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France Set to Trial Four-Day Week for Divorced Parents

Divorced parents who have shared custody of their children will soon be eligible to work a four-day week in France under a new trial scheme

From September, in some areas, civil servants who look after their children on alternating residence arrangements will have an extra day off if their child is staying with them, said Gabriel Attal, the prime minister.

Parents are expected to allocate Wednesdays as their day off because primary and most middle schools do not have classes that afternoon.

Attal, 35, had previously tested the four-day system two years ago when he was budget minister.

Staff had no reduction in working hours, resulting in slightly longer days in the office.

It remains undecided whether total working hours will be reduced for single-working parents or whether workers will make up the difference in the weeks when the child is not staying with them – to put them in the same monthly average as the standard French 35-hour workweek.

The government is urging unions and employers to negotiate the planned arrangements.

Following 20 years of campaigns to encourage shared custody of children and reduce the number of single-parent families in France, nearly half a million in the country shuttle, usually weekly, between two homes.

A bill before parliament now aims to change the law to make alternating shared custody the norm for courts dealing with divorce.

The French population are fans of the four-day working week – even if it means working longer hours while in the office.

In a poll carried out last month, 77 per cent of working individuals said they supported the idea.

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