Come again, what now? For critical services you have an on-call roster, like hospitals and utilities have always had. Why would anyone think that IT was any different? If the company continuously flies by the seat of its pants and needs to call in the sysadmin to put out unscheduled fires it's simply poorly run, that's all.
I don't respond to email after work unless the building is literally on fire unless I'm on rotation in which case that's either in my contract and I'm compensated for it or it isn't and I don't respond.
Salary buys 40hrs of my time (on average, some weeks might be 45, some 35) and that is it.
My time outside of that is my own and jealously guarded.
All the while we used to get lectured about maintaining a good work-life balance from HR.
seems reasonable to me. not a ban, but we should have the right to refuse.
if a company continuously flies by the seat of its pants and needs a sysadmin at all times, then hire more sysadmins, come up with a better solution, or rightfully go out of business.
hospital doctors is a very different animal, and honestly I haven't thought long enough on it nor have enough information on it to make an opinion, so I'll leave that to the field to decide.
as far as utilities, I believe they are paid overtime. like 2x. in my first job that was a support role, I was told to stay on call 5-8 and work 1 extra weekend shift from home every 4 weeks without additional pay.
(Not that this situation has anything to do with the law under discussion, which is only for 50+-employee companies; but it is an awful situation generally and one we should figure out how to avoid—it's IMHO one of the primary causes of burnout.)
Regardless if you have 3 people or 23, you have to balance the load between them. Having one person shoulder the responsibility and pain alone leads to resentment, burnout and failure.
Even if you are a non-tech founder, you can chip in by taking pager duty alerts and verifying that they are real and not a false alarm. It's amazing how much a night of sleep after weeks of fires can really help you stay sane.
The right way to do it would have been to work with other teams and product to share the burden of alert triage and filtering false positives. If and only if it's a real problem that can't remediated with a restart, then we can wake up the sole engineer.
Otherwise, burnout and churn...
This article is rather absurd.
I think protecting workers is good but top down absolutism isn't. From what I can tell based on the article this seems to be a measured response to the issue taking the middle ground
Libertarianism would be a lot easier to take seriously if it banned inheritance or something to prevent the accumulation of resources that could be handed to others, which is at odds with the whole notion of meritocracy. Libertarians do make some effort to speak up for open labor markets and abolition of borders, but I can't think of any libertarians leading the charge for immigration reform offhand.
As long as people can opt-out then it's fine. Otherwise I think there is something wrong with it: if two consenting adults want to send work emails to each other after 5pm what business is that of yours?
Bait-and-switch alert! Most economic relations are not between 'two consenting adults' of equal economic power engaged in equitable contractual arrangements for mutual advantage.
- minimum wages
- discrimination protection
There's no special reason why you should be able to opt out of this work hour regulation. Now if the regulation is overall a bad idea, that's a separate question.
Not quite. If people can opt-out, then the ones that have little leverage
against their (potential) employer -- precisely the ones that need this
protection the most -- will be screwed over.
It seems to me the line of what you allow people to consent to should probably be pretty far beyond 'reading an email'! But yes it's fundamentally problematic issue of how we choose to run a society.
The citizens are capitalists: they are (almost) all looking to put their saving where the interest rate is the highest, they would (almost) all protect their private property and seek to increase their own capital, and is anyone seriously considering that the government should run the means of production?
Workers protection need some balance: pushed to the extreme it leads to competitive loss. The "general welfare" of all citizens does not means you have to push the cursor all the way: France switched to 35h weekly legal a few years back, but why not 30h? Or 20h? That would surely improve the happiness of workers! What about PTO? Legally entitled to 5 weeks currently in France, why not double it? Etc...
Capital should be at the service of society, not the other way around. We know that we can have perfectly functional societies where wealth is distributed more evenly and less work is done at the lower end of the pyramid at essentially no disadvantages in quality of life for anyone involved.
This is what I was addressing and I'm still considering as a very manipulating rhetoric that does not leave any place for nuance and balance.
On the contrary, it's a vocal minority of libertarians that want to insist that benefits to capitalists are indispensable to the welfare of the rest.
Exactly. Balance is the keyword. The last decades have shifted this balance towards capital owners and the Trump administration is trying to do even more.
"France switched to 35h weekly legal a few years back, but why not 30h? Or 20h? "
You could ask the same questions the other way: "Corporate tax to 0%? Dividend taxed at 0%? Patents and copyrights never expire?"
The "economy" is not a natural law like gravity but human created. We can decide where the balance should be.
Apart from housing, many people have remarkably little savings. In the UK, there are all sorts of schemes to make people become capitalists like this with their pensions, but I'm not sure if their hearts are really in it. And I think most people are smart enough to realise that cutting their income but boosting savings rates by a tiny fraction is going to result in a smaller savings pile and a worse life in the meantime.
I mean, I have a life plan that involves accumulating sufficient capital to provide approximate financial security, but that's just a fancy way of saying I hope to put together enough to stop worrying about it. What I actually want is somewhere to live and work in modest comfort free of distractions, and to able to travel and visit interesting places at regular intervals.
I like making art for art's sake (as opposed to commercial design or monetizable brand creation etc.). I'm not super-talented or super-skilled, I just have an overriding compulsion to produce things that are aesthetically pleasing to me. It might even be a form of brain damage, because this compulsion hasn't done me much economic good but it still takes priority over other activities. I have absolutely no desire to get rich off it, just not to be poor. Realistically, if my work does have art value in the eyes of others most of that is likely to accrue to the work long after I am dead, like this Basquiat that someone decided to park $110 million in yesterday: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/18/arts/jean-michel-basquiat...
Being in a constant state of financial anxiety/arousal is not freedom.
One could argue these sorts of laws can act as accelerators toward automation. One case study could be the French jet manufacturer Dassault. Part of the reason for investing heavily into robotics was labor law constraints. It wasn't the entire reason, but it did add a financial incentive.
In the long term, would you prefer we live in a world where people feel compelled to answer emails at all hours, or would you prefer to live in a world where companies have an incentive to invest in technologies and processes that allow people to have a better quality of life?
Like anything, there needs to be a balance.
My salary is probably low compared to what a lot of tech workers make, but among other intangible benefits, I don't work nights or weekends and vacations are really vacations.
That sounds horrible. Unless there's other major benefits to the job, I'd be looking around for new work as soon as I heard that I'd be required to check mail on vacation.
> why don't you leave?
I think there are 2 main answers that cover most people:
- Difficulty transitioning to new job; e.g. can't afford to leave, actively trying to leave, aren't in a competitive position.
As someone who is broke and actively trying to skill up; often frustrated when people with better skills, resources or opportunities imply that it's easy and critically that even if you ARE leaving it's a process not simply a decision.
- People love their job; don't like this aspect. Couple mates work at SpaceX; they are constantly dealing with email and work overflow. They complain about it-- totally fair IMO; but ultimately they enjoy the work to much to leave.
When you have a job that pays well, it's actually very easy to find a new job, because even if you hate where you're currently at, you have the benefit of time. Nobody is implying that the parent comment should just strap on their job helmet and squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into job land. But if you're able to sit for a year watching job boards, contacting recruiters, etc, you will eventually find something.
EDIT: to be clear, I do not count myself amongst those unable to say no. But for those who can't, thankfully we have society behind to help.
In fact if I could go back 15 years and give 22yo old me one lesson it would be learning to say no.
Ultimately, it boils down to clear communication, expectation, and boundaries.
I work in what I believe to be a very healthy team (I know that because I have also worked in very unhealthy teams). If I am not in the office, there is no expectation of me being available in any way - responding to emails off hours is a bonus, something I do becaue I enjoy my work. This also means that I am aware that if I email a coworker on a Saturday night because I feel like it, I have no expectation for them to get back to me until Monday morning. In fact, I might hold back from sending that email on Saturday night because I know that they're nice and might feel compelled to reply right away if they see it - and who am I to steal 30 minutes of their Saturday night?
If we have an important deadline coming soon, or something that requires more sustained attention, then we put things in place to deal with that (eg an on call system) - but again making expectations and boundaries clear. If you are on call for database monitoring from 9p-1am, it doesn't mean you are free for reviewing patches during that time.
It took many jobs before I found one as healthy and sustainable as my current one - I think it's pretty damn rare. One passive aggressive manager or insecure PM can lead to everyone scrambling to prove themselves, have a culture of "everything is always on fire and always at the highest priority", and so on.
I don't think laws targeting directly the symptoms of a dysfunctional employer/employee relationship are going to be very effective. Who enforces them? Peer pressure is a terrible thing - if a new employee joins a company where everyone is expected to reply to emails at any time of the day or week, what are they to do? Lawsuits are expensive and draining, and employees are rarely the ones to hold the power in the employment relationship.
The hopes I have revolve more around general, universal social support - think universal health insurance, basic income, etc. Ideally, these would let employees be much more flexible and free in how they can deal with abusive managers and dysfunctional cultures - namely by voting with their feet because paying for rent and diapers is not a concern.
I have no problem with companies requiring or allowing this, so long as the pay reflects this. From my limited experience though, most of friends who are more of the 24/7 type self-impose that discipline and don't get paid nearly enough for the amount of effort poured in. It's like a race to the bottom where the only winner is the company.
I decided to stop waiting for capitalism to throw me a bone. In fact, in New York, it only seems to be getting worse: the entitlement that companies feel to control your unpaid life is unprecedented thanks to PagerDuty, phones and so forth.
Hence I'm a consultant. I'll do off-hours, no problem, but both of us know what we're getting into, the company and I, thanks to contract wording.
It's more honest that way.
Culture change can happen by various means. Government laws that create unemployment and reduce wages are the worst.
>Will this law help maintain work-life balance or is it an assault on freedom?
...The actual assault on freedom is employers sending mails after work hours and expecting you to read them on your free time, considering the uneven relationship between employer and employee. If anything, it levels the playing field.
It then goes on as if a definition of working hours was enshrined in the law, and how it can prevent flexible working hours. No. If your working hours are 3AM to 12AM, then mails are okay at this time. If you have spotty days with an hour here and an hour there, those will be your working hours If you're a "cadre", then your working hours are basically anything that is not your rest time (a consecutive 11 hours after you left work).
And, like said, there are no penalties defined. Do you know why? Because a) companies were already being condemned for sanctioning their employees for not checking mails outside of working hours and b) It doesn't forbid the employees to check their mail after work, it allows them not to. You want to check those messages at 3AM ? Is it of your own volition? Are you not being pressured by your employer because <x> is needed quickly? Sure, go ahead, you're free to do it. Even if you are being pressured, you are free to do it. However, if you sue, your employer will be found guilty of breaking this law.
>For them to switch off at a particular time of the day may not be practically feasible.
No defined hours in the law aside from your own.
>what about the ambitious workers among us who seek to climb the corporate ladder as quickly as possible?
A) You're a bit of an idiot if you think this will ever be good for you
B) Good thing, you're still free to do it.
>For them, perhaps, overtime hours could be an opportunity to learn faster.
Overtime hours means that you're still working. And being paid to. Why would you not be able to check those _work_ mails when you're _working_ ?
>But despite these examples, most remain skeptical of such a law being passed in other countries, especially the U.S., where long workweeks and foregone vacation time are the norm
On the other hand, american working hours have been a running gag for every european country so... Maybe eventually the problem does not lay in Europe.
Ultimately, the text of this "law" is a mere few lines (https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexteArticle.do;jsessio...), and is only part of a massive change. There's much more in the full text that destroys things that people fought and died for.