Sunday work hours increase in French vote
PARIS - France’s lower house of Parliament yesterday approved a divisive bill to allow more stores to stay open - and more people to work - on Sundays.
The bill, passed in a 282-to-238 vote yesterday, now goes to the Senate for debate.
Expanding Sunday working hours is one of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s reform pledges. Supporters of such a move say it would give the French economy a much-needed jolt as the nation wrestles with recession.
France’s leftist opposition, however, calls it an affront to labor protections, and traditionalists decry it as an attack on the time-honored day of rest.
Under the new measure, shops in France’s three-largest metropolitan areas - Paris, Marseille, and Lille - would be permitted to open on Sundays. Employees would have the choice to refuse Sunday working hours, and employers must pay those who agree to work double overtime.