Culture(s) / Work hours and holidays

A1 Breakthrough

In your country, how much time do you work per week? Are unemployed people eligible for unemployment benefits? What about those who are retired? Do salaried employees get paid leave?

The French get unemployment benefits and a pension at age 62, as long as certain conditions are met.
The French get 10 holidays and five weeks paid leave a year. The Swiss and the Belgians get 20 days of paid leave in addition to holidays. In Canada, most people employed for at least a year only get two weeks of paid leave.
Official holidays are legal days of leave: Nobody works on those days, except bakers and the essential staff in hospitals... A day of paid leave is a holiday paid for by an employer and it is proportionate to the number of days worked in a year.
In France, the summer school holidays last 2 months. Therefore, many families go on holiday in July or August, and the work rate for businesses often slows to a crawl in August.

The legal work week is set at 35 hours. The primary beneficiaries of this system are the personnel in administrative departments and in big businesses.
The 35 hours are not a maximum number of hours to work in a week, but rather a standard number to refer to when calculating overtime or part-time jobs.
The work week goes from Monday to Friday. Work hours generally range from 8:30-9:30am to 5:30-6:30pm. The legal time for a lunch break is 45 minutes, but often it will last one hour (in France).
When the 35h work week was instigated, some businesses established 8 hour work days in order to have Friday afternoon off. Executives generally have more flexible hours. Their arrival and departure times vary according to their work load, and their lunch breaks can last longer as well. It's not uncommon to see executives leaving work after 7:30pm, even 8pm.

According to check on 8/11/2010

Practical exercises

Culture(s): work hours and holiday time

4 exercises
Listen • Intercultural (work life)