French Senate to vote on significant labor reform that govt hopes will help cut unemployment

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France's parliament is expected to pass a package of significant labor reforms the government hopes will help stop rising unemployment and jumpstart the country's stagnant economy.

President Francois Hollande, whose popularity is plunging, has painted the labor bill as a signature achievement that will transform the country's notoriously hidebound labor market — and without the massive protests that typically accompany such reforms.

The bill will make it easier for companies to fire employees or reduce salaries during economic crises in exchange for new worker benefits.

Economists say it is a good first step — but that much more remains to be done.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on a final version of the law later Tuesday. The National Assembly has already approved it.