Jobless total falls below 11 per cent in France

• Unemployment has dipped once more in France, and is now just below 11 per
cent of the working population, latest official figures show. In November the
number of unemployed fell by 44,400. Over the year the figure fell by more than
300,000.

US politicians push for minimum wage increase

• Efforts to raise the US minimum wage will surface in Congress early in the
year. Republican Rick Lazio has tabled a proposal for an increase from $5.15
per hour to $6.15 over three years. Democrats, including President Clinton,
want to see the $1 increase over two years.

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February date set for French 35-hour week law

• The Senate in France has formally approved the second law governing the
35-hour week. This sets the date of 1 February for implementing the 35-hour
weekly maximum for employers with more than 20 staff. Smaller companies have
until 2002 to comply.

ECJ ruling cuts foreign employee red tape

• The European Court of Justice has ruled that an EU company operating in a
foreign member state may not be forced to make additional social payments or
undertake extra paperwork on behalf of staff beyond those required in their
home country – unless this entitles them to extra benefits. The ruling is based
on a case involving French construction companies Arblade and Leloup, which had
refused orders from the Belgian government that they provide health documents
about their employees.

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