In France, after five years of professional activity in a row, you can ask for your employer to let you go for a year. Even when not having worked for your last company for five years. In big companies like mine, your project can be refuse once, but not twice, and you have six months to ask again. I’m using the word “project” on purpose because you need to have something precise to do for that period of time, not just refurbishing your flat or whatever. And your departure shouldn’t jeopardize the company’s activities. That’s why it’s more difficult when you work in a small one.
You can leave up to eleven months and the company has to take you back at the same income level, in a “equivalent” position.
Meanwhile, of course, you don’t get paid, you loose your health insurance, and you don’t add trimesters to your pension calculation.
I discussed my “plan” with my managers. I had focussed so much on their possible refusal and the need for me to sound convincing that, when they did accept – which they did immediately – I was astonished. Fuck, it all was becoming real.
I wrote my official letter to my Human Resources contact, and then it all began…