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France

French bosses dodge 20 million euros a year in compensation payment

media French miners protest outside the trial of two Eternit bosses in Italy … Reuters/Giorgio Perottino

French bosses are failing to pay up to 20 million euros per year to the social security system, the government said this weekend. The loss comes from employers not paying their share for compensation for workplace accidents.

When accidents or illnesses are linked to workplace conditions, employees can receive compensation through France's social security services.

The services then have to recuperate the costs from employers.

But, according to government figures made public Saturday, more than half of employers involved – 56 per cent – never make the payments.

About a quarter cannot because they have gone bankrupt.

But in most cases employers use the legal system to obstruct the process, contesting any aspect of the compensation claims they can.

Parliamentary elections 2012

One company, Swiss building materials manufacturer Eternit, has lost 320 cases and been ordered to pay 14 million euros in compensation to employees whose health had suffered from handling asbestos. It has not paid any of the money.

A government bill passed last week aims to make it harder for companies found guilty of unsafe and unsanitary work conditions to fall back on such excuses.

The government's latest budget raised taxes and cut some services in an effort to reduce the budget deficit from 4.5 per cent of output to 3.0 per cent.

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