Finding employment and living in France.

Living in France: Finding an apartment

Once you've worked through all the red tape, living in France can be dream come true. You can try the American Church or the American University at Paris, or the FUSAC bulletin boards, if you come from Canada or America.

The French real estate magazines and the newspapers also run ads for apartments. You need three month's pay slips, permit for residence, and a bank account when you apply for one of the apartments. FUSAC is a French magazine with an English section for New Zealanders, British citizens, US citizens, Canadians, Irish citizens etc. where you can browse for apartments. Living in France also entails that you learn their language and the cultural nuances that are embedded in their conversation.

Living in France: Visa Requirements

European Union and US passport holders can stay in France with a carte de jour, which is a permit for residence. It is not a work permit. It is easy to obtain although it entails waiting in long rows at the prefecture. You can obtain a work visa from the French consulate or embassy in your country. Living in France can be more difficult if you come from other countries, since you will have a longer process of application.

French Public Holidays for those who are employed

  • New Year's day - 1 January
  • Easter day falls in April
  • Labor day - 1 May
  • Ascension day falls in May
  • Pentecost falls in May or June
  • Bastille day - 14 July
  • Assumption day - 15 August
  • All Saint's day - 1 November
  • Armistice day - 11 November
  • Christmas day - 25 December

When the holiday lands on a Tuesday or a Thursday, employees are normally allowed to make it a long weekend.

Guide to working in France
The French have many work related benefits such as a 13th or 14th check payable over December and June. It is for bonus and annual leave. There is however a compulsory deduction for payment to the underprivileged. Other deductions include insurance, medical benefits and pension. They don't deduct tax from your salary. You have to declare it and make payments.

Working conditions
Working in France holds many job security benefits. The French have a minimum wage system for hourly pay. Some occupations have set agreements for sick leave, annual leave, working hours and minimum wages. There are annual salary negotiations between the companies and labor representatives. Most of the companies in France have an equal opportunity policy with regard to gender.

Persons, who are working in France, are paid overtime when they work more than 35 hours a week. The rule doesn't apply to management. The minimum rate for overtime is fixed at 10% additional payment. Many of the companies allow flexi hours where people can either come in later and work until they reach their hours, or start earlier and finish in the early afternoon.

Working in France also entitles in you to a minimum of two and half days leave for every month worked. It means that you are entitled to 5 weeks annual leave. Almost no one is working in France during August. You are also entitled to one year unpaid leave for every three years worked at one company. Your social benefits stay in tact and you have the right to return to the same position at the company after your leave.

You have more benefits when working in France than in most other countries. Once you have secured employment at the right company, you may find that working and living in France can be a pleasure.