The newly restored cosmetics store Marionnaud on Champs-Elysées will open until midnight. This case revives the controversy on night work in France. Indeed, Marionnaud’s main competitor Sephora, situated on the same sidewalk, has recently been forced to close its doors at 9 pm.
According to the French legislation concerning night work, it’s prohibited to work until midnight. An exemption is possible but it requires a unanimous agreement of the employees. The Marionnaud company has made concessions to obtain this agreement, like the payment of overtime.
Moreover, for the exemption it’s necessary to justify the use of night work by “the need to ensure continuity of economic activity or social utility”. It’s the case of Marionnaud: “We make more than 20% of our turnover after 10pm. And three-quarters of the customers are tourists. If we want to continue to bring tourists to Paris, we have to open. We hired 40 more employees for our store on Champs-Elysées.”
The French unions disagree. The main trade union CGT is the most opposed and threatens with a lawsuit if employees work after 9 pm.
Hervine Mahaud, IEJ 3G2