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French state-subsidised furloughs to cost more than 20 billion euros: minister

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s state-subsidised furlough programme will cost more than 20 billion euros ($21.73 billion), Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud said on Thursday.

Penicaud said 628,000 companies and associations had put nearly 7 million workers on furlough under the programme, which allows firms to be reimbursed by the state for up to 84% of a workers’ wages.

“The cost for the state and (the state-backed unemployment fund) Unedic … I think it will be more than 20 billion euros,” Penicaud said on BFM TV.

(Reporting by Nicolas Delame; Writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Alison Williams)