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French clash on avoiding future eldercare tragedy.

A French bank holiday may disappear to pay for more eldercare as part of the fallout from the thousands of deaths of elderly citizens during last summer's European heat wave. As of late fall, it was reported that the French government may give up the Monday after Pentecost as one of France's 11 annual holidays. The $2.24 billion generated by extra tax revenues would be used to pay for 100,000 more retirement home beds and the expansion of a program to help seniors who cannot care for themselves.

Labor and business groups clashed over the proposal, although it had yet to be officially introduced as of press time. French trade unions denounced the measure, with Force Ouvriere dubbing it "compulsory charity," reported Agence France Presse (AFP).

"What infuriates me is that this is about meting out blame," Marc Blondel, head of the Worker's Force union, claimed on France-Inter radio, as quoted by the Associated Press. Blondel claims government officials "are trying to get revenge, saying: 'You abandoned your parents this summer, and you'll pay for it.'"

In contrast, the head of France's largest employers association expressed support.

Eliminating a holiday to fund eldercare is not new to Europe. Neighboring Germany eliminated a bank holiday to fund programs for the aging in 1994.
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Author:Edwards, Douglas J.
Publication:Nursing Homes
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Dec 1, 2003
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