France Adopts Social Reform (10-16-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 16, 1940)


Child Labor Banned, Jobs For Women Prohibited

Vichy, France, Oct. 16 (UP) –

France today projected a program of social legislation designed to eliminate unemployment, establish old age pensions, ban married women from jobs and prohibit employment of children under 16.

The program was incorporated in 15 laws drawn up by René Belin, Minister of Labor and adopted by the government. Belin said many of the reforms had been promised by the popular front government, but never achieved. But the program, he added, was not Nazi, Fascist, Socialist or Communist in aim.

The old age pension law promises 2,000 francs (about $75) a year to every Frenchman working on October 1, 1940, and who reaches the age of 60 within the next year. Such workers will be retired and receive the pension on condition they promise not to seek further employment.

The female labor law called for the immediate dismissal of all women not dependent on their earnings and who do not have children. Women working as state employees in any government bureaus who have passed the age of 50 will be retired with a four-year salary bonus. Married women with three or more children are exempt from dismissal from any job.

The adoption of the program bled to the belief that Vice Premier Pierre Laval was reaching the successful end of discussions with German authorities for the release of more than one million French soldiers from concentration camps.