Is France unfairly punishing hardworking business owners? Or protecting people from overwork? Opinions are split in the case of Cedric Vaivre, the baker who wouldn't take a break. Vaivre, who runs the only bakery in the northern French town of Lusigny-sur-Barse, population 2,000, has been fined $3,700 for violating a law that says bakeries have to close once a week, Vice reports. The law allows exemptions, which Vaivre's Boulangerie du Lac received in previous years, but authorities failed to grant one in 2017 and he was fined for opening seven days a week at the height of the summer tourist season.
The town's mayor—and thousands of supporters who've signed a petition—say Vaivre shouldn't be fined for working too hard. "In a tourist area, it seems essential that a business can open every day during the summer," Mayor Christian Branle told the L'Est Eclair newspaper. But others—including other bakery owners—support the law, saying it's in place to protect workers in a profession where people are known for working extremely long hours. "These people need to have a rest day each week," says a retail union spokesman, per the Local. "We can't just allow them to work nonstop. It's absolutely necessary that both bosses and employees have a day of rest."