Redundant French bankers all rush to sign-on back home

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As anyone who has lost their job and been forced to turn to the British government for help will know, you can't buy much with 60.50 a week.

In France, however, the state is considerably more generous. It pays benefits equivalent to 57.4% of base pay, up to a maximum of €6,366 (5,506) per month for nearly two years.

Given that some senior French traders, quants, structurers and salespeople who've lost their jobs in London were on salaries of 115k, they are now eligible for the maximum level of benefits in France.

According to French news sources, they are going back home to claim it. To be eligible, French bankers who've worked in the UK need to have toiled for between one day and four weeks in France, but many are said to be getting a 'Mc Job' for 24 hours to overcome this hurdle.

The repatriation of French bankers is already causing some upset in Paris. The website reports that Unédic, the group which manages the French unemployment scheme, is looking into it.

Its president said he's trying to establish whether the phenomenon concerns 10, 20 or 300 people. "It now appears that there's a big gap between unemployment benefits on each side of the Channel," he revealed.

In the meantime, French bankers who've gone home are pointing out that 5.5k in unemployment benefits isn't all that. "It's just enough to pay my plane tickets and telephone bill," one banker who's trying to find re-employment in Hong Kong complained.