World Economy

Macron Makes It Easier to Hire, Fire

Macron Makes It Easier to Hire, FireMacron Makes It Easier to Hire, Fire

Bosses in France will find it easier to hire and fire staff under new reforms aimed at overhauling the country’s notoriously stringent labor market.

The French government laid out 36 new measures on Thursday as part of President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to encourage employment and business freedoms. These include greater autonomy at the  workplace level, rather than industry level, CNBC reported.

The changes will be especially significant for small and medium-sized businesses, which employ over half of the French workforce.

Under the new rules, companies with fewer than 50 employees will be able to set up workers’ committees which can bypass unions. This means that if a business can agree terms with the majority of its employees, for instance on working hours and pay, that deal can trump wider industry guidelines.

The rules will also place a cap on damages payable to staff for unfair dismissal. This is one of the more controversial measures, but the government insists that having transparency will make employers less reluctant to recruit.

Employees will now have one year to challenge a dismissal in courts, rather than the previous two years. Meanwhile, damage payments will now be capped at three months’ pay for two years of work and 20 months’ pay for 30 years.

The plans have attracted criticism, with demonstrations scheduled for next month, but the country’s two biggest unions have said they will not take part.

Their unveiling marks a moment of truth for Macron, who has vowed to slash France’s stubbornly high unemployment rate from 9.5% to 7% by 2022.

The government plans to pass the laws by decree next month, having already won parliamentary backing.

Analysts say that the plans will make it easier for Macron to push ahead with the rest of his major reform agenda, which spans domestic policy as well as increased EU integration.

“The proposals will allow Macron to prove his reformist credentials and give him strong momentum to pursue further policy changes at home and abroad,” Teneo Intelligence said in a press note.

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