The New French Labour Law


A new labour law, commonly referred to as the ‘El Khomri law’ after the French Minister of Labour, Myriam El Khomri, has generated significant attention in France over recent weeks. Bob Hancké assesses what the new law achieves, why it is here, and what it means for the country moving forward.

The recent furore in France over the new labour law highlights a couple of unpleasant truths about the country (FT article here, paywall). The new law, which carries the name of the Minister of Labour Myriam El Khomri, it is true, aims to introduce some measures that attack symbolic and real holy cows on the Left – viz. a rather dramatic expansion of what constitutes a ‘normal’ working week to 46 hours (but with rather generous compensation arrangements from the 36th hour onwards); a financial ceiling for unjust dismissal; and a redefinition of what unions are allowed to do in the case of disagreements and strikes. In short, French labour law will look a lot like its German counterpart. Yes, like labour law in the country that everybody wants to be.

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