French employers and unions have reached an agreement that would ban workers from checking work email or taking calls after 6 p.m., the BBC reports.
A new law says that if French workers happen to notice a phone call or email from the office over dinner, they simply have to look the other way.
About a million French workers in the digital and consulting industries will be required to switch off work phones and avoid email before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m., barring "exceptional circumstances," according to a BBC News article. The agreement reached by employers federations and unions also says employers cannot pressure their employees to flout the directive.
The European Union's Working Time Directive requires European country except the United Kingdom and Malta to restrict the workweek to a 48-hour maximum. But the mobile and online technologies now common in the workplace have eroded the rule, as well as the even shorter 35-hour workweek France introduced in 1998.
The French are not alone in taking action. German auto giant Volkswagen calibrated its servers to stop sending emails to employees 30 minutes before the end of their shifts, the BBC said.
But some workers are skeptical that a ban on checking email can actually be enforced.