The headquarters of French Red Cross in Paris. Photo: AFP
France is famed for its 35-hour working week – and it appears the Red Cross wasn't aware of it.
A 200-plus page report by the French Labour Inspectorate said the organization has committed over 3,800 violations of working-hour regulations with almost 500 employees.
Most of these violations come from staff members working over the legal limit of ten hours a day, while a large proportion of them come from staff working more than the maximum legal limit of 48 hours a week.
One union spokesperson said workers could be on the job from 7am to 8pm on any given day.
The Red Cross is now looking at a fine of €750 for each infraction, which will take its total bill to €2.8 million.
But once it factors in all the overtime pay and compensation for damages, the organization will be looking at a bill closer to €11 million, reported French newspaper Le Parisien.
Red Cross explained their lack of adherence to the rules as part of the package when it came to emergency work.
“In emergency and first-aid operations and in responding to disasters in France and internationally, our missions demand a high degree of mobilisation and availability of our employees and charity workers, regardless of the time of day or night… unfortunately emergencies give no warning,” the charity said on Sunday.
The potential fines could prove extremely damaging to the Red Cross, which posted a loss of €5 million last year.