11. Social Security Contributions in France
11.1. Structure of Social Security System
A self-employed person 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, but under very strict rules. It is also possible to obtain cover under private insurance, but it expensive to do so.
When you register your business the Centre de Formalities will notify the social security agency.
Hitherto, there have been a multitude of bodies responsible for the administration of social security contributions and services to the self employed.
The picture is still a complex one, but in recent years the government has taken steps to rationalise the institutional framework for all non-agricultural professions.
The two main agencies with whom you will come into contact are the Régime Sociale des Travailleurs Indépendants (RSI) and the Union de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d’Allocations Familiales (URSAFF) Those in one of the agricultural professions use the Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA).
The Régime Sociale des Travailleurs Indépendants (RSI) was formed in 2006 and brings together three insurance funds previously responsible for the providing insurance cover for health, invalidity, maternity and pensions to the self employed.
If you are one of the professions libérales you will obtain health cover from the RSI, but many of you will continue to pay into a separate pension fund administered through an umbrella body called the Caisse Nationale d'Assurance Vieillesse des Professions Libérales (CIPAV). The name of the actual fund will depend on your professional activity.
IMPORTANT Since 1 January 2018, social insurance cover for the self-employed provided by the RSI has been transferred to the general social security system, which already covers most of the French population. In addition, most professions covered by CIPAV will transfer out of the fund, although existing affiliates can remain with it.
A transitional period of two years is provided for in order to gradually integrate the management of social security for self-employed workers into the general scheme.
During this period, the social security agencies for the self-employed will continue to intervene on behalf of the general scheme with self-employed workers.
If you are in one of the artistic professions (painter, sculptor etc) then you will to contact with La Maison Des Artistes, whilst authors will need to make contact with 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..
The other agency you will come into contact with will be a body Union de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d’Allocations Familiales (URSAFF).
URSSAF is the main social security contributions collections agency, who remain responsible for the calculation and recovery of certain social security contributions. The contributions are for family benefits, a training levy, and the social charges CSG/CRDS.
If you wish to establish a micro-entreprise, the basis of social contributions is different and you can read about it in our dedicated guide at Micro-Entrepreneur Business in France.
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