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'Let people give holidays to workmates': MP

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11:20 CEST+02:00

New rules could make it possible for people to help out colleagues who are caring for sick children by offering them holiday they earn for working overtime.

A member of parliament with Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, Paul Salen, has put forward proposals for a law that would make transfer of holiday permissible in certain cases.

The MP, who represents a constituency in the south-east Loire area, told business daily Les Echos that the idea came to him after he witnessed what happened to a worker at Badoit, the water company, which is in his constituency.

"One of the employees had an 11-year-old son who was diagnosed with a serious cancer," he said. "His doctor signed him off work for two weeks so that he could be at his son's side but as he wasn't ill himself he then had to go back to work."

Sympathetic colleagues rallied round and contributed 170 days from their own holiday entitlement so that he could be with his child until he died.

French workers are entitled to days off in compensation for overtime, known as RTT (réduction du temps de travail).

Overtime is quickly accrued in France, particularly after a law was passed in 2000 limiting the working week to 35 hours. Since then, changes to the law have made the working week longer for many, but RTT is still something most French workers are eligible for.

Some companies have made their own arrangements to allow RTT to be donated, but Salen is keen to put in place a proper legal framework. 

His proposed bill would mean that any employee can donate days to a colleague "who is looking after a child under 20 who has an illness, a disability or is the victim of a serious accident."

He has the support of 136 other MPs, including the UMP general secretary, Jean-François Copé.

Salen put forward his proposals in mid-July and hopes to have them on the statute books before the next presidential elections in April 2012.


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