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Lesson Transcript

Sam: Hi, my name is Sam. Today I am joined here by...
Alex: Alex et Céline.
Céline: Merci Alex.
Sam: So welcome back, guys.
Céline: So welcome back to our new culture class number cinq, five.
Alex: Numéro 5, oh là là.
Céline: Oui Alex, numéro 5, comme Chanel numéro 5.
Sam: Umm are we going to talk about perfume?
Alex: No that was Céline’s thing. We are going to talk about French at work. The 35 hours, how hard French people work.
Sam: Ah that’s going to be interesting. Don’t forget to check out the PDF for this fantastic culture class.

Lesson focus

Alex: First of all, we have to mention that France has the 5th largest economy in the world.
Céline: Oh mon Dieu!
Alex: Umm…
Sam: But why do you mention that?
Alex: Okay, because you are going to find out that we French don’t work as hard as people in other countries especially you, my fellow American.
Sam: So for instance, if I want to work in France, what should I expect?
Céline: Well it depends on your job position of course but basically you will work 35 hours a week.
Sam: You don’t work more?
Céline: Wait, the 35 hours working week was a measure adopted in 2000. Its aim was to reduce unemployment and to enhance the life of the French.
Sam: Umm so how many hours did you work before that?
Alex: 40 hours plus overtime paid work but since 2000, some reforms have been made. For example, you can now work more than 35 hours with overtime paid or use your RTT which is “récupération du temps de travail”.
Sam: So RTT translates to recouped work time. Okay. So if you work more than 35 hours or you get paid or you have an extra number of days off over and above holidays. Oh gosh! How about holidays?
Céline: Well we have five weeks paid holidays a year. C’est la belle vie!
Sam: It’s the great life I bet.
Alex: Yeah but you know, 35 hours were very controversial in France and I don’t think the French really stand for this law.
Sam: Why is that?
Céline: Because it’s always a give and take. You lose some social advantages, pay more taxes and of course less income.
Sam: Oh they couldn’t have it all. So to resume?
Alex: To resume, long lunches, long breaks and French people, even if they have something important, they will always take their lunch break no matter what.
Sam: Why do French people have this reputation of not being so hard working?
Céline: Because we are like that Sam. Our priority is different, we like to enjoy ourselves and we talk a lot.
Alex: Hmm for nothing sometimes.
Céline: Yes that’s true. I had an experience in the big European company who I was working for and the British were always complaining about the French.
Alex: And you know, you are not supposed to call French companies five minutes before lunch time. In the best case, they won’t answer. In the worst case, they will let you know that this is not a proper time to call.
Sam: What about retirement?
Céline: The legal age is 60 years old but we have a pre-retirement in France.
Sam: What’s the age requirement for pre-retirement?
Alex: Well it’s 56 years old.
Sam: How about foreign companies? Foreigners work less, how about their work time? Is their job more demanding?
Céline: I don’t think so. Foreigners in France, they work like the French.
Sam: Ah so the long lunch breaks too.
Céline: Yes.
Sam: So guys, I’ve got two questions for you. First question is, what’s the legal working age in France?
Céline: 16 years old.
Sam: Ah 16 and the second question is, for example, if you work at a big company, does that have a – how should I ask this? If you work in a big company, is that more important than working at maybe a smaller company?
Céline: No we have many small companies in France. It’s the same but we don’t have this pressure like in other countries.
Sam: Ah like name value.
Céline: Yes.
Sam: Umm interesting. What was your first job?
Céline: I worked for a school.
Sam: Ah you were a teacher?
Céline: No I wasn’t a teacher. I was like helping the teachers.
Sam: You are kind of like a teacher’s aid.
Céline: Exactly.
Sam: And what about you Alex, tell us about your first job?
Alex: I was educator.
Sam: So you worked with special needs children?
Alex: Yes for about a year.
Sam: Fantastic. So you both were into education.
Alex: Hmm yes.
Céline: Yes.
Sam: Natural born teachers!
Alex: Even now.
Céline: And how about you Sam?
Sam: My first job? I worked for the recreation department and I did like baseball field maintenance and general landscaping beautification.
Céline: In French, we call it “paysagiste”.
Sam: Paysagiste. Feminine or masculine?
Céline: No gender.


Alex: Okay thank you. So until the next time!
Céline: Au revoir!
Alex: A la prochaine, au revoir!
Sam: Bye bye.