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French Court Says Apple Store Staff Can't Work Late Nights

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 41 comments

Paris court says Apple can't make workers stay late to clean the store.

French Apple store employees will no longer be allowed to work late after a Paris court this week banned Apple stores from dishing out night shifts. The AFP reports that French labor laws dictate that workers can only work between 9pm and 6am if they are responsible for maintaining economic activity or providing social services. Apparently, staying late at the Apple Store to tidy up after closing (which sometimes keeps staff in until 11pm) doesn't fall under those terms, and workers unions filed a lawsuit against the Cupertino-based company.

According to the AFP, French courts this week awarded the labor unions €10,000 in damages and warned Apple that any additional infractions could cost the Cupertino-based company €50,000 a pop. Yowza. The ban on nightshifts covers seven French Apple stores, though there are 15 in total in France. The affected stores are include those of the Opéra in Paris Velizy 2 (Velizy-Villacoublay, Yvelines), Parly 2 (The Chesnay, Yvelines), Carré Sénart (Lieusaint, Seine-et-Marne), Val d'Europe (Marne-la-Vallee, Seine-et-Marne), Cape Town 3000 (Nice, Alpes-Maritimes) and Atlantis (Saint Herblain, Loire-Atlantique).

Another ruling on the same issue is expected on April 16.

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    tramit , March 13, 2013 12:46 PM
    If you are still getting paid to work those clean up shifts, I don't see a problem. I would like to work more for a little more cash if I needed to.
  • 18 Hide
    Onus , March 13, 2013 12:43 PM
    Are there any people still wondering why the French economy is having problems?
  • 13 Hide
    Irrenhaus , March 13, 2013 1:54 PM
    France work laws:

    Working time
    In France, the legal length of the working week is 35 hours in all types of companies. The working day may not exceed 10 hours. Furthermore, employees may not work for more than 4.5 hours without a break. The maximum working day may be extended to 12 hours under a collective agreement.

    In principle, no more than 48 hours a week may be worked, 44 hours per week on average over a period of 12 consecutive weeks (up to a maximum of 46 hours, under conditions).

    Breaks, lasting a minimum of 20 minutes, must be granted to the employees at least every 6 hours. All workers must be allowed a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours (9 hours in certain cases depending on collective agreements).

    The minimum weekly rest period is 35 consecutive hours (11 hours plus a 24 consecutive hour rest period per week). There are waivers for some activities (machine operators, seasonal workers). Sundays are, in general, considered rest days.

    Overtime
    Overtime must be paid for as follows:
    - 25 percent an hour for each of the first eight hours of overtime (from the 36th to the 43rd hour inclusive)
    - 50 percent for each hour after that

    It should be noted that many exceptions are allowed, especially under collective agreements. Some managerial staff classified as “autonome” work more than 35 hours a week, but are given additional holiday days.

    Night work
    Night work is performed between 21.00 and 06.00 may not in principle exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week (44 hours if governed by decree or collective agreement). Night work is compensated for with weekly rest days or extra pay.

    Pregnant women working nights must be given daytime work throughout their pregnancy and during the legal postnatal leave period if they so request.

    Young people
    The maximum working day for under-18s and apprentices is 8 hours (7 hours a day for under-16s working during school holidays). For under-18s and apprentices, the absolute maximum length of the working week is 35 hours.

    Leave
    Annual paid leave
    All workers have a right to paid leave once they have worked at least one month during the reference period (which runs from 1 June of the previous year to 31 May of the current year).

    Workers are then entitled to two-and-a half working days’ leave for each month worked, i.e. five weeks of paid leave per year worked.

    In principle, only periods actually worked are taken into account when determining the entitlement to paid leave. Periods of absence from work are not counted. However, certain periods are considered as valid periods of employment, such as annual leave the previous year, maternity leave, training leave, or time off sick if the collective agreement covers this.

    Paid leave dates are decided by mutual agreement between the employer and the employee, or, failing that, by the employer.

    Sick leave
    To be able to benefit from daily allowances, contributions have to have been paid for 200 hours during the 3 months prior to stopping work. On presentation of form E104, the periods for which contributions have been paid in another European country are taken into account.

    Maternity leave
    Maternity leave is 16 weeks per child (6 weeks before and 10 weeks after the birth).

    Paternity leave
    Paternity leave is 11 consecutive calendar days in the case of a single birth and 18 days in the case of multiple births, as from the birth of the child. This leave cannot be split up. It can be taken together with the 3 day leave granted on the birth of a child.

    Parental child-rearing leave: following maternity leave, in order to look after the child, either parent who is an employee may ask to benefit from this. Maximum of three years.

    Parental presence leave (to look after a child who is disabled, has suffered an accident or is seriously ill).

    Individual training leave (CIF): this cannot exceed one year. Partial maintenance of the salary is guaranteed.

    Sabbatical leave: between six and 11 months.

    Eligibility for some of these types of leave may be conditional upon seniority in the company, or minimum contributions paid to the public social security scheme.

    wuff that was long.......:')
Other Comments
    Display all 41 comments.
  • 18 Hide
    Onus , March 13, 2013 12:43 PM
    Are there any people still wondering why the French economy is having problems?
  • 23 Hide
    tramit , March 13, 2013 12:46 PM
    If you are still getting paid to work those clean up shifts, I don't see a problem. I would like to work more for a little more cash if I needed to.
  • 12 Hide
    DEY123 , March 13, 2013 12:49 PM
    Apple just needs to adopt to the local rules....I'm guessing the stores don't open at 6am so they can have a shift come in early and clean.

    Also this is probably the typical case of them being scheduled to work until the store closes..but then the boss asks you stay late to clean up. When i worked as a waiter I would have to clean up after my shift but that time (close to an hour) was paid at the waiter hourly wage instead of normal minimum.
  • 0 Hide
    Fulgurant , March 13, 2013 12:54 PM
    tramitIf you are still getting paid to work those clean up shifts, I don't see a problem. I would like to work more for a little more cash if I needed to.


    Yup. That's the problem with France's law. In the aggregate, preventing businesses from forcing employees to work long (or as in this case, late) hours might be a good thing, but that generalization ignores the individual's preferences.

    You could interpret the unions' complaint as, "Bad Apple, abusing your workers!" Or you could interpret the unions' complaint as, "If we can't work, and get paid for, longer hours, then by god Apple's employees can't do it either!" Whether the complaint is malevolent or benevolent is in the eye of the beholder.

    In any case, the unions have effectively discouraged Apple from hiring more people, if that option was ever on the table.
  • 11 Hide
    twelch82 , March 13, 2013 12:56 PM
    OnusAre there any people still wondering why the French economy is having problems?


    When I read about their laws, I'm actually surprised they are able to have an economy at all.
  • 0 Hide
    Fulgurant , March 13, 2013 12:57 PM
    DEY123Apple just needs to adopt to the local rules....I'm guessing the stores don't open at 6am so they can have a shift come in early and clean.Also this is probably the typical case of them being scheduled to work until the store closes..but then the boss asks you stay late to clean up. When i worked as a waiter I would have to clean up after my shift but that time (close to an hour) was paid at the waiter hourly wage instead of normal minimum.

    Yeah, that's one of the nasty problems in tip-reliant positions. On the other hand, waiters at successful restaurants tend to make much more money, overall, than the high-hourly-waged workers who might otherwise be tasked with cleaning the front of the house (dishwashers).

    Anyway, there's no profit in opening the Apple store early (say, before 10am), and cleanup doesn't take a standardized amount of time, so any way you slice it, the French court's decision limits the hours Apple's employees can realistically get paid to work.
  • -6 Hide
    tntom , March 13, 2013 1:05 PM
    Quote:
    The AFP reports that French labor laws dictate that workers can only work between 9pm and 6am if they are responsible for maintaining economic activity or providing social services.


    I am a little confused? Is this maybe "cannot work"? Spell check fail maybe? or should it say "can only work between 6am and 9pm"?
  • 6 Hide
    Fulgurant , March 13, 2013 1:10 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    The AFP reports that French labor laws dictate that workers can only work between 9pm and 6am if they are responsible for maintaining economic activity or providing social services.


    I am a little confused? Is this maybe "cannot work"? Spell check fail maybe? or should it say "can only work between 6am and 9pm"?


    They can only work between those hours"if they are responsible for maintaining economic activity or providing social services." The phrasing of that last clause might be a little awkward; "maintaining economic activity," in this context, means that you might be in charge of keeping a bank's servers running. That little contextual wrinkle might not be immediately clear from the text, but there's no grammatical failure.

    The point is that France doesn't allow people to work late if they're not performing a job that is essential to society.
  • 1 Hide
    childofthekorn , March 13, 2013 1:26 PM
    FulgurantThey can only work between those hours"if they are responsible for maintaining economic activity or providing social services." The phrasing of that last clause might be a little awkward; "maintaining economic activity," in this context, means that you might be in charge of keeping a bank's servers running. That little contextual wrinkle might not be immediately clear from the text, but there's no grammatical failure.The point is that France doesn't allow people to work late if they're not performing a job that is essential to society.


    If the store was open to customers than I believe it would be okay. However the fact that the store has closed and there are no more customers would mean that they're being kept overtime. Now if they were to be subjected to penalties for not staying O.T. past their scheduled times in order to cleanup, then I can see where the issues originated. However the reasons are not entirely visible.
  • 7 Hide
    condorxiii , March 13, 2013 1:30 PM
    AHHHH! What to bash first? The fact Apple came up AGAIN or the French!?
  • 4 Hide
    Fulgurant , March 13, 2013 1:36 PM
    Quote:
    If the store was open to customers than I believe it would be okay. However the fact that the store has closed and there are no more customers would mean that they're being kept overtime. Now if they were to be subjected to penalties for not staying O.T. past their scheduled times in order to cleanup, then I can see where the issues originated. However the reasons are not entirely visible.


    No, time spent working after the store closes to the public isn't necessarily overtime. Do you believe that interacting with customers is the only legitimate work to do in a store?

    The store's hours, in this case, are completely irrelevant. The French court's objection rests on the time of day. Presumably, Apple could close the store at 5pm and keep their employees another 4 hours; as long as the employees don't stay past 9 pm, the court doesn't care.
  • 7 Hide
    funguseater , March 13, 2013 1:37 PM
    No one is FORCING people to work at night. I have chosen to work night shifts my whole life, you usually get paid more and it is usually easier to find a good job, what is the problem here?
  • 1 Hide
    funguseater , March 13, 2013 1:40 PM
    The article in no way mentions making people work MORE than their allotted hours it refers to people working at night, not overtime pay.
  • -4 Hide
    freggo , March 13, 2013 1:44 PM
    funguseaterNo one is FORCING people to work at night...


    Seriously? Any business has ways of forcing employees do things they -given the option- would not do.

  • 13 Hide
    Irrenhaus , March 13, 2013 1:54 PM
    France work laws:

    Working time
    In France, the legal length of the working week is 35 hours in all types of companies. The working day may not exceed 10 hours. Furthermore, employees may not work for more than 4.5 hours without a break. The maximum working day may be extended to 12 hours under a collective agreement.

    In principle, no more than 48 hours a week may be worked, 44 hours per week on average over a period of 12 consecutive weeks (up to a maximum of 46 hours, under conditions).

    Breaks, lasting a minimum of 20 minutes, must be granted to the employees at least every 6 hours. All workers must be allowed a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours (9 hours in certain cases depending on collective agreements).

    The minimum weekly rest period is 35 consecutive hours (11 hours plus a 24 consecutive hour rest period per week). There are waivers for some activities (machine operators, seasonal workers). Sundays are, in general, considered rest days.

    Overtime
    Overtime must be paid for as follows:
    - 25 percent an hour for each of the first eight hours of overtime (from the 36th to the 43rd hour inclusive)
    - 50 percent for each hour after that

    It should be noted that many exceptions are allowed, especially under collective agreements. Some managerial staff classified as “autonome” work more than 35 hours a week, but are given additional holiday days.

    Night work
    Night work is performed between 21.00 and 06.00 may not in principle exceed 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week (44 hours if governed by decree or collective agreement). Night work is compensated for with weekly rest days or extra pay.

    Pregnant women working nights must be given daytime work throughout their pregnancy and during the legal postnatal leave period if they so request.

    Young people
    The maximum working day for under-18s and apprentices is 8 hours (7 hours a day for under-16s working during school holidays). For under-18s and apprentices, the absolute maximum length of the working week is 35 hours.

    Leave
    Annual paid leave
    All workers have a right to paid leave once they have worked at least one month during the reference period (which runs from 1 June of the previous year to 31 May of the current year).

    Workers are then entitled to two-and-a half working days’ leave for each month worked, i.e. five weeks of paid leave per year worked.

    In principle, only periods actually worked are taken into account when determining the entitlement to paid leave. Periods of absence from work are not counted. However, certain periods are considered as valid periods of employment, such as annual leave the previous year, maternity leave, training leave, or time off sick if the collective agreement covers this.

    Paid leave dates are decided by mutual agreement between the employer and the employee, or, failing that, by the employer.

    Sick leave
    To be able to benefit from daily allowances, contributions have to have been paid for 200 hours during the 3 months prior to stopping work. On presentation of form E104, the periods for which contributions have been paid in another European country are taken into account.

    Maternity leave
    Maternity leave is 16 weeks per child (6 weeks before and 10 weeks after the birth).

    Paternity leave
    Paternity leave is 11 consecutive calendar days in the case of a single birth and 18 days in the case of multiple births, as from the birth of the child. This leave cannot be split up. It can be taken together with the 3 day leave granted on the birth of a child.

    Parental child-rearing leave: following maternity leave, in order to look after the child, either parent who is an employee may ask to benefit from this. Maximum of three years.

    Parental presence leave (to look after a child who is disabled, has suffered an accident or is seriously ill).

    Individual training leave (CIF): this cannot exceed one year. Partial maintenance of the salary is guaranteed.

    Sabbatical leave: between six and 11 months.

    Eligibility for some of these types of leave may be conditional upon seniority in the company, or minimum contributions paid to the public social security scheme.

    wuff that was long.......:')
  • 0 Hide
    Fulgurant , March 13, 2013 2:05 PM
    freggoSeriously? Any business has ways of forcing employees do things they -given the option- would not do.

    Yes, but working past 9pm isn't "an option," as you put it. It's explicitly disallowed. Employees can't work past 9pm even if they want to.

    That arbitrary line in the sand doesn't address employer abuses any better than generic workers' rights laws do in other countries. Some politician in France just up and decided that it's unpleasant to work late at night, and poof -- no one's allowed to make money at those hours, anymore.

    There is, in short, a vast gulf between your assertion that employers sometimes force employees to do unpleasant things, and the assumption that working (for appropriate pay) past 9pm is necessarily an unpleasant thing. France already has (or had, last I checked) a state-mandated 35-hour work week, so it's not as if Apple was legally forcing its employees to work an unreasonable amount.
  • 0 Hide
    sykozis , March 13, 2013 2:24 PM
    We have a problem with France's labor laws now? The law says (thanks Irrenhaus for that lengthy post btw) that employees can not work between 9pm and 6am unless they're responsible for maintaining economic activities (managing bank transfers, financial ledgers, sales tracking, etc) or they're providing social services (tech support, customer assistance, counseling, etc). Nowhere does that include cleaning up a store as that is neither considered "maintaining economic activities" nor "providing social services". I don't see where exactly the issue is with such laws.... Most states in the US have such screwed up labor laws that an employee can be fired for no reason at all. "Right to work" states are the worst. Most laws are intended to protect the company from the employee and the few laws intended to protect the employee....have loopholes intentionally built in to protect the employer from the employee, thus invalidating the laws anyway. At least France appears to actually care about it's citizens...unlike the US....
  • -3 Hide
    tokencode , March 13, 2013 2:37 PM
    Don't work so hard, you're making the French look bad!
  • 0 Hide
    MisterZ , March 13, 2013 2:45 PM
    Here in Australia almost all stores close at 6pm except on a Thursday or Friday evening (exceptions include 'essential' services like supermarkets and pharmacies). It's much more archaic than France.
  • 5 Hide
    twelve25 , March 13, 2013 2:57 PM
    The only reason companies make more money by staying open late is because other stores are also open. If no stores are open late, then there is no loss of business, because they can't take it elsewhere. They will just be back during business hours.
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