France allows employers to ban wine in workplace

2 min

The long-held tradition in France of having a glass of wine over lunch at the staff canteen may become a thing of the past – for some workers at least – after a recent government decree allowing employers to outlaw wine at the office.


Alcohol in French working life is actually mandated by law.

Until now, the “Work Code” stipulated that employers could not ban beer, cider and wine from workplace canteens and social drinks in offices.

Other beverages – such as spirits – can be forbidden under the code, while drivers, medical staff and machine operators (among others) can be banned from drinking at all if they are on duty.

But the French labour ministry ruled this week that employers may henceforth forbid their staff from drinking wine – France’s most recognised export – and cider in the workplace.

The ministry argued that alcohol can, “threaten the security and the physical and mental wellbeing of workers.”

Alcohol abuse causes around 49,000 deaths in France annually, according to a study by the Institut Gustave-Roussy, one of the world's leading cancer research institutes.

Drinking wine has long been a mainstay of French gastronomic culture, but consumption has declined in recent years as drinkers turn increasingly to beer.

In 2013 the United States outstripped France as the top global consumer of wine, with 29 million hectolitres being drunk, one million more than in France.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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