France is experiencing a “laziness epidemic”, with workers less motivated in their jobs compared to before the pandemic, a study has found.
A report from the French Institute of Public Opinion, released on Tuesday, reinforced the stereotype of work-shy Gallicians. The study showed that 37 per cent of the working population feel uninspired or apathetic towards their employment compared to before Covid-19.
Theories as to why some workers are reluctant to perform their jobs could be that France had a higher than average number of employees take up furlough offers. Around 11 million French people were on furlough at some point – a similar number to those who were on the generous scheme in the UK.
The findings are further proof of a growing disinterest in labour among the French workforce, with just 31 per cent now saying their work is “very important” compared to 60 per cent in 1990. Meanwhile, 41 per cent of French workers now see leisure time as “very important”.
The report said that working from home brought on “exhaustion and [a] laziness epidemic when a part of the French want[ed] to slow down”.
It added that this unwillingness to work has seen staff shortages in areas such as hospitality, teaching and nursing.
Thoughts on work attitudes have become a political football between French MPs.
Greens party member Sandrine Rosseau said: “We have the right to idleness. We have the right to change professions, we also have the right to take breaks in our life and, above all, we need to regain time, a sense of sharing and a four-day week.”
But her thoughts put her on a collision course with Communist Party leader Fabien Roussel, who shot back: “The left must defend work and not be the left of handouts and social welfare.”