France ends 35-hour workweek

by on March 22nd, 2005

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/22/world/main682341.shtml

(AP) French lawmakers effectively abolished the country’s 35-hour workweek Tuesday by allowing employers to increase working hours — and pay — as the country struggles with high unemployment and stagnating living standards.

In a final vote, the National Assembly approved a government-backed bill permitting employers to negotiate deals with staff to increase working time to 220 hours a year in return for better pay.

The law effectively clears the way for the gradual erosion of the 35-hour week, a flagship policy of the former Socialist-led government that gave many people more time off but added to concerns about France’s declining global competitiveness.

President Jacques Chirac’s government has tried to sell the reform to voters as an opportunity to “Work More to Earn More,” but many remain unconvinced.

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