Thursday, May 11, 2017

Q&A: Do the French Ever Work/Do They Hate Work/Are They Lazy? (Given the 35 Hour Week, Holidays, Vacation . . .)

In one moment, you will be redirected to the new blog.:-)


  1. Hi Brooke,

    You did a very good job summing up this tricky question!

    With the new "loi travail" (or "loi El Khomri") companies will be able to be even more flexible regarding days and hours of work. This law has been highly criticized and led to lots of strikes because workers felt like they would have to work more and not be paid more, would have to work longer days and on weekends if needed by the company.The government imposed this law even if the députés in the assemblée nationale did not vote in favor of it (maybe you've heard of Manuel Valls' use of '49.3').

    In my company, the workload is seasonal. We create and sell (baby)dolls and therefore the busiest time for sales in the last semester (from september) for Xmas. Our 35h are annualized, meaning that they take the number of hours days we must work per year (1594h) x 35h and number of days and do the math (i can't even explain properly). So the first semester i work 35h/week and at the end of the year i can work up to 42h. We have days off in compensation. We're closed 3 weeks in August and 1 at the end of the year (between Xmas and the 1st on Jan.). And our "cadres" do not have a count of hours to be worked but a number of days. Of course they must be present a minimum of hours on work days, but this means that they can work a lot more than the regular 7h/day. But they're paid much more than us, regular employees.

    And you said it right, we love the bridges and long weekends, and this month of May rocks with 2 3-day weekend and 1 bridge of 4 days and again 3 days early June :-)

    1. Thanks! I want to answer people's questions, but I am an outsider looking in, so it's great to know that I did a good job with the topic :-)

      Yes, I was here temporarily when the law was pushed through I believe. Everything was a mess! Fuel depots blocked, trains on strike, etc. And I believe my contract limits my working days as well, but then what is a working day? Clearly, M-F . . . but what about partial days on the weekend? I found out by accident that I had violated the law by working 7 days one week! When you come as a foreign worker, nobody really explains the laws.