30-year old French Labour Laws to be Overhauled: Macron Government’s Decisive Start
30-year old French Labour Laws to be Overhauled: Macron Government’s Decisive Start

The French President Emmanuel Macron has lamented that France’s unemployment rate stands at about 9.5%, which is almost the double of his European rival countries.

Keeping this and France’s complex labour laws in mind, Macron’s government has issued five decrees to simplify the Code du Travail – this covers every single aspect of working in France.

  • Prime Minister Edouard Philippe calls these decrees/reforms as balanced and fair and will give France a break to catch up on the many “lost” years.
  • Prior to the issuing of the reforms, the French government held three months of consultations with its unions and workers’ reps and with the business leaders.
  • The small- and medium-sized companies in France employ half its workforce, and the government’s priority was to ease up on the restrictions by granting them additional strength and flexibility to hire and fire.
  • Going forward, companies with 20 people or less could directly negotiate with its workforce on the terms and conditions of employment and need not go through the national union branch.
  • To further add strength to this initiative, a cap on the industrial tribunal payments has been imposed. Also, the time limit for raising complaints has been reduced to one year, which earlier stood at two years.
  • The head of the CFDT union, Laurent Berger, said that the removal of the union’s influence sat largely on its member’s minds and that they were worried about its impact, particularly in small and medium-sized companies.
  • CFDT has also sent out a clarion call for a 10,000 strong rally in Paris on October 3, 2017.

Prime Minister Philippe has said that the overhaul was long due and that the main victims of these 30 years of impotent work culture are the present youth and the marginally less qualified.

President Macron says he wants to put an end to the litany of restrictions on France, “squeezed by rules and rights … which believes itself to be a country of liberty”.


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