Thursday, April 06, 2006

Would you want to do business in France?

The new law, which would allow employers to fire people under age 26 during a trial period without cause, was intended to encourage companies to hire young people. It has tipped the country into a political crisis instead, battering the career of its sponsor, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

Mr. Chirac ratified the law but asked Parliament, rather than his administration, to draft a new law amending the first. That gives Parliament the power to modify the law, according to Mr. Chirac's wishes, or to go further, by revising it in a way that would effectively kill it. Few expect the law to emerge as anything close to what Mr. de Villepin intended.

The main opposition Socialist Party introduced a bill on Wednesday in Parliament to repeal the law and called for it to be passed before the Easter holiday.

My econ professor was ruminating on the strangeness of French labor law recently and reminded us that in the US anyone can be fired at any time for no reason, which is why people get hired. If they don't work out, you can just fire them. Seems pretty simple to me . . .

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