Social coverage in France is very largely made up of contributions to funds which are fixed by law or by the collective bargaining agreement and are thus the same for all companies in the same area of activity.

Consequently, unlike in many other countries, employees do not normally try to negotiate these statutory benefits during the hiring phase.  They are more likely to focus on base salary, variable compensation and expenses.

Social Security (URSSAF)

In a nutshell, Social Security in France covers the following areas:

  • Healthcare costs : generally refunds patients around 50-70% of most healthcare costs, or 100% in the case of costly or long-term illness.  Medical costs are managed by local centers called CPAMs (Centres Primaire d’Assurance Maladie – www.ameli.fr).
  • Maternity and sick leave : sick leave is paid from day 4 onwards and is capped at 44.34€ gross/day, while paternity leave (11 calendar days) and maternity leave (16 weeks) are capped at 86€/day.
  • Disability insurance : compensates for loss of income if the ability to work is impacted. Amount of indemnity depends on level on disability.
  • Basic pension fund paid from age 62 (sometimes earlier if born before 1951), and also paid to surviving spouse upon death (60% of pension amount).
  • Life insurance : approximately 3 months of salary (capped at 9 933 € in 2018) paid out to heirs of deceased employee.
  • Work accidents : benefits for work-related injury or sickness (100% reimbursement of medical costs and better sick leave pay than for ‘normal’ sickness).
  • Family benefits include assistance with childcare costs and the costs incurred with a new birth (PAJE : infant accommodation benefit)
  • Housing benefits paid out to support social housing and housing aid for low-income households.

Spouses and dependent children of an employee or retired person are also covered if they reside in France.

There is the same level of coverage whatever the level of salary for healthcare costs.  For the other benefits, the level of coverage is proportional to salary, but capped.

For an extensive explanation of your employees’ rights in France, please visit the CLEISS website.

Unemployment benefits (Pole Emploi)

This covers loss of employment (except in the case of resignation) and benefits are proportional to salary.

In general, if an employee is made redundant, or concludes an amicable termination agreement with his employer, he/she will get 57 % of average gross salary as unemployment benefits for up to 2 years (or 3 years if over 55 years old).

Please read the European Commission’s documentation on unemployment benefits in France, in English, for more details.

The ‘Pole Emploi’ also provides a wide variety of programs and financial aid for employees creating a business, training, etc.

Pension plans

These are additional pension funds, on top of the basic pension provided by the Social Security.  The contribution rules are set by law, are identical for all employers and are proportional to salary and employee ‘status’.

Pension funds are managed by organisations, usually private insurance organisations, which are designated according to a complex system which depends on the activity branch of the company, collective bargaining agreement, geographic area etc.

The contributions are split into two types, with different rates applicable :

  • ARRCO for all non-cadre employees (whatever their salary) and for all cadre (executive) employees (for the first 3 311 € */ month of their salary)
  • AGIRC for all cadre employees for the part of the salary over 3311€*/year

More information is available in French here on the official website, or in English here on the European Commission website.

* for 2018

Life & disability coverage (‘Prévoyance’)

Covers death, prolonged sick leave and disability risks.

Contrary to URSSAF, Pole Emploi and Pension funds, the rates are not determined by law, but by branch, through the collective bargaining agreement applicable to your activity branch.

The rates (and consequently the coverage) are also a minimum and the employer can choose to cover more.
The only legal minimum applicable to all employers is that for cadre (management-level) employees. Contributions are a 1.5% rate on the first bracket of their salary (up to SS limit – 3 311 € in 2018), for minimum death capital coverage.

In our Neteem PEO package

We provide an improved coverage contract, for a slightly higher contribution than the Syntec collective bargaining agreement minimum (a few euros/month difference), the detail of which can be found below. Due to the volume effect (Malakoff Mederic covers all the Syntec branch companies), the rates are comparatively low for the level of coverage they provide.

Coverage under Neteem’s PEO contract includes for our consultants :

  • Death capital : if the employee dies, heirs will receive 320% of annual salary, doubled in case of accidental death, with a minimum of 340% of annual SS limit (135 089€ minimum in 2018) + 96% annual salary per dependent child and +100% annual salary in case of simultaneous death of spouse
  • Education allowance : if the employees has dependent children in school/university when he dies, a yearly education allowance for children under 26 of :
    • 12% of annual salary (minimum of 24% of annual SS limit i.e. 9 536 € in 2018), for children under 18 and
    • 15% of annual salary (with a minimum of 30% of annual SS limit i.e. 11 920 € in 2018), will be paid out to heirs, doubled in case of orphan child
  • Disability/long-term sick leave income : if the employee has an accident/sickness which prevents him/her from working at 100%, the insurance fund will supplement the person’s income after the first 90 days up to 80% of annual salary for long-term sick leave, and between 40-80% depending on the level of disability for permanent disabilities.

Details of Neteem’s coverage can be downloaded here.

Health coverage (or ‘Mutuelle’)

Covers part or all of the difference between actual healthcare expenses and the part covered by the Social Security – which already covers approx. 100% of all ‘serious’ healthcare costs and around 70% of ‘everyday’ healthcare costs.

As of 2016, it has become compulsory for employers to provide a private health insurance to complement the healthcare reimbursements of French Social Security.

This is provided by private insurers with a variety of coverage levels/rates,  with minimums set by law and collective bargaining agreements. This coverage will thus be slightly different from one employer to the next – but bear in mind the vital and major part of healthcare costs are already reimbursed through Social Security in France.

In our Neteem PEO package

Neteem provides the level of coverage set by the SYNTEC collective bargaining agreement (applicable for all consulting & technology companies). Due to the volume effect of this compulsory benefit (Malakoff Mederic covers virtually all the Syntec branch companies), the cost is relatively low for the level of coverage it provides (47€/month in 2017 for coverage of employee and children, split 50/50 between employee and employer). The children of the employee are automatically covered for that cost.

The employee can also opt to register his spouse or partner and can also choose higher levels of coverage if need be. The extra cost of these will be his sole responsibility (up to 47 €/month for option 3 coverage of employee & children, and between 34€-74€ for basic – to option 3 spouse coverage ). The contributions for the options will be dealt with through payroll, deducted from net pay.

It is compulsory coverage, and thus must be proposed to any new employee.
However, there are a few cases when the employee can refuse the coverage (e.g. if they are already covered by their spouse’s compulsory coverage, or if they are on a short-term contract and want to keep thier own coverage etc.)

Details of the levels of coverage and options/costs available can be downloaded here.