PARIS (AP) -- France's parliament approved a law Thursday that will make it possible for employees to collect unemployment benefits if they quit their jobs.
The change is part of President Nicolas Sarkozy's push for a more flexible labor market. Supporters have brushed off questions over whether the law might encourage people to go on the dole -- they say the change will work in harmony with other reforms to cut joblessness.
The reform was approved in France's lower house after clearance June 5 by the Senate. France's Socialists abstained from voting to protest how Sarkozy's conservatives have handled labor reform.
The plan regulates the ways in which employees and employers can agree to separate, leaving the employee free to collect unemployment pay.
The new proposal is at the heart of a plan worked out over four months of negotiations between labor unions and business leaders at the urging of conservative Sarkozy. It's inspired by Denmark's successful model of ''flexicurity'' -- generous protections for workers, coupled with liberal firing and hiring laws.
To counteract the new benefit for workers in France, companies will get more flexibility, including longer trial periods for new hires. France's unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in the first three months of the year.