Guide to Starting a Business in France

11. Social Security Contributions in France

  1. Organisational Structure
  2. Contribution Rates
  3. Relief from Contributions
  4. Social Security Benefits

11.1. Structure of Social Security System

A business owner pays social security contributions for health care, family allowances, invalidity, pension and death.

They do not pay contributions for unemployment insurance, but since 2019 they have an entitlement to unemployment benefit, albeit under very strict rules. You can read more at Unemployment Benefit for Business Owners. It is also possible to obtain cover under private insurance, but it expensive to do so.

When you register your business the business registration centre, the Centre de Formalities, will notify the social security agency.

Hitherto, there have been a multitude of social insurance funds responsible for the administration of social security contributions and services to the self employed.

In recent years the government has taken steps to rationalise the institutional framework for all non-agricultural professions.

Since 2018 the main social insurance agency for the self-employed the Régime Sociale des Travailleurs Indépendants (RSI) has been in an abolition phase, which will be completed 1st January 2020.

In terms of social security contributions the Union de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d’Allocations Familiales (URSSAF) are the main social security contributions collections agency, who will take complete responsibility for the recovery of social security contributions.

Business owners will transfer over to their local health authority, the Caisses Primaires d’Assurance Maladie (CPAM) for health cover.

For retirement pensions, they will transfer to the national pension insurance fund, the CNAV, run through regional offices called the Caisses d'Assurance Retraite et de la Santé au Travail (Carsat).

Some professions will continue to use their existing retirement fund, such as many professions liberales.

Those in one of the agricultural professions will continue to use the Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA).

We published an article about the new social insurance arrangements which you can find at Social Insurance Shake-Up for Small Business Owners.

If you are in one of the artistic professions (painter, sculptor etc) the social insurance funds for artists is La Maison Des Artistes, whilst for authors it is AGESSA. However, as with the RSI these bodies are having their role reduced, as we set out in our article Social Security in France for Artists and Authors.

Those who run their business as a micro-entreprise, will continue to pay social security contributions to URSSAF. You can read about their arrangements in our dedicated guide at Micro-Entrepreneur Business in France.

Next: Contribution Levels

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