Archive Article: 2001/06/22

22 June 2001

EVER since we arrived at the farm in 1983, I have been doing the wages for the farm staff. It was a little complicated at first because I had never done it before and everything was in French!

With training in the hands of Mr Dufresnes office staff, however, I learned which

official books I needed and how to fill them in. I had to take one to the county town hall to have it officially stamped by the mayor, and each month I diligently filled in the tiny squares with all the details of hours, deductions one by one and the net salary paid. It looked very neat and proper.

Last summer, with a stab of guilt, I fished it out of the drawer as Id been meaning to do for a long time and

discovered that it was two years behind.

So, the first part of my

holidays was spent bringing it back up to date –

a very long-winded affair.

Never mind, ever conscious that the Inspector du Travail could call any time and demand to see the books,

I felt so much better when everything was back in order again. Even more so when four weeks ago we got a letter from the MSAO saying that le Contrôleur, Mr Lecoq would be coming to check our books, and could we please have all

relevant details to hand for inspection.

This panicked me a little because, at about the same time, I received another letter from the MSAO saying that I wasnt completing the

quarterly declaration form in the right way!

We have to pay the wages from which we make a

deduction of 19.74% which counts as the employees

contribution for retirement, sickness benefit etc. But every three months, we receive a bill for 41.35% of the basic salary which is the employers

contribution towards

retirement, sickness benefit and training schemes, works doctor etc (all employees have a medical once a year to confirm that they are fit to do the work theyre employed for. I have to have one as a teacher, so far Im still noted as "apte"!)

Mr Lecoq duly arrived and started going through the books.

"Now dont worry, it isnt because youre doing things wrong, its just to check youre up to date with the rates and procedures. Now, have you got this? And that? Work contracts, daily hour records signed by everyone each month, yes fine."

"And the book?" I asked.

"Which book?"

"This one, stamped by the mayor," I said, handing it over.

"Oh, we stopped doing that two years ago."

"No one told me." I was a

little annoyed.

No comment was made about the number of hours Jacques does a month. Next year we have to go onto the 35 hours a week scheme. Now how can you reason the logic behind that?

Jacques wont want to take a drop in wages, he is quite happy to do an average 198 hours a month. We are happy to pay him but he will have to stop.

If we need more help, we will have to pay someone else; if he wants to maintain his wage, it is suggested that he finds a

second job!

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