France Steps Back from 35-Hour Work Week
French lawmakers took a step toward ending the country’s decade-long experiment with a 35-hour work week, passing a bill that gives companies greater latitude to extend working hours.
The new law, approved late Wednesday, retains the legal limit on working hours but allows companies to negotiate opt-outs with employees. It also lets companies increase the maximum number of working days for white-collar workers to 235 per year from 218 currently.
“In theory it’s the end of the 35-hour work week, but in practice it will take a while longer,” said Marc Touati, head of economic research at Paris-based brokerage Global Equities.
Since the new hours are to be negotiated on a company-by-company basis, “you can’t expect it to have a strong impact on French growth” in the short term, he said.
This is extremelly important as other countries are also thinking of reducing the legal limit to the 35-hour stablished by French law.