Social Integration Through Transitional Labour Markets
- Labour Markets and Employment Policy series
Edited by Jacqueline O’Reilly, Inmaculada Cebrián and Michel Lallement
Chapter 8: Time, lifestyles and transitions in France and Sweden
Dominique Anxo, Jean-Yves Boulin, Michel Lallement, Gilbert Lefevre and Rachel Silvera The amount of time spent at work, which is a key factor in the evolution of lifestyles, has been on a downward trend for over 150 years in many industrialized countries. This long-term decrease is only apparently linear: over and above the general trend not only have economic and social factors varied over time, but major concerns have also not necessarily been the same from one country to another. From this viewpoint, current debate in France about work-sharing and the change to a 35-hour week reﬂect a very speciﬁc history and speciﬁc practices. These particular characteristics are highlighted when France is compared with Sweden. As Anxo and O’Reilly point out in Chapter 3 of this volume, these two countries have experienced very different developments in the evolution of changes with respect to working time. While successive French governments have introduced a wide range of legislative and regulatory measures in this area, such intervention has been limited in Sweden, except in the area of individual rights to various forms of leave. Furthermore, and despite the employment crisis, the reduction of working time is far from being a signiﬁcant issue of public debate in Sweden.1 In France, however, the debate about working time has been closely associated with the goal of reducing unemployment. The 1990s have seen a trend in both countries towards decentralization of negotiations on working hours as well as the introduction of innovative experiments...
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