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Working Conditions in France

 
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Littlebird



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 82
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2004 12:10 pm    Post subject: Working Conditions in France Reply with quote

Is it true that the French only work a maximum 35 hour week ? How can the country possibly operate like that ? Surely there are loads of jobs which require workers to work more than 35 hours a week like lorry driving, teaching, working as a chef. Do the French just employ more people ? What effect has this had on wages ?

Also does anyone know about attitudes to employing the disabled in France ? Very positive or just lip service as it seems to be in the UK. I have also heard about the droits de l'homme. It all sounds very positive and pro employee but in practice are workers given a good deal in France or is it all talk.

Another unrelated question. How long does it take to become fluent in French. Obviously everyone is different and start from different abilities. It would nice to know how long it has taken other people. Please say what your ability was before you arrived in France.

Thanks in advance
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Shaman



Joined: 06 Apr 2003
Posts: 446
Location: Hammertown

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Salut Petit Oiseau.

Quote:
Is it true that the French only work a maximum 35 hour week ? How can the country possibly operate like that ?


From what I recall, employees end up staying longer than the paid 35 so that they can get their work done. I had many exasperated students relate this situation to me.

Quote:
I have also heard about the droits de l'homme. It all sounds very positive and pro employee but in practice are workers given a good deal in France or is it all talk.


It's a socialized society and this brings benefits and drawbacks. The benefits protect against unfair labour practices (firings etc.). The drawbacks are strikes. From what I understand, doctors and teachers are at it presently. So are the transport workers but the mere mention borders on redundancy.

Inre: the language, I stopped taking lessons 15 yrs prior to arriving in Paris. After 6 months I was mid-high intermediate level.

Hope this helps.

Shaman


Last edited by Shaman on Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Littlebird



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 82
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:29 am    Post subject: Working Conditions in France`` Reply with quote

Thanks Shaman
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Littlebird



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 82
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 11:32 am    Post subject: Working Conditions in France Reply with quote

Does anyone else out there have any comments ?

I particularly want to know about how the disabled are treated at work. I suffer from repetitive strain injury in the arms and are therefore disabled and need alternative means of using a computer. How are the disabled protected in France ? Any different from the UK ? Does anyone know any other forums which may help me. I also want to know about breaks. How long do you work before getting a break ? What is the law ?

Thanks a lot in advance
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lostinparis



Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 77
Location: within range of a flying baguette

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm... this is a tough question to answer.

honestly, i have to say that after having lived in Northern California (where a multitude of things are adapted to disabled people, including public transport, jobs, etc and where disabled people can live a really fulfilling life), France is about 10 years behind the US in this regard, maybe even more.

Paris is a nightmare for those who have mobility issues - the sidewalks are too small, and all the metro stations have stairs. Buses are not adapted to wheelchairs either. In the two years I've been here, I only saw one woman in a wheelchair on a bus and she was so frustrated with the experience that she was yelling at everyone. Didn't blame her at all.

Discrimination in the hiring process for jobs is also rampant here (I'm obviously comparing here with the US, where I'm from) On job applications or interviews here in France, you are often required to state your age and marital status or, even worse, job listings sometimes state the age range that they want to hire from (ex: secretary between 27 and 32 wanted for blah blah blah position). Many employers will not look at your application if you do not fall within their criteria.

I have a friend in his 50s who is an extremely qualified massage therapist (trained in California and in Asia)... he has been passed over many times by many places. When he calls to ask why he wasn't selected, it's always the same response - "you just weren't what we were looking for." What they really mean is "you're too old and we prefer someone younger." Salary was not an issue in these cases (i.e. younger people being cheaper to hire) because the salary was already listed on the job posting. I find this type of age discrimination appalling in France. It also works in the reverse - people think you are too young and not experienced enough to hire.

I have actually had a potential employer ask me if I was married or in a serious relationship. When I said no, that I was single, he later admitted that he didn't want to hire women who he thought might get pregnant while they worked at his company, because then his company "would have to pay her for free while she wasn't doing any work"! This kind of comment could easily end you up in court with a discrimination suit in the US.

I have also heard simiar discriminatory comments while looking for apartments in Paris. Landlords always ask your nationality... one woman (who was pleased that I was American) actually told me, "Well another girl from Bulgaria was going to look at the apartment first, but since you're American, why don't you come before her.. after all, you know how those Eastern European girls are..." She said this in a voice as if they were equivalent to dirty prostitutes!!

Anyway for your particular situation - I would very definitely NOT mention that you have a disability. They will eliminate you immediately from the hiring pool. Once they've hired you, if you can hang in there for a certian amount of time (not sure how long), it becomes more difficult to fire you. (and besides, at this point, if you are doing your job like anyone else, why wouldn't they keep you).

I am not that up to date about French employment laws, but I imagine there would have to be something about this in the books....

good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Littlebird



Joined: 29 Jun 2003
Posts: 82
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 10:30 am    Post subject: Working Conditions in France Reply with quote

That was not what I wanted to hear ! I couldn't just hang in there and pretend I didn't have a disability because even a little typing hurts my hands and arms, eventually they become weak and I find it hard to do everyday things. Just using this forum is a problem ! Sad

What books were you talking about ?
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lostinparis



Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 77
Location: within range of a flying baguette

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I said books, I was speaking figuratively: "in the lawbooks"

I was not suggesting that you pretend that you do not have a disability. What I said was, do not mention it during the hiring process. If you do, they are sure to eliminate you immediately, especially jobs which require typing or use of your hands (i.e. all secretarial work). There are plenty of other people who do not have this problem; they will hire those people first. I'm sorry if you don't want to hear this, but it is simply the cold, hard truth.

What do you do for a job currently? There are certainly jobs that exist which don't require you to type all day or use your hands. (giving English lessons by telephone or being a receptionist comes to mind). I was suggesting earlier that if you apply for one of these jobs, there is no need to tell your employer about your disability, especially if it doesn't affect your job performance.

I too have had trouble in the past with pain in my wrist, fingers, and shoulder due to a corporate job in the states where i sat around crunching marketing numbers all day using my "ergonomic" keyboard. My doctor told me there was nothing I could do short of quitting my job to make the pain go away. So I did. Within 6 months the pain went away. (though it does resurface every now and then if I spend too long on internet forums Wink ).
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lostinparis



Joined: 04 Feb 2004
Posts: 77
Location: within range of a flying baguette

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you read French, check out French employment regulations for disabled individuals at:

http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/ARBO/NXTRA115.html?&n=Handicap%C3%A9s&l=NX12
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