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Will I lose my unemployment rights if I resign from my job in France?

As a general rule, you are not entitled to unemployment rights when resigning from a job - but there are exceptions

In France, resigning from your job generally means you will not be entitled to unemployment benefits Pic: Focus and Blur / Shutterstock

Reader question: If you resign from a job here, do you lose the right to claim unemployment benefit? I.J.

As a general rule, yes, but there are several exceptions where the resignation is deemed ‘legitimate’ by Pôle Emploi. 

In such a case, you would have the right to unemployment benefit – allocation d’aide au retour à l’emploi (ARE) – under the usual conditions. 

The exceptions include:

  • Moving house due to a change of circumstances, rather than due to simple choice, eg. to follow your spouse or long-term partner, who is moving for work reasons, or moving to get married or Pacsed;

  • You are leaving a job which you have held for fewer than 65 working days, after leaving a previous job without claiming unemployment;

  • Leaving due to violence or harassment at work, if you have made a complaint to the police;

  • If you have a serious project for a career change, involving training or starting a business, and you have been in salaried work for at least five years, with one or several employers.

Before leaving, you must have applied for and obtained free careers advice called Conseil en evolution professionnelle (CEP).

You can book to do these sessions in your own time and your employer does not have to know.

If your request does not fall under one of these, you can still ask for your dossier to be reconsidered later, usually after four months.

You may then be able to obtain the benefit if you show proof of having searched for a job, having sought training, or carried out temporary short-term posts.

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