Public holidays to cost France €2 billion in 2013

Public holidays to cost France €2 billion in 2013
A beach in France where many workers head during the holiday-packed month of May. Photo: Eoghan O'Lionain
The healthy number of annual public holidays in France might mean good news for French workers but it is certainly not positive for the country’s economy, with a report claiming the days off will cost €2 billion euros this year alone.

Most French workers love the month of May, not just because summer is on the horizon, but because it's jam packed full of public holidays.

As well as the traditional Labour Day or May Day holiday on May 1st, Wednesday 8th, Thursday 9th are also public holidays in France. And with the 10th being a Friday most companies are giving their employees an extra day off this year.

May 20th is also a holiday meaning most people in France will have the pleasure of working only one five-day week in May.

But the national statistics agency INSEE has highlighted the downside of the number of public holidays France has throughout the year, which for most of the country stands at 11.

INSEE calculates that in 2013 public holidays will cost the country’s economy a whopping €2 billion, or in other words 0.1 percent of national GDP.

In 2013 most French people will work a total of 251 days, two less than last year, due to the fact that in 2012 some of the public holidays fell on a weekend.

Some bosses in France are not happy with the shortened working weeks caused by the holidays.

“People think more about their holidays than work,” Patrick Durussel, who owns a  company in the Oise region of northern France, told Europe1 radio.

“In May we have to push our deadlines back for the clients by one or two weeks, which means we have to charge less and so we lose money,” he said.

François Asselin is another French company boss who does not count May among his favourite months of the year.

“When you have two weeks in May when Wednesday is a public holiday your business basically grinds to a halt. It is certainly not good for the economy,” he told Europe1.

What do you think? Should we cut the number of public holidays to help boost the economy?

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