Advocate lauds French laws on immigrant workers

Paris- France (PANA) -- A leading African lawyer and human rights advocate has lauded aspects of the French legal system which pay due attention to the interests of domestic workers, most of whom are Africans.
In an interview with PANA, Hamuli Rety, who specialises in immigration law, said that France was way ahead of other European countries in the area of protection of immigrant workers, provided that such workers are duly registered.
According to Rety, the employment regulations in France stipulated a minimum wage estimated at FF 7,000 and employers could not go below that ceiling.
Rety focussed on the domestic workers in France in a bid to explain the value accorded to all types of work in France.
The majority of domestic workers came from developing countries and included young girls mainly in their early 20s who had just finished high school in their home countries but lacked the means to pursue university education.
A programme existed in France in which such young girls could pursue their university education.
Known as "Jeune Fille Au Pair", the young girls could do domestic work for a family with their university education fees being met by the family as part of their payment.
A lot of these "au pair" young girls came from Francophone Africa as knowledge of the French language was essential to enable the young girls communicate with the family, including the children.
The programme, according to Rety, was mutually beneficial to both the French family and the young girls.
He considered such minimum wage requirement, which was pegged to the cost of living in France as a positive move.
Rety suggested that African countries could borrow a leaf from the French employment regulation system to ensure that the value of all types of work was elevated in a way that enabled workers to be assured of a decent standard of life no matter their status.
The lawyer contended that most African countries' employment regulations did not adequately protect low wage earners such as domestic employees who were often exploited by employers.

27 august 2001 09:34:00




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