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Covid-19, Workday Lunch and the French Labor Code

Abstract : In February 2021, the French government relaxed the Labor Code and authorized workday lunches in the office and on the shop floor to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in dedicated eating places (canteens, lunch rooms, refectories). The general reception of the measure was indifferent. Conservative media, however, welcomed the news as a long overdue step toward more individual liberty and a less rigid labor market. This opinion misconstrues the historical origins of the lunch-time regulation as well as the economic effects and cultural meaning of lunch breaks. First, public health inspired the original regulation in 1894. Second, its upshots have since sustained workday commensality and people’s wellbeing. Third, scientific studies show that lunch breaks increase productivity in the afternoon. Far from being a drag on the general economy or the individual firm, midday commensality on working days benefits both employees and employers. Proper meals on workdays are likely to survive the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 8, 2022 - 2:19:22 PM
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Martin Bruegel. Covid-19, Workday Lunch and the French Labor Code. Food and Foodways, Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles, 2021, 29 (3), pp.299-308. ⟨10.1080/07409710.2021.1943613⟩. ⟨hal-03333549⟩



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