That's the approach that France is taking in an effort to curb its 12% jobless rate. French lawmakers recently approved legislation that will cut the nation's legal workweek (for all companies with more than 20 employees) in 2000 from 39 hours to 35 hours. Smaller companies will have until 2002 to comply. The reduction is viewed as the biggest labor change in France since the adoption of the 40-hour workweek and paid vacations in 1936. Companies will be offered tax incentives to enact the shorter workweek prior to the legislative deadline.