The "Aubry Laws" and the 35-Hour Work Week: The Irresistible Rise of Flexible Time

By Marc Richevaux

French laws enacting the 35-hour work week encourage the flexible use of the labor force. However, these laws have lost their original aim of increasing employment, raise workers’ purchasing power, and foster new activities that would fill the newly freed time. However, this policy, which was inspired by Keynes, has enabled market forces in that employers are better able to manage workloads on an annual basis and may rely on workers with precarious contracts in order to contain production costs and increase profits.


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