End of télétravail? France’s new rules for employees to return to work

Working from home will cease to be the norm as France lays out new protocols for people returning to work.

End of télétravail? France's new rules for employees to return to work
Photo: AFP

The French government will this week lay out new protocols that will allow more people to return to work, including abolishing the recommendation that everyone should work from home if possible.

As France has gradually reopened, government advice has remained the same as it was at the height of the lockdown – that people who can work from home should continue to do so if possible.

The recommendation was intended to avoid large numbers of people in workplaces, as well as easing crowding on public transport at peak times in cities.

But now a new protocol, set to be published in its final form later in the week, scraps this recommendation.

The join Health Ministry and Labour Ministry document suggests;

  • Scrapping the recommendation that people work from home, although this will still be possible if employers and employees come to an agreement. The government suggests that employers look favourably upon requests to workers to continue working remotely, if this is possible
  • Cutting the space requirement from 4m sq per employee to 1m sq, mirroring the changes already introduced in schools. This would mean that most businesses could have all their employees in the workplace at the same time without falling fall of the restrictions
  • Masks will only be recommended for workplaces if distance rules cannot be complied with. Some workers in public-facing roles – such as waiters and shop assistants – would continue to wear masks
  • Hand washing facilities and hand gel to be made available to all employees 
  • Gloves are not recommended
  • Each company must appoint a 'Covid delegate' to be responsible for hygiene regulations
  • In large workplaces, one-way system should be set up to avoid employees crossing paths too often

While keen for France to reopen as much as possible, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has also urged caution, telling French media: “Our interest is not the short term, but the long term. If tomorrow a relaxation led to the appearance of a cluster in a restaurant, for example, we would lose all the benefit of what has been done so far.”

For employees who fall into high-risk groups for Covid-19 there are extra protections in place.

READ ALSO What are your employment rights in France if you are in a Covid-19 high-risk group?



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Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

From tax hikes to the price of food, air conditioning and the unexpected things that lurk beneath the streets of Paris, here are 6 essential articles for life in France.

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

As the inhabitants of Paris, one of Europe’s most densely populated cities, walk along the Champs-Elysées or Rue de Rivoli, they might be entirely unaware of the extensive underground world that exists below their feet.

Paris has a huge network of underground spaces that hide some very unexpected things (as well as the entirely prosaci Metro).

Skulls, beer and a ‘cathedral’: Discover the secrets of underground Paris

From cheese and garlic to berets and sex, taxes and striking, France is heavily loaded with cultural stereotypes – and most of them are only partly accurate.

This is us, busting more myths.

Myth-busting: Are these 12 clichés about France actually true?

France warned that companies might have to reduce energy this winter as Russian continues to reduce its gas supplies to Europe.

The government has already begun work on an energy-saving plan, with more measures to come in September.

And it’s not the only country thinking along these lines – from limits to heating and air conditioning to turning off the lights and taking off ties, here’s how countries around Europe are cutting their energy usage.

Air-con, lights and ties: How countries around Europe hope to avoid blackouts this winter

Although householders in France are relatively fortunate when it comes to rising bills, there is one notable exception.

Towns and villages across France have been raising property tax rates for second-home owners – with many areas voting for the maximum 60 percent increase.

Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

As we’ve stumbled onto money matters, let’s consider the cost of living. France has many temptations to woo visitors and foreign residents: its scenery, history, the lifestyle, the food and the drink.

While some things here are more expensive than elsewhere – we’re looking at you, second-hand car dealers – and the taxes are notoriously high, what about the cost of groceries and wine? How do they compare? We do something that looks a lot like crunching the numbers…

How expensive is food and drink in France?

But, enough of all that seriousness. It’s silly season, after all. Prominent French scientist Etienne Klein has had to apologise for claiming this was the latest astonishing picture taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, when it was – in fact …

French astronomer apologises for ‘stellar’ photo that was really . . . chorizo

Some people take things far too seriously.