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France denies nationality to nurse for 'working too much'

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By Alice Tidey
France denies nationality to nurse for 'working too much'
Copyright  T. Grace Emori / CDC

French authorities rejected a nurse's application to be naturalised, arguing that she works too much.

The prefecture in Val-de-Marne, near Paris, denied her application in June stating that she is "in breach of working time regulations".

Widely shared on social media, the official letter — which the prefecture confirmed as legitimate to Euronews — details that on top of her job in a clinic, the nurse has also picked up a monthly average of 119 hours of shift work in two other medical institutions.

"You thus accumulate three jobs for a monthly duration of 271 working hours," it states.

French law stipulates that employees cannot work over 48 hours in one week or a weekly average of 44 hours over a 12-week period.

For instance, an employee working 48 hours a week for 6 weeks and then 40 hours for the following six weeks, will have respected the law as that averages to a weekly 44 hours over 12 weeks.

A spokesperson for the prefecture told Euronews that her application has been postponed for two years "to give her time to comply with the legislation."

'Take my nationality away'

The decision has been widely condemned on social media, with centrist lawmaker Jean-Christophe Lagarde writing on Twitter: "In our country, the staunchest racists say foreigners do not work. But the State can do that?"

Union leader Jerome Marty, a doctor, also voiced his stupefaction at the decision.

"I work 60 to 70 hours a week like countless doctors, nurses...and I'm not even speaking of the interns who work up to 80 to 90 hours a week," he wrote on Twitter

"Take my nationality away," he added.

According to Eurostat, EU employees spent an average of 40.3 hours per week in their main jobs in 2016.

Full-time employees in the UK were found to spend the highest number of hours per week at their main job (42.3 hours) while French and Dutch workers spent a weekly average of 39.0 hours — just slightly above the EU's shortest work week recorded in Italy with 38.8 hours.