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27 year-old unemployed French bankers are having a great time

While jobless junior bankers in London and New York are struggling with their financial and mental health, young finance types in France are doing fine. Not only are they far less likely to be laid off to begin with, but if they are, they are very well catered for by the generosity of the French state. 

"If young people here are let go, they just take time out to go travelling," says a director at one US bank in Paris. "They get a lot of money from the bank and very high unemployment benefits. It can be a good opportunity to relax."

We've written about the generous unemployment benefits on offer to bankers in France before. Although the French government has attempted to get a handle on its spending by reducing benefits' duration, the payments on offer remain abnormally generous at up to €275 a day ($309). That goes a long way if you're chilling on a beach in Thailand. 

By comparison, state benefits in the UK are set at a flat £84 ($110) a week, while payments in New York range from around $100 to $500, also per week. 

The prospect of being paid handsomely to do nothing at all, provides an important safety net for French bankers, most of whom aren't that concerned about losing their jobs anyway. "It's very hard to lay someone off here," says one associate at a US bank, "So usually, there's a negotiation." Instead of being cut, French bankers are typically persuaded to resign; this is why banks like SocGen offer high voluntary redundancy pay

It's not just young French bankers who benefit from the state's largesse. Senior bankers receive even better terms of support. "If you're fired in France, you can get up to a year at full pay from the bank and then the government step in," says one senior French banker. "My understanding is that if I get fired I will get 70% of my salary (capped at the upper limit) in unemployment payments in the first year, and 30% in years two and three."

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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