Thirty civil servants were paid to do nothing for more than 25 years, costing taxpayers at least US$1.1 million a year.
The 30 civil servants, from Toulon in the south of France, received automatic promotions and annual pay rises, reported local newspaper Var-Matin.
The newspaper obtained an official report by the Provence-Alps-Riviera Regional Audit Office that, in addition, stated that an administrative assistant took a private-sector job as a supervisor for eight years while he continued to obtain his civil service wage.
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Another civil servant – a former rugby union player for Toulon – managed a restaurant rather than go to a council office every day. He was summoned on at least one occasion to explain his business because it appeared “incompatible with the status of a civil servant”. The government salary cheques still kept arriving despite this.
The audit workplace report stated that the Var administration centre answerable for the “jobless” civil servants “had little motivation to seek out them [sic] new jobs” as the majority of their salaries would proceed to be paid out of the budgets of the native authorities that had initially employed them.
“It’s regrettable, to say the least, that town was not able to find new jobs for a few of these workers, particularly the youngest,” the audit workplace report stated.
The 30 civil servants, “who aren’t employed”, are still being paid.
In France, a law obliges councils to carry on paying staff even if a reorganisation in working arrangements makes them redundant.
The audit office report comes only two months after an Economy Ministry report revealed that more than 300,000 civil servants fail to fulfil their obligation to work 35 hours a week.
In August 2017, Le Figaro revealed that 55-year-old Bosko Herman, a senior civil servant, had been banking a salary of nearly €4,000 a month (US$4531.00) for 10 years, without actually doing a day’s work.
President Emmanuel Macron has promised to shed 120,000 civil service jobs as part of a drive to cut €60 billion (US$68 billion) in public spending by 2022.