Time Use. Comparison Usa vs France

Topics: Working time, United States, Leisure Pages: 3 (925 words) Published: November 19, 2011
Prof: A. Reynolds
Student: Guadalupe Escobar Cello
Date: Oct. 27, 2011

Time is Time. Money is Money

The axiom “Time is Money” is never truer than when applied to the American society. Compared to other countries in Europe, an average blue collar worker has a much higher quality of life than his counterpart in the United States. This does not have to do only with the amount of money each earn or with how many leisure hours each enjoy, but with the way in which each approach this leisure time: The American feels that free time is a waste of time, because he is either spending money, or not making any. Robert Levine says: “In most of the United States, keeping busy is generally considered a good thing, while doing nothing signals waste and void. Inactivity is dead time. Even leisure time in the United States is planned and eventful” (Levine 41). Juliet Schor, a Harvard economist, states that the United States “is the world’s standout workaholic nation” and that U.S. workers are trapped in a “squirrel cage” of overwork. (Schor 3). Taking for instance France, from the point of view of the GPD of each country, the Americans seem to be richer, but there is one very important difference which is that the French work fewer hours than the Americans, and earn more money per hour. After the “35 hour law” established during the Jospin government at the end of the 90’s, France notoriously decreased the amount of working hours (and increased their GPD per capita). According to this new French Work Code, the maximum work day should consist of 8 hours a day, with a maximum weekly charge of 35 hours per week. Also, in France it is forbidden to work on Sundays, with the exception of certain sectors (hotels, food industry, touristic zones, etc.). The worker has a right to 2.5 days of paid vacations for every worked month, and in general, they take around 3-4 weeks of paid vacations during the months of July and August, plus one week at the end of the year....
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