At Work in Paris

Social Security in Paris

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Social security contributions cover health care, retirement, unemployment benefit and other services. There are several different schemes.

  • Régime Générale - Employees. Covers over 80% of the population
  • Régimes Autonomes - Non-agricultural, self-employed
  • Régimes Agricoles - Agricultural work
  • Régimes Spéciaux Special categories, like civil servants

Social Security Number

Employees should request a Social Security number (INSEE code). Numbers can be requested by contacting the local Social Security office (Caisse primaire d'assurance maladie- CPAM). It may take several months to receive your number, but you should receive a temporary number in the meantime.

Employers should register new employees with the Union de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d'Allocations Familiales (URSSAF). This governing body manages social security and unemployment insurance. Once registered, a certificate of affiliation is issued for the proper scheme.

Régime Générale

Almost all salaried employees are included in this scheme. Dependents (spouses and children) are covered automatically. Foreign workers whose registered office is outside of France are usually not subject to the general scheme.


The social security system in France is funded directly through social security contributions rather than general taxation. The system is complex, but rates are basically based on a percentage of salary. It is estimated that employer social security contributions amount to an average of around 30% of an employees salary. This is a lower amount than accessible, but the many deductions allow for a lower rates. Contributions paid by business owners are tax deductible.

    Example of Rates
  • Family Benefits - Employer pays 5.40%; Employee 0%
  • Health/Sickness - Employer pays 13.10%; Employee 0.75%
  • Social Charges (CSG/CRDS etc) - Employer pays 0%; Employees 8.0%
  • Accident at Work - Employer pays 3%; Employees 0%
  • Unemployment Benefit - Employer pays 4.40%; Employees 2.40%
  • Main Pension - Employer pays 9.90%; Employees 6.75%
  • Complementary Pension - Employer pays 16.45%; Employee 11%
  • Total - Employer pays 52%; Employee 29%


Sickness Insurance

All legal residents in France are entitled to benefit from the French health care system. If an employed person that has been contributing to the social security system is too ill to work, they usually receive 50% of their average gross daily pay. This starts from the fourth day of their absence from work. Which meansEmployers continue to pay all or part of salary and directly receive refunds for the daily allowance from social security.

A medical certificate given by a doctor is mandatory to get sick-leave (therefore even for 1 day you need to see a doctor in order to be off-work). Although some companies (usually the large ones, with conditions such as employed longer than 12 months) may carry on paying the same salary, in most companies the first 3 days will be unpaid or removed as holidays (which is why in most cases doctors will give a certificate for longer than 3 days).


The health care system covers 100% of all costs related to pregnancy and childbirth. Maternity leave allows new mothers to take time away from work and lasts a minimum of sixteen weeks. Leave can be taken up to six months and can be taken before the due date (la date présumée).

Maternity pay is designed to allow the mother to take time off work to have a child. The amount of benefit depends on the average daily pay over the preceding three months to the leave. If the baby is late, leave is extended automatically and is not deducted from the total. The remainder of the sixteen weeks are taken as postnatal leave (repos postnatal). The employee can decide to shorten maternity leave, but eight weeks are mandatory (six being after the birth). After the third child an employee can get longer maternity leave: 8 weeks before the date of birth and 18 after.

Accidents and Occupational Illnesses

This insurance covers accidents at or traveling to/from work and occupational illnesses. While medical costs are covered by health insurance, this fund covers pay for the time away from work. The allowance is paid from the first day of incapacity of working, so the employer needs to be informed as soon as possible. Provide information about the event and names/addresses of witnesses (if applicable). The benefit is equal to 60% of gross daily pay for the first 28 days, and up to 80% after 28 days.

Invalidity Insurance

This insurance compensates for a reduction in the ability to work and the consequent loss of earnings. It is awarded on a temporary basis and may be reviewed at any time.

    To be eligible
  • Medically assessed as at least two-thirds disabled
  • Aged under 60 (Over age 60, old-age pension scheme applies)
  • Registered in and contributing to the social security system for more then 6 months
  • Willing to undertake any required medical examination

If someone is permanently incapable of work, they may be eligible to receive a pension. Pension is calculated on the average of your highest 10 years of annual income and paid at 30% of the average. If not in paid employment, the pension is equal to 50% of this average. In addition, you are entitled to 100% reimbursement of all heath care costs. Pensions and allowances are payable even if you subsequently move to another EU county.

Update 13/02/2013


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