35-hour week has increased the quality of life in France

More than half of the staff that have switched to a 35-hour
week in France believe it has improved their lives, according to research by
the French ministry of labour and social affairs.

Most of this newly acquired leisure time is being spent in
and around the home, claims another study by consultants Euro RSCG. It shows
that French men view their new time off as free time while women treat it as
freed-up time.

But some staff believe that a 35-hour week has a downside.
Research shows that 63 per cent of those polled feel more stressed at work,
while 67 per cent say they are having to do too much in too little time, claims
a report in the Financial Times.

French unions claim that companies are making up for shorter
working hours by cutting breaks, increasing job flexibility and demanding
greater productivity.

There are currently 15.1 million workers in France covered
by the 35-hour week legislation, introduced by Lionel Jospin’s government in
1998.

By Karen Higginbottom

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