EDWISE  - EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT
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Eye of the Optimist -the four-day work week

According to my spring semester teaching schedule, which started in March and goes to the end of June, I work a four-day week with Fridays off. That is because our coordinators who set the schedules have been kind and considerate to me in recent time. Although it is necessary to work a bit on Fridays, I do not generally have to. For that reason, Fridays are relaxing for me.

With a four-day work week, my salary remains intact. I still get overtime for working more than the base hours of my contract. 

For a long time, I never had Fridays or a Monday off. I thought I did not mind because I have rarely had big weekend plans to go out of the city or something. Since I have had Fridays off, say for the past three semesters, I feel I have benefited. Fridays have an easy mood to me. Sure, I have errands to do, but I can do them at my own pace and as I please. For instance, I can work in a trip to the public bath house or a non-food shopping browse when I have to pick up groceries or drop by the post-office or bank. 

Yes, having a four-day work week means working at least a couple of longer days during my work week. In fact, I have evening classes on Mondays and Wednesdays (again). On those days when I teach in the evening, my day of work might last 10 hours as of the time I arrive to prepare for my first class, to the end of the last class. Still, there are spare periods during those days, so they are not overly taxing. There is no time for personal errands, et cetera off campus, however.

I heard the news that the French government is enacting regressive labor legislation to increase the work week in French society from 48 hours to 60 a week, and to institute 12-hour work days. And the ruling party calls itself socialist! Hah. Those changes make for a grueling work week for the employees while it helps company owners or shareholders rake in profits. That is why those changes are being re-introduced, to create more ways to depress wages and control workers while maintaining or raising profitability. President Hollande and company seem to have forgotten the days of revolution. Of course, I would need more details to fully assess the new French law. I do not know how extensive part-time labor has grown in France, though I imagine it would be the same as what it is in most places. I don't know either whether the intention is to counter inflation while salaries or wages remain in decline, as is the world trend, and permit workers to get more hours of work if they choose. It could be employers can force them to work. So far, I have a bad impression about it. Okay, it is true that, on the whole, French workers have a slack attitude and do minimum during working hours out of an attitude of resistance. All the same, it sounds like backward and harmful legislation to me.

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