The French National Assembly has effectively relaxed its 35-hour working week rule.
The assembly voted by more than two to one to allow up to 13 hours’ overtime on top of the 35 hours that French staff are allowed to work each week. This brings the working week up to the maximum 48 hours permitted under the Working Time Directive.
French employees have been becoming increasingly disaffected over the 35-hour week, and are demanding the freedom to work longer hours.
A poll conducted for L’Expansion magazine last September found that more than 60% of employees believe the limit penalises French companies, and more than half feel the legislation encourages companies to relocate outside France.
Thirty-six per cent of French workers want a return to their traditional working week of 39 hours.
The cut to 35 hours was introduced five years ago under socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin.