workplace and economy.