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EDUCATION

Parents in France could lose right to crisis unemployment scheme from June

From June 1st, parents who choose to stay home with their children when schools reopen could lose access to the country's unemployment scheme set up to prevent mass lay-offs during the coronavirus lockdown.

Parents in France could lose right to crisis unemployment scheme from June
Photo: AFP

This represents a big change in the current rule that saw parents who wish to stay home to take care of their children automatically qualify for partial unemployment as of May 1st.

“The system of partially working to take cafe of children will be maintained like in May, but from June 1st a certificate from the school will be required,” said French Labour Minister Muriel Pénicaud on Wednesday in an interview with France Inter.

“It is important that children can return to school,” she said.

Primary schools, pre-school and creches are set to gradually reopen in France from May 11th, but with classes restricted to 15 and some local mayors vowing not to reopen schools, not all children may be able to return.

UPDATE: How France's plan to reopen schools has changed

 

Parents who decide to keep their children at home will not be sanctioned.

However, from June 1st, employees will need to provide their employer with a certificate from their child's school stating that the establishment is not capable of receiving the child.

France's partial unemployment scheme – chômage partiel – has been massively expanded since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic. Over 11 million employees are currently benefiting from the scheme in France.

It has been crucial in keeping businesses from laying off employees en masse after the nationwide strict lockdown on March 17th halted most of the country's economic activity.

Chômage partiel: What you need to know about France's crisis unemployment scheme

But, as France plans to begin to lift the lockdown rules on May 11th, the rules for receiving chômage partiel are set to be tightened.

Gradually reopening schools will be key in order to ensure that the French economy can begin to retake, the French government has said several times.

While parents will not be required to send their children back to school and can choose to homeschool the child if they prefer, but the change in the partial unemployment scheme could have many finding themselves without a real choice of keeping their children at home.

The French government has said it wants people to go back to work as France begins the second phase of the lifting of its lockdown measures on June 2nd.

“We have to go back to work,” said Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday.

France's gross domestic product contracted 5.8 percent in the first quarter, largely because of the coronavirus lockdown, the national statistics agency said Thursday.

The drop was the biggest since quarterly GDP evaluations began in 1949.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

From tax hikes to the price of food, air conditioning and the unexpected things that lurk beneath the streets of Paris, here are 6 essential articles for life in France.

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

As the inhabitants of Paris, one of Europe’s most densely populated cities, walk along the Champs-Elysées or Rue de Rivoli, they might be entirely unaware of the extensive underground world that exists below their feet.

Paris has a huge network of underground spaces that hide some very unexpected things (as well as the entirely prosaci Metro).

Skulls, beer and a ‘cathedral’: Discover the secrets of underground Paris

From cheese and garlic to berets and sex, taxes and striking, France is heavily loaded with cultural stereotypes – and most of them are only partly accurate.

This is us, busting more myths.

Myth-busting: Are these 12 clichés about France actually true?

France warned that companies might have to reduce energy this winter as Russian continues to reduce its gas supplies to Europe.

The government has already begun work on an energy-saving plan, with more measures to come in September.

And it’s not the only country thinking along these lines – from limits to heating and air conditioning to turning off the lights and taking off ties, here’s how countries around Europe are cutting their energy usage.

Air-con, lights and ties: How countries around Europe hope to avoid blackouts this winter

Although householders in France are relatively fortunate when it comes to rising bills, there is one notable exception.

Towns and villages across France have been raising property tax rates for second-home owners – with many areas voting for the maximum 60 percent increase.

Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

As we’ve stumbled onto money matters, let’s consider the cost of living. France has many temptations to woo visitors and foreign residents: its scenery, history, the lifestyle, the food and the drink.

While some things here are more expensive than elsewhere – we’re looking at you, second-hand car dealers – and the taxes are notoriously high, what about the cost of groceries and wine? How do they compare? We do something that looks a lot like crunching the numbers…

How expensive is food and drink in France?

But, enough of all that seriousness. It’s silly season, after all. Prominent French scientist Etienne Klein has had to apologise for claiming this was the latest astonishing picture taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, when it was – in fact …

French astronomer apologises for ‘stellar’ photo that was really . . . chorizo

Some people take things far too seriously.

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