The French bank BNP Paribas is being sued by a former regional director who says she was left with no choice but to quit after her request to work remotely from the French Riviera, where her husband had got a new job, was vetoed.
Sandrine Sustar, who was based in the northern French city of Lille, argues that working from home was not problematic during Covid-19 lockdowns and there was no reason to prevent her from doing so from the south of France.
“She was offering to come back to the office once a week at her own costs,” Sustar’s lawyer, Eva Nabet, said at a Paris employment tribunal hearing. “But the company refused.” Sustar says the bank’s stance forced her to resign and she is seeking about €100,000 ($107,000) under a legal procedure that enables workers to collect unfair dismissal compensation if they can demonstrate that their employer’s behaviour was so unreasonable they couldn’t stay.
By way of contrast with BNP, Zopa the British digital bank, has told staff they can work remotely abroad for up to 120 days a year without any change to their pay. The move is an expansion of a policy Zopa introduced a year ago, when it said staff could work abroad for as many as 90 days a year.
It has identified 13 countries — including Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Bermuda, and Barbados — where employees could base themselves without facing onerous tax, legal and right-to-work obstacles. “We recognise the world of work is changing,” Helen Beurier, Zopa’s chief people officer, said. “The concept of work-life balance is no longer relevant. There isn’t really a difference between work life and your personal life.”
The UK-based consultancy, Global Counsel, has published a report on the Future of Employment Regulation. The report examines the impact of technology on workplaces and considers the views of businesses on the need for new regulations. It is based on a survey of over 200 business leaders. The full report is available here.