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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: http://www.humanite.fr/2009-05-30_P...

by Paule Masson

An unpaid day of work

Translated Tuesday 9 June 2009, by Karen Grimwade

Whit Monday is once again a national holiday but employees continue to “donate” a day’s salary.

Whit Monday is once again a national holiday but employees continue to “donate” day’s salary.

Due to public discontent, Whit Monday was reinstated as a national holiday last year. Yet employees continue to “donate” a day’s work, supposedly to finance better care for the elderly. The “solidarity contribution for autonomy”, set up by the Raffarin government after the 2003 heat wave which led to the death of 15,000 people, requires companies to pay 0.3% of their annual salary bill. Capital and real estate revenues are also taxed at the same amount. However, although all employers are required to make this contribution, they are more than reimbursed by the increase in working hours. Shortly after the new measure was implemented, the union of the “Pages jaunes” (French Yellow Pages), the CFTC, calculated that just 3.5 hours would be sufficient for a full reimbursement. Donating seven hours, the maximum allowed by the law, allows the company to make a profit from what is supposed to be a “day of solidarity”. This is most likely true of many companies.

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