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  1.    #1  
    Okay I guess I must put this disclaimer at the very top: This Is Not A French Bashing Thread.

    I simply had no idea the French employment laws were laid out this way. I am not an economist, but I can see several disadvantages to an open job market with laws forbidding companies to fire employees after working there for only 6 months. Personal security is a benefit everyone on a personal basis would love, but I don't see it as an positive and efficient component to spur growth and a progressive job market.

    IMHO, There needs to be laws to govern several aspect of job security. For example, laws to protect job security based on abuse of power (i.e. employee fired because refused sexual advance, would not fudge the books when asked, etc...) is needed. Laws to govern mergers, etc... to protect jobs can be appropriate. But the main security for job security I feel should be the performance of the employee with appropriate evaluations and opportunities by the employee to correct any concerns expressed by the company.

    As an upper level manager for several years in a fast moving industry, I have found that those who feel complacent (in the fact that they feel they can never be fired attitude) perform below the minimal expectations. While the one who is hungry to prove his worth to the company, who is looking for that promotion, to make a name, or to continually prove how vital they are to their team.....advances the company and it's business.

    Since I obviously do not know all the details about this law (beyond what I have been able learn from the web or news articles), I am interested in your thoughts on an employment model like this.

    Do they need to change it to free job market or keep the personal security by forbidding companies from being able to fire it's employees?


    Here one story on the subject:

    Can France fix the way it works?
    ‘Lost generation’ tries to find its way in the streets

    France is facing a two-pronged problem.

    The job market needs a big fix. Almost a quarter of the population between the ages of 15 and 24 is unemployed. And for those lucky enough to find fulltime work, often it takes years.

    At the same time, as persistent street demonstrations show, few appear ready to accept the fundamental changes needed to the French social model.

    -------------

    The government, still reeling from riots last fall in immigrant neighborhoods, where unemployment is as high as 50 percent, has proposed a solution.

    Under the First Job Contract, or CPE as it is known in French, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin wants to give French companies incentive to hire — by allowing them the flexibility to fire workers.

    That’s an outrage in France, where job security is considered a birthright.

    De Villepin’s plan would allow employers to fire workers without cause for up to two years. The students on the streets, backed by France’s powerful labor unions, say they want the same workplace protections their parents have.

    “The CPE gives us no guarantees,” said Marion Cavanna, 20. “We are very scared for the future.”

    While there is widespread sympathy for the students’ plight — a French newspaper poll showed more than two-thirds of the country supportive of their action — France’s rigid labor laws are taking their toll on the economy, which has seen next to no growth.

    -------------------

    “After six months, we are not able to fire workers,” Donnat said. “There needs to be more flexibility.”

    Fulltime workers are guaranteed long-term health care, generous vacations and a full pension. Social security costs, which can amount to half a worker’s salary, are borne by employers. Staff can be fire for serious infractions, but essentially “they have a job for life,” Donnant said.

    With hiring a risk, many French companies rely on short-term contracts get the job done, a practice that means it can take years for youths to land a fulltime job.

    ----------------

    France’s future, Wievorska said, needs to be tied to a new model.

    “What is important is, are we able to create a new model where people are not obliged to be given a job for their whole life? Are we able to create it, or are we obliged to defend the old system? This is why the country is at a crossroads.”

    Full Story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11976530
    Last edited by HobbesIsReal; 03/23/2006 at 01:02 PM.
  2. #2  
    The labor laws are pretty much the same in Germany. After a trial period, of 3 to 6 months during which time you can terminate an employee without cause, it is almost impossible to fire someone. Not only that, but in the case of a layoff due lack of work, social consideration have to be taken into account. For example a newly hired employee out of his trial period with several children would have to be kept and a bachelor with significantly longer employment would have to be let go.
  3. #3  
    It's all a matter of tradeoffs: economic security at the expense of (potentially drasticly) slower growth
  4. #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by KRamsauer
    It's all a matter of tradeoffs: economic security at the expense of (potentially drasticly) slower growth
    But can you have economic security without employers or investors? If it becomes too expensive to do business in France, employers will seek elsewhere and if growth is too slow investors will seek elsewhere.
  5.    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by KRamsauer
    It's all a matter of tradeoffs: economic security at the expense of (potentially drasticly) slower growth
    The trade off from what I can see does not seem to worth it. If you have slower job growth that is giving you 25% to 50% unemployed because there are potentially incompetent people working because they passed their 3-6 month probation 6 years ago.

    Man, people start blowing a gasket here in the US when we have 6% unemployment (last month in Feb we were at 4.8%). I could not imagine the protests our streets would be filled with with 25% to 50% unemployment.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs
    But can you have economic security without employers or investors? If it becomes too expensive to do business in France, employers will seek elsewhere and if growth is too slow investors will seek elsewhere.
    When I say drastically, I mean just that: living standards that trail the rest of the world by more and more each year.
  7. #7  
    This is rediculous- how could a country ever agree to a no-fire policy? What were they smoking? So Now nobody gets hired for more than 5 months, how "Secure" is that? And saying you "have" to pay a guy with kids to support... how do you pay him if the money is not there... your business is barely hanging on, so I assume more businesses fail because they can't pay incompetants or even good employees if the business is struggling.

    Now the company my dad worked for paid him when he was out sick longer than expected... and the co. I work for bent over backwards to help keep someone on the payroll beyound reasonable time off due to medical issues. But the Gov't requiring it?

    Talk about unfunded mandates.

    So- do the protestors prefer not having any jobs at all? How are they putting food in their mouths now? Or does nanny/gov't do that for them as well?
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  8.    #8  
    It is often hard to get an insider's view of an issue or situation thru the MSM.....is there a French TCer who is willing to express their point of view or some insight?
  9. #9  
    >>This is rediculous- how could a country ever agree to a no-fire policy? What were they smoking? So Now nobody gets hired for more than 5 months, how "Secure" is that? And saying you "have" to pay a guy with kids to support... how do you pay him if the money is not there... your business is barely hanging on, so I assume more businesses fail because they can't pay incompetants or even good employees if the business is struggling.<<

    I was transferred to Germany for 5 years by my company as a plant manager. I learned real quick that if an employee during his trial period had an absence, or was slow in learning his job or his performance was less than stellar, get rid of him/her. The unemployment in this area was very high and you could always find somebody. If they were long term unemployed, we would even consider them, because usually they caused more problems then it worth.

    >>Now the company my dad worked for paid him when he was out sick longer than expected... and the co. I work for bent over backwards to help keep someone on the payroll beyound reasonable time off due to medical issues. But the Gov't requiring it?<<

    In Germany under the health care system the employees are paid for 6 weeks full wages, after 6 weeks their compensation is reduced, but I don't know how much. I had one employee who had a car accident was out for 6 months, came back and took 3 weeks of vacation that he had scheduled, really pi__ed off the rest of the employees. During the entire time that he was gone, we had to cover his shift with overtime, which also upset the rest of the employees. Talk about expensive for a small company (46 employees).

    >>Talk about unfunded mandates.<<

    Ya...

    >>So- do the protestors prefer not having any jobs at all? How are they putting food in their mouths now? Or does nanny/gov't do that for them as well?<<

    Well, while I was there I did hear from some long term unemployed that they would rather collect unemployment than work since work was only going to pay them a couple hundred Euros more than being unemployed. The government gives them enough money and pays for their apartment/ TV/ Telephone... Due to the various social programs, the taxes in Germany are high not as high as in some european countries, but significantly higher than in the US.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    Okay I guess I must put this disclaimer at the very top: This Is Not A French Bashing Thread.

    I simply had no idea the French employment laws were laid out this way. I am not an economist, but I can see several disadvantages to an open job market with laws forbidding companies to fire employees after working there for only 6 months. Personal security is a benefit everyone on a personal basis would love, but I don't see it as an positive and efficient component to spur growth and a progressive job market.
    It seems quite clear that France is in a very bad situation concerning the ability to reform itself - Germany seems to be a bit better in this respect.

    But, too answer your question: Great Britain was in a much worse state in the 80ies, but eventually, when the situation was bad enough, they started to change. I guess it will be the same with France.

    Interestingly, the productivity (GDP per hour worked) is higher in France than e.g. in the US and most other OECD countries, so once they start working more than 35 hours per week, they may recover quite fast.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  11.    #11  
    Here is the latest development:

    France Braces for Nationwide Strike

    Monday, March 27, 2006
    PARIS — France braced Monday for widespread disruptions to train, plane and subway traffic in a strike over the government's new labor law as Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and opponents of the measure entered a crucial week in their ongoing standoff.

    ----------------

    The week was shaping up as a critical test for Villepin, who has largely refused to budge on the labor law that he insists is needed to bring down sky-high youth unemployment rates. Many opponents fear it will damage coveted job security in France.

    Labor and student groups vowed to press ahead with the one-day strike and more protests unless the government cancels the law that has sparked violent clashes with police and shut down universities.

    ------------------

    Union leaders said they would meet Wednesday to decide on the next step, and left open a threat to extend the strike.

    France's constitutional council, responding to an appeal from the opposition Socialists, was to rule Thursday on the legality of the new law, which passed parliament early this month but still needs President Jacques Chirac's signature to take effect, as planned, by April.

    France's top union of students, UNEF, called for dialogue with Villepin — but continued to insist that the government shelve the law first as a precondition to talks.

    The National Student Coordination, another grouping of university students, has demanded the conservative government's resignation. At a meeting in southeastern Aix-en-Provence, the group vowed more protests after the strike by blocking roads and train tracks on Thursday.

    About 200 demonstrations are planned across the country Tuesday, with the largest winding through Paris. The protest will be the sixth in about two weeks in the capital. Most have turned violent, with youths clashing with police and, last week, even attacking student demonstrators.

    FULL STORY: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,189196,00.html

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