I trained as an Employment lawyer, so I have something of an intellectual fetish for the technical side of Employment Law and the French Labour Code is worthy of fascination. This door-stop of a document is often decried as overly complicated. It topped out at 3,689 pages in 2015, although this misleading statistic (only a fraction of those pages are relevant to the majority of employers) misses the point that it is probably better that the most important contract in an individual’s life – the primary source of their income – is more regulated than less. Even so, there is significant room for improvement in a labour market where those in the tent (older people on permanent contracts) are protected to the expense of those outside (young people on temporary or fixed term contracts). Life is geared to the former, who find it easy to borrow money or get a mortgage, whereas the latter wait frustrated outside for their turn at life.
With such a pressing social problem, excluding the poor and marginalised from aspects of society, what did François Hollande promise to reform the Employment Code in 2012? Absolutely nothing. Therein lies the problem facing the French Government – how do you shake up one of the most ossified parts of French society without a mandate to do so? Continue reading