There’s Still Hope

It would seem that France is going to abolish their legally mandated 35 hour work week.

The article linked to above makes some good points. One of them is that the biggest source of French foreign investment came from the US, and we just didn’t want to pour money into a culture that is that restrictive when it comes to business.

But there were also some unintended consequences that are biting French lawmakers.

Often touted as the working mother’s godsend, the 35-hour week actually made life harder for poorer women and single parents, according to women’s organization CLEF.

“The women that suffered were the lowest paid, who needed all the overtime they could get to make ends meet,” said CLEF president Monique Halpern. “I think this is one of the reasons that Lionel Jospin lost the elections.”

4 thoughts on “There’s Still Hope”

  1. It would be interesting to go back and see how many of the bad consequences that ensued were accurately predicted before the 35 hour week became law. Lots of them, I bet.

  2. There is Hope.

    Only a socialist would say, “The intention was to spread work around…”

    In the next breath, only a realist would say, “…but the effect was to spread our salaries around,” – Thierry Breton, France’s finance minister, in James’ linked article.

    I was force-fed the French language for 8-years. It’s heartening to know I might be able to capitalize on it sometime in the near future.


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