Common sense dictates that if you're ill from flu or a heavy cold, you should crawl into bed until you feel well enough to go back to work. But common sense is not always the French way. When my husband took ill last week he fired off a barrage of emails and phone calls. Surely that would be everyone who needed to be informed, be informed. Just to be sure he added to call or email if anything else was required. Exhausted he crawled to his bed.
He had a nagging feeling that things couldn't be this straight forward, we had heard that doctors notes need to be presented a bit quicker here than in the UK. He checked his emails at regular intervals and therefore didn't get the rest he so desperately needed.
At 4pm we received an email outlining all the hoops you have to jump through if you have the misfortune to be ill.
1. You need to visit a doctor within 48 hours.
2. The doctor will give you a form and tell you until which date you are signed off.
3. You need to fill out this form and dispatch a copy to your employer and the CPAM (The state health care department)
My husband could therefor not go into work the next day, but instead had to visit the doctor. She gave him a bewildering array of pills and potions.
Then I did some more digging and cheerfully told my husband all this was just for the sake of bureaucracy, the first 3 days you are off here in France are unpaid anyway. (It's just so all your social securities etc continue to be paid)
So in France one doesn't take to ones bed to get better, you take pills and fill out forms. No wonder there is a pharmacy on every street corner.