Jobs crisis tops agenda as Merkel heads to Paris

French president François Hollande welcomes German leader Angela Merkel in Paris on Thursday to to thrash out a plan to create youth jobs. Hollande also plans to take Merkel to the Louvre gallery to see an exhibition that has caused uproar back in Germany.

Jobs crisis tops agenda as Merkel heads to Paris

The leaders of France and Germany meet  in Paris on Thursday to discuss a joint plan to combat a spiralling youth jobs crisis in the eurozone which threatens the future of millions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet counterpart Francois Hollande to hammer out a common position on the subject, which will be among key issues dominating a European Union summit at the end of June.

The two leaders will first visit the Louvre for a controversial Louvre exhibition on the main themes that structured German thinking from 1800 to 1939. It is possible the display may only increase tensions between Hollande and Merkel after it was lambasted in the German press for being too "clichéd" .

The pair will then hold talks at the Elysee in the afternoon before addressing a news conference.

They will also be handed a report on promoting growth and competitiveness in Europe which is co-authored by Gerhard Cromme, the chairman of the board of Siemens, and Jean-Louis Beffa, the chairman of the board of French glass and construction material maker Saint Gobain.

Berlin and Paris have pledged a joint action plan to create more jobs for youth. Hollande has warned of a generational "rupture" if the problem is not tackled on an emergency footing.

About six million youths are officially registered as unemployed in Europe.

Merkel has called a Berlin gathering on youth unemployment on July 3 with labour ministers from all EU member states, where the initiative is expected to be officially presented. Hollande will attend that conference.

Joblessness among young people is a critical problem in many countries in the eurozone, particularly those enacting tough reforms to restructure their
economies and reduce debt.

In some of these nations, the unemployment rate among youth exceeds 50 percent.

The bundle of initiatives include an EU plan which will harness €6 billion which could be leveraged and used as guarantees to raise up to 10 times more in loans to fuel employment.

French Labour Minister Michel Sapin has said the plan would target small- and medium-sized businesses to create jobs. His German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen has echoed him saying these businesses were often ready to raise production but were hamstrung by the lack of access to cheap credit.

The European Commission said this month in a forecast that the eurozone economy will likely shrink for a second year while unemployment will rise to a record 12.2 percent.

A Eurostat report on April 30 said that a total of 5.6 million people aged under 25 were registered as unemployed in the 27-member European Union in March, of whom 3.5 million were from the eurozone.

Germany has the lowest rate of youth unemployment in the European Union, with only eight percent of the working population aged between 15 and 24
without work. In France the figure is 24 percent, while it is more than 55 percent in Greece and Spain.

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How to get a summer job in France

As the summer holidays approach in France, many employers are looking for seasonal workers - so if you're looking for a summer job, here's how to go about it.

How to get a summer job in France

There are thousands of employment offers in France – a simple internet search for jobs d’été came up with numerous jobs boards offering work in France, while the government-backed Centre d’Information et de Documentation pour la Jeunesse (CIDJ) offers advice and information on all aspects of life for young people in France, including finding seasonal work and summer placements.

Sectors including agriculture, hospitality and tourism are always recruiting in the summer, seeking fruit-pickers, holiday camp workers and serving/hotel staff.

But what are the rules for people seeking summer jobs?

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Children from the age of 16 (under certain circumstances, the age limit drops to 14) who are legally resident in France can work as long as they have written authorisation from their parents or legal guardians. A model authorisation letter is available here

Those under the age of 18 cannot undertake certain jobs for health and safety reasons.

In the following circumstances, children as young as 14 or 15 can work during school holidays.

  • The holidays must last at least 14 days;
  • The child must work no more than half the days of the holiday – so, if a vacation period is two weeks, they can work for no more than one of those weeks;
  • The child is given ‘light duties’ that offer no risk to their safety, health, or development;
  • From the age of 15 and if the child has completed their troisieme education, a minor can register for an apprenticeship. 


Salary is usually paid monthly and will have a payslip. For those aged 18 and over, pay will be at least equal to the minimum wage.

 For those aged 14 to 17, who have less than six months’ professional experience, the minimum allowed rate is 80 percent of the minimum wage. For those aged 17 to 18, the rate rises to a minimum of 90 percent of France’s minimum wage.

  • The minimum wage in France is currently €10.85 gross per hour (€1,645.58 gross per month based on a 35-hour week);
  • the employment contract is fixed-term and can take different forms (fixed-term contract, seasonal employment contract, temporary employment contract, etc);
  • Seasonal employees are subject to the same obligations as the other employees of the company and have access to the same benefits (canteens, breaks, etc.).

Under 18s have certain additional protections:

  • between the ages of 14 and 16, during school holidays, employees on any contract cannot work more than 35 hours per week nor more than 7 hours per day;
  • They cannot work at night;
  • Those aged 14 to under 16 working during their school holidays can only be assigned to work which is not likely to harm their safety, their health or development.

Right to work in France

If you’re a French citizen or hold permanent residency in France then you have the right to work, but for foreigners there are extra restrictions.

Anyone who holds the passport of a EU/EEA country or Switzerland, is free to work in France or to travel to France seeking work without needing a visa or work permit.

Most other people will need permission to work in France – even if it’s only for a short period or for casual work such as grape-picking. Depending on your country of origin you may need a visa – everything you need to know about that is here.

In addition to the visa, you may also need a work permit, which is the responsibility of the employer.  To employ anyone in France for less than 90 days, an employer must get a temporary work permit – before the prospective employee applies for a short stay visa. This permit is then sent to the embassy at which the employee is applying for a visa.

If you come from countries including the UK, USA and Canada you can spend up to 90 days in France without a visa – but you may still need a work (convention d’accueil) if you want to work while you are here.

READ ALSO Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in France

Certain countries have specific ‘seasonal worker’ visas on offer, for certain sectors which allows – for example – Canadians to come to France and work the ski season. 

Cash-in-hand jobs

Certain sectors which have a lot of casual workers – for example seasonal fruit-picking – do have cash-in-hand jobs, known in France as marché noir (black market) or simply travail au black (working on the black, or working illegally). 

This is of course illegal and working this way carries risks – as well as the possibility of losing your job if labour inspectors turn up you are also in a vulnerable position. If your employer suddenly decides not to pay you, or make unexpected deductions from your wages, there is very little you can do about it since you won’t have any kind of work contract.