The changes that affect life in France from December 2016

The changes that affect life in France from December 2016
Photo: AFP
As always in France the start of a new month brings with it some small but potentially significant changes for life in France.
The price of gas rises 
This only concerns those who are signed up to provider Engie (formerly GDF). After a rise in November of 1.6 percent, the price will shoot up a further 2.6 percent this month. 
This includes a 0.9 percent increase for those who use gas cookers, 1.6 percent for those who use it for cooking and hot water, and 2.6 percent for those who use gas for heating. 
More generous compensation plan for delayed TGV trains
Rail operator SNCF is updating its compensation plan, offering more generous payouts to passengers on all TGV and Intercité trains affected by delays of 30 mins or more. 
From December 1st, “the traveler will be guaranteed to be reimbursed if there is a delay of more than 30 minutes and whatever the reason for the delay”, Rachel Picard, director of Voyages SNCF told AFP.
Passengers will be eligible for a 25 percent refund if the train is delayed between 30 mins and 2 hours, a fifty percent refund if the delay is between two and three hours, or a 75 percent refund thereafter. 
French TGV passengers to be given refunds for ALL delays
Easier for companies to lay staff off
A controversial part of this summer's labour laws comes into force in December, making it easier to fire workers ifthey run into financial difficulties.
A company now has two extra reasons why it can legally lay off staff on “economic grounds” (licenciement économique): The need to reorganise a company to maintain its competitiveness and if a company terminates its activity.
Plus the guidelines for when companies can lay off staff due to a drop in orders or turnover have been set in stone.
So when can a company fire a worker due to financial difficulties?
If a company has a work force of fewer than 11 employees, it can get shed staff if it sees a decrease in “significant orders or turnover” over one quarter compared to the same period the previous year.
For companies with between 12 and 50 employees, they can lay off workers after decreases in two consecutive quarters, compared to the previous year.
Companies with 50 to 300 workers need to have suffered decreases in three consecutive quarters, while companies with over 300 employees need four consecutive quarters of decreases.
New posters for shops to prevent youth drinking
Shopkeepers will have a new set of anti-drinking posters that they'll have to put up from this month as part of the health ministry's crackdown on underage drinking. 
The posters, an example of which is shown below, will have to be put up at any place that sells alcohol, including online shops.
A study last year found that 12 percent of 17-year-olds drink alcohol more than ten times a month. 
Tougher to retrieve vehicles if they are impounded
If your car, motorbike, or scooter has been impounded for whatever reason, you'll need a drivers licence and proof of insurance to be able to retrieve it. 
“Failure to submit these documents will result in a decision to keep the vehicle impounded,” the new law states. 
The move is part of a push to fight “dangerous behaviour” on the roads and to better detect people driving without insurance or a license.  
What changes for daily life in France from November

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