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French workers to begin returning to offices from June 9th

Workers in France will begin returning to the office from June 9th, as the government ends its advisory on 100 percent remote working as part of the gradual reopening of the country.

French workers to begin returning to offices from June 9th
Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP

The government has asked all employees who can work from home to do so since October, although there are allowances in place for people who find remote working difficult or impractical and there are no fines in place for people who continue to go to their workplace.

According to Le Parisien, a new health protocol will be published online next week, and will bring an end to the guideline imposing 100 percent remote working where possible.

June 9th marks the third step in France’s reopening plan when – health situation permitting – bars, restaurants and cafés will be able to open up their indoor spaces and travel from outside the EU including the USA will again be permitted.

IN DETAIL France’s plan for reopening after lockdown 

“We are giving the power back to employers and workers to determine the appropriate number of days, but this does not mean abandoning remote working,” labour minister Élisabeth Borne told the newspaper.

“This practice is still recommended in order to fight effectively against the pandemic.”

Borne advocated for a progressive return to work, and announced that employees in the public sector will transition to three days working from home, and two days in the office, from June 9th.

In the private sector, the number of days spent in the office will be decided through discussions between businesses, workers and trade unions, which are set to begin on Monday, according to Le Parisien.

“An employer who forces staff to return to the office every day from June 9th will be in violation of the protocol,” Borne added.

Speaking on France Info, Laurent Berger, head of the CFDT trade union, said it was important to ensure there is “not just a consultation, but a real social dialogue.”

“What I fear is that on June 9th it will be unilateral, companies will decide that you do two or three days of remote-working and that’s how it is, we don’t listen to the workers,” he added.

The announcement will come as a relief to many who have not seen their colleagues in months, but the experience of remote working is not something people in France are ready to give up entirely. According to the results of a survey by OpinionWay, which Le Parisien revealed on Tuesday, 8 out of 10 workers want to continue working from home between one and three days per week.

The return to the office does not mean a return to normal, either.

Preventative measures will remain mandatory, including rules on physical distancing and ventilation.

Office canteens will be limited to 50 percent capacity and must maintain a one-metre distance between seats.

Mask-wearing will remain compulsory in the workplace.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

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.

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