If you are a French civil servant you can claim the prostitutes’ charges from the State as your travel expenses

Zoé Shepard, her pen name, confirmed France’s worst fears about its “fonctionnaires” – its 5.2 million civil servants – in a book recounting how they compete to see who will hover longest at the coffee machine, draw up sick notes to stay weeks away from the office or while away the day on Facebook.

In Absolument Dé-bor-dé (Absolutely Snowed Under), subtitled How to Make 35 hours Last a Month, nepotism is rife and taxpayer’s money wasted, with one local civil servant even signing off his visit to a prostitute as “travel expenses”.

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