France passes measures to reform labour law

Current complex procedures are 'disincentive' to hiring
||Last Updated: 02/18/2015

PARIS (Reuters) — France's lower house of parliament adopted measures to reform labour courts and speed up dismissal procedures, as the government made progress on the most sensitive parts of its pro-growth bill to lift the stagnating economy.

French MPs on Sunday passed measures to reform industrial tribunals to simplify the complex procedures which currently lead to lengthy delays in resolving labour disputes, typically surrounding the dismissal of employees.

Employers cite the current complexity as a disincentive for hiring in the first place.

The law notably abolishes prison sentences — up to one year — for employers who "obstruct" the work of trade unions, for instance by not informing them of job cuts or merger and acquisition deals before making public announcements.

"This penalty was useless and not applied and was sending a negative signal to investors in France," said Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, who has steered the bill in parliament.

The new measures come a day after French MPs approved regulation to let shops open more often on Sundays.

Government officials hope the so called "Macron law" will unleash new sources of growth, but are not putting a precise figure on its impact. Nonetheless, they hope it will convince EU partners that France is serious about overhauling its economy.

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