French President Francois Hollande is taking on one of France’s most hallowed institutions to keep it: the 35-hour work week.  According to a report on BloombergView the 35-hour week hasn’t really existed in practice for some time now.  “The law on working hours remains important to Hollande’s own Socialist Party and the French left, but over the years France’s various governments have weakened it.  Factories are allowed to extend work hours, for example, in exchange for promises to keep jobs there.  Fully employed workers in France work an average of 40.5 hours per week, only an hour less than Germans or the EU average”.

Editorial Board: Hollande Bravely Takes On the 35-Hour Week first published on BloombergView today.


Reducing France’s unemployment rate — it remains stubbornly above 10 per cent — will require more than just abolishing the 35-hour week. Another provision of the Hollande administration’s draft bill on labor, which will be presented to cabinet on March 9, would make it easier for businesses to dismiss workers. Both of these reforms are worthwhile.