Want a Life After 6 P.M.? Move to France
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The Fiscal Times
April 10, 2014

Americans love to make fun of French people, while at the same time envy their lifestyle.

Last week, a new labor agreement passed between several main French unions added to that love/hate relationship: It will force some workers in the technology and consultancy sectors to disconnect their work-related cell phones, tablets or laptops after work hours. The deal will reportedly affect some 250,000 workers.

Related: Sacre Bleu! Burgers Beating Baguettes in France 

The essence of the new agreement is to comply with the 35-hour work week introduced in 1999 and it makes sure French people don’t work too hard. Bien sûr, we would all love to completely disconnect from work after, say, 6 p.m. But guess what? Most Americans are still at work at that time. And actually, so are most French people when they take their typical long business lunch at a café’s terrace. It just isn’t realistic in this day and age.

This new agreement might not go so well with monsieur le président François Hollande either. It will certainly affect his plan to persuade business leaders and many exiled French techies that France’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and that they should move back to France to start businesses there instead of work in the Silicon Valley.

Is it really la belle vie?

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Marine Cole has been covering finance and business for a decade and has written for publications that include The Wall Street Journal, Crain's New York Business, and AdvertisingAge.