Sarah Meyssonnier via Reuters
POLICY – Still not. Emmanuel Macron repeated, in his mouth, a current statement in the political class: the French work less than their neighbors. He launched it this Tuesday, October 12, in front of 200 industrialists and students for the presentation of his “France 2030.” plan. Problem: it is false, or at least largely inaccurate, depending on the different figures that we choose to retain.
“When we compare ourselves, we are a country that works less than the others in quantity. It remains true. And so we have an amount of allocated work that is not at the right level, both in the life cycle and in cumulative schedules ”, he declared, before delivering a more polished version of his famous “crazy money”: “We must improve the efficiency of public spending. We have to make it possible to provide the same services with less money. ”
A comment on working time that the Head of State had already defended in 2019, in the same terms, collecting, yesterday, as today, criticism from left-wing oppositions.
“This untruth is indicative of the contempt of the President”
“False. The OECD tells us that France is one of the most productive countries, ”for example blasted the boss of environmentalists, Julien Bayou on his Twitter account, saying that“ if the initial assumption is false, the conclusion has all the chances of it being too. ” “This untruth is indicative of the contempt of the President of the Republic vis-à-vis the work of the French,” abounds his predecessor at the head of EELV, MEP David Cormand.
The OECD tells us that France is one of the most productive countries.
If the initial hypothesis is wrong, the conclusion is likely to be too. https://t.co/8kpm3fOGEu
— Julien Bayou (@julienbayou) October 12, 2021
And they are not the only ones, far from it, to annoy the words of the Head of State. The rebellious deputy Clémentine Autain, her colleague in the European Parliament Manon Aubry, the candidate, defeated, for the nomination of the Greens, Sandrine Rousseau, the parliamentarians François-Michel Lambert (L&T) or Adrien Quatennens (LFI) also reacted, always on social networks.
“False, false, and still false. The reality is that the French work more than the European average, and that they are more productive ”, estimated, for example, the elected representative of Seine-Saint-Denis, for whom“ this lie repeated over and over again field only serves to legitimize social breakage. ”
False, false, and again false. The reality is that the French work more than the European average, and that they are more productive. This lie repeated over and over again only serves to legitimize social damage. https://t.co/2CoSrYJ2GN
– Clementine Autain (@Clem_Autain) October 12, 2021
So what do the numbers really say? When we look at the weekly working time of active French people (full time and part time), undoubtedly one of the most telling indicators, the assertion of the President of the Republic does not hold true. According to a study by the Dares (the Directorate for the Animation of Research, Studies and Statistics) published in 2018, French workers are even in a good position in the European ranking.
French employees would work 36.3 hours per week, more than in Sweden, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands or even … in Germany. Across the Rhine, in a country often cited as a model by right-wing politicians, employees spend more than an hour less per week at work.
The French don’t have to be ashamed
Figures corroborated, on the whole, by a study by the Treasury Department in 2019, relayed by Le Figaro. In France, the weekly working time, all employees combined, stands at 36.1 hours in France, a level close to all European countries (36.3 hours) – and higher than in Germany.
Regarding annual working time, another interesting indicator, the French do not necessarily have to be ashamed, either. If the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) indeed ranks France in the second half of its ranking, with an average of 1,400 hours worked in 2020, it is still more than Austria, the Netherlands, Germany (1332) or Great Britain. But much less than the United States, Greece, Mexico … and the average for OECD countries (1687).
It seems, in reality, very difficult to compare nations among themselves on this subject. And this, due to more public holidays here and there, different rules (35 hours in France, which cause RTT) or practices (the massive use of part-time work in the Netherlands) specific to certain populations.
One thing is nevertheless certain: the evidence, presented as such by Emmanuel Macron, concerning French people who are less hard-working than others, is not.
Also on The HuffPost: Bruno Le Maire gives himself two years to achieve “full employment”