There's plenty to be happy about when it comes to french working culture.
Sure, there are a few things that might annoy the foreigner, but there is also a lot to be glad about. Here are six reasons why it's great to work in France:
1. Healthcare and holidays:
if you're lucky enough to get a job in france at a decent-sized firm, then they will normally cover your health insurance through a "mutuelle". the “mutuelle” is a complementary health insurance plan that covers what the public healthcare doesn’t. the standard of care that you have access to is worth it. and then there are the holidays. no, you won't be looked down for taking most of your august off. the average french worker can expect 30 days a year of paid vacation.
2. Opportunity knocks:
an interesting fact is that the majority of the french workforce is employed in the services sector, while 27% work in the industry and 5% in the agriculture. that´s why language skills are essential to find a job nowadays and especially in france. for those with qualifications and more importantly an english mother tongue, then france can be a dream job destination. your career can take off in france simply because you are a native or close to a native english speaker. let it be known: you are in demand.
3. 35-hour week:
ok, maybe this one is a bit of a myth, that everyone works no more than 35 hours a week here. but although it's not always true, 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. the working day normally starts at 10am and you get your friday afternoon off!
french cuisine is great, we all know that, but it's not just limited to expensive bistros in paris. canteens in france are subsidized and because of that a decent three-course meal can cost you around €5. in addition, if you don't have a cafeteria, you should be getting restaurant vouchers from your company than can be worth up to €10 a day.
5. Paid days off:
normally your french boss has to give you four days off when you get married. but you are also guaranteed a day off when you and your partner join in civil union. when it comes to maternity leave it is mandatory to take at least eight weeks' off in france, although most women are allowed up to 16 weeks of maternity leave. moreover, adoption leave is also granted for 10 weeks. if your son or daughter are getting married, you get a day off to attend the wedding.
6. Extra month’s bonus:
the minimum salary in france is 1,150.27 eur gross per month. depending on your salary range, you may get an extra month’s pay, normally before christmas or in two separated payments - one in summer and one in december. the so-called 13th month bonus, which, as its name suggests, is simply an extra month's pay, is not mandatory. but if you get it, it's amazing.
ideally you won't arrive in france with the intention of being unemployed, but naturally, with lots of short term contracts 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 an unemployment allowance. this can be the equivalent of a hefty chunk of your most recent salary, even up to around two thirds of it. the french welfare system generally always works in your favor, too. if you're not earning a lot, you can get up to €240 a month to help with the rent.
Moving abroad to work is an important decision and has its risks, but with the right information and preparation, you can always get the best of this experience.