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France to pay relatives who care for dying

FRANCE'S lower house of parliament unanimously passed a law yesterday granting government payments to those who take time off work to care for dying relatives in their final days.

French law already allows people to take up to six months of unpaid leave to care for a dying family member. The new bill would allow people who leave work in such circumstances to receive 49 euros (US$62) a day for up to three weeks.

Unusually, the law enjoyed across-the-board support by legislators on left and right in the National Assembly. It now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to pass.

It's estimated the bill would affect about 20,000 families a year and cost a total of 20 million euros.

"The adoption of this payment will be a real sign of progress for all of us," Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said. The dying, "reassured and at home, will be able to depart more serenely," she said. And their caretakers "will be able to accompany a loved one in the best conditions."


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