France has said a reluctant adieu to the 35-hour workweek. In 2000, when the Socialists were in power, the government shortened full-time working hours to 35 hours a week, in the hope that companies would have to hire more workers. But the unemployment rate remained more or less steady, at around 10 percent. And those who did have jobs didn’t get raises, as most companies froze salaries to make up for lost production. “The intention was to spread work around, but the effect was to spread our salaries around,” said Finance Minister Thierry Breton. The official workweek is now back up to 39 hours.
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