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Wheres the line ??


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Wheres the line between working on the black and volunteering ? if your getting bed and board ...is that the same as getting paid ... whats the law say about this in france ?

Im looking at this and would love to have a couple of lads for the summer [;-)] but if some thing is not above board in our village it will soon be known ..... 

 

http://languedoc.angloinfo.com/r.asp?http://www.helpx.net/search_now_paging.asp?host_region=328&network=3

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Helping a friend on a occasional basis is fine, but what these ads are offering is unpaid work in exchange for board and lodging and that is illegal.

As soon as the help becomes regular, there is a risk of the house-owner being prosecuted for employing "au noir"

Should any "helper" have an accident, the house-owner would be liable for all the hospitalisation costs as well as the fines associated with employing undeclared workers.

Some aspects of this were covered in this thread a while back.

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[quote user="Pads"]Thanks Clair as I thought .... so How are web sites like this allowed to advertise ?[8-)]

[/quote]

I guess they don't have to pay the price, so they don't care!

To be fair, it would be unrealistic to pretend it doesn't happen.

Speaking personally, I know I'd be looking over my shoulder all the time and frankly, I don't need the hassle!

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I see that wwoof's own websites refer to the legal situation in France as being difficult or even fragile. They even mention that board and lodgings equals employment under French law, so minimum wage and insurance cover should be complied with. They also say that some farms operate through the .uk website to remain under cover. Doesn't seem too promising if the Inspection de Travail drop by.

The wwoof.fr website doesn't seem to be working at the moment. Perhaps that's fragile as well.

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I must have been lucky, as the French WWOOF side worked for me (albeit rather slow, like a lot of French websites!) - and this is what it says

Pour le WWOOFer

Comment ça marche ?
Les hôtes vous accueillent comme un(e) ami(e), voire même comme quelqu'un de leur famille, c'est à dire que vous êtes nourri et logé à la même enseigne. De votre côté, vous avez la possibilité de donner de votre temps et participer aux différentes tâches sur la propriété, exploitation (jardin, potager, verger, fleurs, animaux…). Il n'y a cependant aucune obligation pour le WWOOFer d'effectuer tel ou tel tâche, si par exemple vous avez une faiblesse d'un membre, une allergie... ou autre il faut en parler avec votre hôte qui souhaite évidemment que votre séjour se déroule au mieux. L'idéal étant de discuter préalablement au téléphone des conditions de votre séjour (date, durée…) et de votre participation (animaux, cultures…) à la ferme avec votre hôte.

Attention : aucune des personnes ne doit percevoir d'argent, le but de WWOOF est de s'enrichir en rapports humains, de découvrir et d'apprendre dans une ambiance « écolo » UNIQUEMENT.

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Clair, Willing Workers On Organic Farms.  Basically, woofers are volunteers who spend their holidays with a host offering bed & board en famille, in return for labour.  I have friends that do this all over the world.  After staying here, they suggested that it would be considered a good wwoof venue.

Wwoofs tend to give short-term, full-time help.  It is advised that wwoofers, anywhere in the world, have their own insurance.

I couldn't find the info about France that you refer to BJSLIV, which site was that on?

A comment from a French wwoof host advises contact with government agencies, to find out if wwoofers need to be declared. HERE (that's almost enough to put me off the whole idea!)

It doesn't sound too promising but I see, from the French site, that there are hundreds of hosts in France. Has anybody used wwoofers or been a wwoofer in France?

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Actually, you can let someone who is on holiday at your house give you a hand.  You can even get insurance for it on your household insurance (assistance/aide benevole) in case they break a leg or something.  I checked this out when renovating our house and found there to be no obstacle providing they were not doing large jobs (i.e. re-wiring the house), were not paid,  and they had insurance for illness.  I think this would work just fine if someone came for just a couple of weeks and helped out so long as they were not doing anything dangerous.  In practice you have every right to have your friends/family staying at your house and helping you and unless you or they shouted it all round the village I don't see how anyone would even know who they were.  Many, many French people build their own houses only with help from their friends and neighbours.
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[quote user="Pads"]

Im looking at this and would love to have a couple of lads for the summer [;-)]

http://languedoc.angloinfo.com/r.asp?http://www.helpx.net/search_now_paging.asp?host_region=328&network=3

[/quote]

Not interested in a couple of woofters then?

They might not be able to reroof your barn but they should at least keep their room clean and tidy [6]

PS I did some woofng in New Zealand and it was definitely immoral but both parties were very pleased with the transaction!

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I am no expert, but just two thoughts which may have a bearing:

1) I remember some Brits in the Ariège were in trouble with the Fisc for trying a barter scheme.

2) I was employed for a while with a contract 'nourri blanchi ' basically board and lodging (blanchi implies your washing is done) and that counted as 'avantage en nature'

I think the difference with the situation Cerise describes is that the French friends and neighbours aren't being given accommodation ...

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  • 3 weeks later...

[quote user="Âme"]Has anybody used wwoofers or been a wwoofer in France?

[/quote]

As this topic has been revived through a link from another, I thought it worth pointing out that yesterday I met a wwoofer who is working in France.

I don't see a problem as long as they are properly insured, but of course just because they exist doesn't necesarily make them legal and official.

As we've already had the woofter gags, I'm just waiting for somebody to say something about replacing tiles on Jonathan Ross's house...

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  • 1 year later...
Hi...

Have read the links and it seems aimed at Wwoofers. Not sure if that includes us. Main thing seems to be making sure you are insured, etc.

Must add that Living France did an article on Housesitting in France about a year back (maybe more as my memory is failing!) and I don't remember any serious issues raised then. In fact it was a positive article. They also printed one of my pictures near the time showing one of our housesits.

Lastly, having been members and contributors to this Forum for several years (in different guises) I am surprised at the apparent "negative" reaction shown by some here for what is quite an innocent, helpful and obviously needy service which is all above board with no alternative fraud or getting around any laws (UK or otherwise) agenda.

I think our past acquaintances, who have invariably become our friends, have all been very grateful for our help.

Quel dommage!
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I am not trying to be negative. Just telling how it is. If you don't like it, well, that is up to you.

I can think of loads of things I could have done in France that would have been helpful and appreciated and in fact simple. Sadly french law said 'non' and so I couldn't do these things.

You want to work in France then do it the french way and not what you imagine to be good or fair.

I'll give an example of France that infuriated me. I used to run a very successful association. We were really really good at raising money, brilliant at it and the kids benefitted no end from our efforts. We were the first assoc in our region to start holding braderies and made a lot of money each year after working like dogs for three 18 hour days and the rest.Our braderie became well known and we could hardly cope with the numbers who came to sell and to buy. After our last good year, our Prefet decided that they would put a straight jacket on us and all the other assoc trying to make money.

The following year we had to get every last seller to do an attestation sur l'honneur that they had not done another braderie that year in the area, and I cannot remember the rest. If we had worked like dogs in the past then, that last year was a nightmare of administration and untenable. We stopped doing it.

The next dept along's Prefet allowed all braderies to continue, for there were many who had copied us, and the people from our village went to the next county to hold theirs from then on.

As we were 'rich', I decided that we should hold a raffle, with a car as first prize. We could afford to buy one and I was sure that we could sell lots of tickets and raise a lot of money. NON, not possible, there is a very small amount allowed to be spent on the first prize. Another idea down the drain.

And then there were less and less of us parents available to run the assoc and it has now merged with another club and all our efforts to raise funds for the kids in our village gone elsewhere.

Yes, life is not always fair or good, it is just life and one gets on with it and sticks by the rules.
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I think the answer to the question of the original post must be who knows?

I would rather have my place lived in than empty so this year a number of people, some family others not, have visited. The only payment I ask is €15 a night to cover electricity water wear and tear etc (not from direct family) but I do expect the place to be kept clean, grass cut, pool maintained etc etc. One visitor was happy to do a day of free labouring for a builder who was doing some work on one of the outbuildings, another stacked 10 stehr of logs for me which were delivered whilst they were there.

I would be astounded if anyone said I was doing anything illegal.
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This case was in the news recently - http://www.couchsurfing.org/group_read.html?gid=626&post=5309786.  France are the only country in the world to have taken this action which has been roundly condemned by international cultural exchange / voluntary organisations.  Unfortunately, France frequently refuses to accept 'non French' organisations in the same way that it refuses to recognise 'non French' qualifications.  IMHO, it is France that loses out.

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That is interesting.

Only a few weeks ago I saw a French current affairs program that included couchsurfing and woofing, they featured a very ungratefull yuppy couple that had woofed in NZ that were extremely put out that they were expected to work a few hours a day in return for their food and lodging, this they thought was slavery they also moaned that they were lodged in converted farm outbuildings.

Contrasted to that was a French organic farm that received woofers, the group featured were Japanese (the guy had in fact married an young Japanese woofer) and were happy to co-habit with the spiders in the converted barn, it wasnt the Ritz but far better than many of my neighbours living conditions.

At the time I decided that all I had read about voluntary work in France being illegal must have been rubbish as surely they would not have exposed themselves to prosecution by appearing on the box, now I am not so sure.

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That's exactly what we have been doing for people Stan. Living in a house whilst the owners return to the UK, go on holiday or in one case visit a dying relative.

In some cases we have been asked to feed the dogs/cats/horses and even African Snails. Unfortunately the snails (named Nigel & Nippy!) died after only 3 days under our care. That's another story!

Sometimes, if the stay is longer than a couple of weeks, the owners have also asked if we mind cutting the grass, etc.

No payment has ever changed hands by ourselves or the owners and we certainly don't consider it slavery. LOL Now we are friends with the owners, they ask us back over and over again.

The only thing I can spot with the recent previous links that have been posted, are that the people concerned were from outside the EU.
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I think this recent newspaper report makes it clear that WWoofing is considered to be illegal in France.

 

http://www.tribunedelyon.fr/index.php?actus//21609-le-wwoofing,-du-benevolat-illegal

 

It all revolves around the concept of a "lien de subordination".

In essence this says that if there exists a hierarchical relationship, where one person gives orders to another person, specifying such things as which tasks are to be done, then this creates  the famous lien de subordnation which can turns a volunteer into an employee. 

 

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But - as was clearly shown in the article you linked to - the WWOOFers volunteer their services and if the WWOOFer isn't happy they walk....  This isn't slavery.  In fact, to imply it is, belittles the real distress and trauma of those who experience true slavery.  IMHO it's nothing to do with protecting the volunteer and all about the French government getting their pound of flesh.  (Coupled with a little green eyed jealousy from the neighbours who report WWOOFers.)

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