Thursday, January 19, 2012

2M Vacation Hours-Another Reason European Economies Are Unsustainable.

As you might be aware, one of the ways that the French decided to deal with unemployment, and maintain a certain je ne sais quoi type of lifestyle, was to limit their work week to 35 hours. This was a universal limitation, but it was also written with a number of loopholes so that business can actually keep functioning. But for employees covered by the limitation, there are all kinds of disincentives that kick in for the company if the employees end up working more than a 35 hour week. One of those disincentives is that the employees receive paid time off if they work longer hours. So for every hour over 35 employees work in a week, they get at least an hour of paid time off.

Now, here in the colonies, we can fire people if, after we tell them not to, they work sufficiently long hours that they trigger overtime obligations.  We would not have a problem with people voluntarily working more than 35 hours to get the increased vacation benefit.  Not so the French. How bad can it get? Well, at one French hospital alone, the employees have accumulated more than 2 million hours in paid vacation time.  That's in addition to the annual five weeks off that they all receive as a matter of course.

That's a lot of paid vacation. In fact, it's 5475 years of vacation time. The hospital has approximately 450 people working for it, according to its website. So each one of them, on average, is entitled to somewhat more than 10 years of paid vacation. Let's hope the hospital staff doesn't decide to take it all at once.  Although that would be an appropriate and fitting penalty for the promoters of this legislation demonstrating such total ignorance of human nature.

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