Friday, September 29, 2006

Vacations in France

Vacation Time

Among my friends and especially my colleagues in the US who know more about the French vacation time, the French vacation time is a wonder to behold. Normally, five weeks of vacation is due to anyone in France. In my company in France, six weeks are given to each employee after the first year.

A French Work Week

Along with the normal six weeks of vacation, the French are required to work no more than 35 hours per week. The thought is that companies will have to hire more people to accomplish the necessary work if the workforce is limited.

The Results ?

Surprisingly, I find that, despite the fewer working hours in France, the same amount of work is accomplished on both sides of the ocean. That is, American and French colleagues work together, each accomplishing project goals on time. We have multi-country teleconferences and exchange e-mail on a daily basis.

A French Workday

It is quite interesting to observe the French arrive at the office. The French arrive at the office later than Americans, after 9:00am rather than at 8:00am or before. When the French arrive, there are many handshakes among the men and kisses with the women. Everyone takes coffee and chats about the news, weather, sports, etc., nothing too personal. And after, everyone returns to their office and works very hard. There are no social exchanges until lunch.

Lunch is a very social time and everyone enjoys talking with their colleagues. The day ends about 6:00pm instead of the American 4:30pm or 5:00pm. I believe the French work harder to get the same work completed. The Americans have the luxury of more hours to complete the work.

After lunch the day is very busy with calls to the US, e-mail and such. The French are always busy and often leave the office quite late with meetings and business with the Americans.

Vacation ?

As required by French law, one must take two consecutive weeks of vacation during the time of June 1st until October 31st.

Not having taken the normal August vacation, I must tell you dear readers, that I will take my two consecutive weeks as required by law, during the first two weeks of October. I leave for Andalusia, Spain (the South of Spain) on the TGV tomorrow, Saturday 30-September.

Be well and look for another entry when I return in two weeks with many stories to tell and photographs to share.

7 Comments:

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Hope you have a wonderful vacation! Love your tales of life in Paris.

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