[JURIST] French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin Thursday announced plans to reform the country's current 35-hour workweek. While letting that formal limit stand, Raffarin said companies will be allowed to negotiate their own deals with employees regarding overtime. The 35-hour workweek was introduced under a Socialist administration in 1998, and was aimed at boosting employment by forcing companies to hire more workers. The plan has since been regarded as a failure. Reforms would give companies greater flexibility in hiring. The French government hopes reforming the policy will help lower its 10 percent unemployment rate. AP has more. From Paris, Le Figaro has local coverage in French. The French Prime Minister's website offers additional information on the workweek initiative here (in French).