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Ten reasons why France is a great place to work

With all the talk about record unemployment in France and all the locals seemingly heading to the exits as quick as they can to find work abroad The Local looks at the top ten reasons why expats should be happy to work in France, in spite of the strikes and the strife.

Ten reasons why France is a great place to work
Top Ten reasons why France is a great place to work. Photo: Fdcomite/flickr

Recent figures and surveys suggest more and more young French people are heading through departures gate at France’s airports to find work in foreign climes.

And then there are the reports of strikes and mass redundancies – all of which give the impression that France is slowly but surely shutting down.

But while you might hear complaints from sections of 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 a country that, even if there's plenty of strife and strikes going on around them, is still a great place to work. 

“Don’t be pessimistic,” Christopher Chantrey from the British in France community organization tells The Local, in a message to anyone thinking about coming to France to find work.

“People should not be put off. It’s definitely worth a try even if it’s just for the benefit of opening your mind and seeing how things work in France compared to the Anglo approach.

“Hopefully we are now seeing signs of an economic recovery too, so things might be looking more positive soon,” he said.

On the job front, it's not all bad news. There may be record unemployment but there are jobs out there, although temporary contracts are more likely than permanent ones.

“"It's not all doom and gloom," Paris based recruiter Megan Ascione, from EuroLondon Appointments told The Local.

"We have been ok this year and I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary. If things haven't worked out for us for some reason, it's not been because there's a lack of jobs out there.

"Expats need to keep that in mind. It's probably similar to the UK. The market is nowhere near as bad as in 2009. There are jobs out there and it's just a question of finding the right one," she said.

Another recruiter, Diana Zaharia said from the agency Jobs in Paris told The Local that their Paris recruitment website was one the top performers among their network. “That certainly wasn’t the case earlier this year.”

But if all this hasn't convinced you then perhaps reading our Top Ten reasons why France is a great country to work in might. Do you agree with them? Tell us what we missed.

 

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WORKING IN FRANCE

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?

READ ALSO Vendange: What you really sign up for when you agree to help with the French wine harvest

Age

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

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. 

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