Keyword: 35-hour working week
Since its introduction by a socialist government in 2000, France’s 35-hour working week is the subject of political controversy at home and myth abroad. While it has long been the bugbear of the French Right, now the current socialist government’s economy minister Emmanuel Macron has called for its application to be eased, supposedly to increase business competitiveness. Outside of France, it is often misunderstood as the illustration of a laid-back workforce – but who, according to Federal Reserve Economic Data, in reality work more hours annually than their German counterparts. This month, a French parliamentary commission of enquiry into ‘the relative societal, economic and financial impact of the reduction in working hours’, prompted by centre-right MPs, published its findings. To the surprise of many, and the ire of some, it broadly concludes that the measure, arguably the last most significant socialist reform, has proved a positive one. In this report by Mathieu Magnaudeix, the parliamentary commission’s rapporteur Barbara Romagnan argues why the 35-hour week has been positive for employees and employers alike, and why introducing a further reduction in basic working hours should not be excluded.
The French prime minister is forced into an embarrassing climbdown after suggesting a possible change to the country's historic 35-hour work week.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday announced a battery of economic measures the scope of which has never before been undertaken by a president facing an imminent re-election contest. While still not officially declaring himself candidate in the two-round elections that begin in April, although providing a clear hint that he will run as expected, Sarkozy presented a raft of major reforms to be rushed through parliament in the weeks ahead, including a hike in VAT, a go-it-alone ‘Tobin tax’ and the effective end of the 35-hour minimum working week, all of which are to be introduced after the elections. Mathieu Magnaudeix analyses the principal measures unveiled during an hour-long interview broadcast live across eight television channels.