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French Senate To Vote On Significant Labor Reform

LESS UNCERTAINTY IN FIRING

There is another measure that aims to simplify the firing process. Layoffs in France are often challenged in courts and the cases can take years to resolve. Many companies cite the threat of lengthy court action â¿¿ even more than any financial cost â¿¿ as the most difficult part of doing business in France. The law shortens the time that employees have to contest a layoff and also lays out a scheme for severance pay. The government hopes this will help employees and companies reach agreement faster in contentious layoffs.

WORKER MOBILITY

Several measures are also aimed at making it less daunting for employees to change jobs. French contracts are known for the tremendous protections they afford workers and as those benefits increase, the longer an employee stays with a company. While it is frequently noted that these contracts make employers reluctant to hire, they can also make employees more likely to stay put in stable jobs. When no one moves, it becomes harder for the unemployed to find work.

Among the measures introduced are credits for training that follow employees throughout their career, regardless of where they work, and the right to take a leave of absence to work at another company. The law will also require all companies to offer and partially pay for supplemental health insurance. Only some jobs currently offer that.

The law also reforms unemployment insurance, so that someone out of work doesn't risk foregoing significant benefits when taking a job that might pay less than previous work or end up only being temporary. Under the new law, workers will be able to essentially put benefits on hold when they take temporary work, instead of seeing their benefits recalculated each time.

WHAT MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE?

While Hollande's law gets the ball rolling, a lot more needs to be done to really crack open the French labor market. For instance, France has laws prohibiting many shops from opening on Sundays.

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