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Crackdown on French job seekers reveals abuse of generous benefits system

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Crackdown on French job seekers reveals abuse of generous benefits system
Photo: AFP
10:51 CET+01:00
As France continues its crackdown on unemployment benefit fraud it has emerged that fourteen percent of job seekers are abusing a system already considered by many to be too generous.
The country's national employment agency Pole Emploi has led a controversial crack down on job seekers in recent months to root out the fraudsters
 
The inspections found that out of 270,000 checks on job seekers, some 14 percent should not have been eligible. 
 
In May 2015, the board of directors at the Pole Emploi took steps to crack down on the number of people abusing the unemployment system, appointing 200 staff to carry out 12,000 checks every month. 
 
France's unemployment system is considered one of the most generous in Europe  - claimants can be pad up to €6,200 a month for two years - although most receive only €500 a month.
 
 
Successive governments have been been urged to make cuts as well as crackdown on those cheating the system.
 
Last year the the Cour des Comptes, the country's top auditors concluded that France's “assurance chomage” benefits system was simply not sustainable given record high unemployment and the system's soaring debt.
 
The system came under fire on Friday, with MP Damien Adam from French President Emmanuel Macron's La Republique en Marche! (LREM) party saying that job seekers use their benefits to go to the Bahamas on holiday, according to a report in Le Figaro
 
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Photo: AFP
 
"When you are an employee and you see some people going on holiday to the Bahamas through unemployment insurance, it is legitimate to say that this system is topsy turvy!" said Adam. His comments provoked outrage from unions.
 
And he isn't the first LREM politician to condemn the system. 
 
In October, when asked about universal unemployment allowance, spokesman for the party Christophe Castaner said: "It's a form of freedom. But freedom means something. It is not about saying to yourself: 'Finally, I can use unemployment benefits to go on a two-year holiday'."
 
In October, the number of people unemployed in France dropped by 1.8 percent, marking a drop of 64,800 in the number of people looking for work - the biggest fall since 2001. The news was seen as a boost for Macron's reforms. 
 
 
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