Friday, 12 February 2016 12:57


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Any talk about work in France these days is more likely to be about unemployment than employment. But while you might hear complaints from the French population about the state of the country, you're less likely to hear moaning from foreigners who work here. That's because many recognize the benefits of working in France. 1 PERKS: Sure, every company around the around the world can offer certain perks in the job, but many French firm actually have an official “perks department” where people are employed to fight for the best perks. If you're in a company with a "Comité d’Entreprise" you can get your hands on anything from cheap cinema tickets, holiday discounts and a nice wad of vouchers to spend at Christmas. 2 CANTEENS: French cuisine is great, we all know that, but it's not just limited to swanky bistros in Paris. Anglos, so used to scoffing down a sandwich, a bag of crisps and a Mars Bar at their desks, are often bewildered at the quality of the grub on offer at staff canteens in French companies. And because they're subsidized, a decent three-course meal can set you back only €5. And if you don't have a cafeteria, you should be getting restaurant vouchers than can be worth €10 a day. 3 UNEMPLOYMENT: Ideally you won’t arrive in France with the intention of being unemployed, but naturally, with lots of short term contracts (CDDs) around, you might spend a period out of work. Which at least financially, shouldn’t hit you too hard if you’ve worked enough to earn unemployment allowance (“le chômage”)? This can be the equivalent of a hefty chunk of your most recent salary, even up to around two thirds. 4 TRAVEL PASS: No one likes to commute to work, and both the Paris Metro and the RER, for example, have a reputation for being mobile cattle pens at rush hour. However, that’s no different to most big cities and more importantly, the big crush doesn’t feel quite so unpleasant if you're getting half your transport costs paid for you, as is the case for most workers in the capital. And even if your company doesn’t cover it, your monthly pass is a damn sight cheaper than it is in London, for example. 5 GOING SOLO: Despite what you might hear about reams and reams of red tape, France is actually a great place to set up a business. A recent report by Ernst and Young consultants ranked France as a world leader when it came to making it simple and efficient for entrepreneurs to get a venture of the ground. The country’s Auto-entrepreneur system for the self-employed is heralded by many expats, widely used, and involves very little red tape. 6 TAXES: “An advantage of working in France is taxes? You must be mad!” I hear you say. Well yes, but as Christopher Chantrey from the group British in France says: “You will possibly pay more in terms of deductions for pensions and health, but you will end up with a net amount that is easily comparable to the UK.” And at least you might have a pension. Also, declaring your own taxes every year puts you in control of your own money, much more than pay as you earn. 7 HEALTH AND HOLIDAYS: These two Hs are synonymous with France. If you're lucky enough to get a job here at a decent-sized firm, then they will normally cover your health insurance through a "Mutuelle". They may take a few pennies off your pay slip for doing so, but it’s still a good deal and the standard of care you have access to is worth it. Then there are the holidays, of which France gets the most in the world. 8 OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: No one wants to see the French leave France, but recent stats show that more and more young French people are heading abroad to find work. This naturally leaves vacancies back home for those with qualifications, and more importantly English Mother Tongue. French lawyer Jean Taquet says he has seen the careers of Anglo clients take off in France simply because they are native English speakers. Let it be known: You are in demand. 9 35-HOUR WEEK: Ok it’s a bit of a myth that everyone works no more than 35 hours a week here. But although it’s not always applied, the law is still in place. In certain companies, it is adhered to or they make up for the fact you may work a 40-hour working week, by giving you more days off. In terms of hours, working in France is also great for those who enjoy a lie-in in the morning. You can go for run, a swim and a massage before bouncing into work at 1O.30am and still be in before your boss. 10 FIRE PROOF: Perhaps mentioning in a job interview that one of the reasons why you came here was because it’s hard to get fired in France, is not the best idea. But you wouldn't be daft for thinking it. It may be a little exaggerated at times in the Anglo media, but it is certainly harder to fire people in France. However, it does lead to other issues, like making it very hard to actually get a permanent contract, French lawyer Jean Taquet says. But once you have one, it makes life easier.
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