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Business in France

Sickness Benefits Reduced for Auto-Entrepreneurs

Tuesday 03 March 2015

Entitlement to sickness has been removed to auto-entrepreneurs who earn below a minimum threshold.

In a announcement that has not come as a great surprise to most observers, the social security agency for the self-employed, the Régime social des indépendants (RSI), last month issued a regulation that introduces an minimum income condition to obtain entitlement to sickness benefit.

Accordingly, an auto-entrepreneur will now be required to earn a minimum of €3,804 per annum in order to obtain entitlement to sickness benefits.

Although the threshold does not seem excessive, it is likely to hit many new small businesses who are finding difficuly in getting it going. Over 50% of auto-entrepreneurs in France have a turnover below this figure, so the change is going to hit at least one in two of them.

Other aspects of the entitlement to sickness benefit remained unchanged. These require that you need to have been RSI affiliated for a minimum of one year and to up to date with your social security contributions – your cotisations.

As a general rule, cover is not available for the first seven days of your illness or accident, a waiting period (délai de carence) that reduces to three days in the event of hospitalisation.

The amount of the sickness benefit payable is not a fixed sum, but 50% of your daily earnings (revenu journalier) over the past three years (or shorter period if you have not been in business for this long).

However, this entitlement is subject to minimum and maximum payments limits. The minimum amount payable is currently €20,84 per day, while the maximum payable is €52,01 per day. It is payable for up to one year over a period of three years.

Neither does the change affect entitlement to medical care; all auto-entrepreneurs and their dependents continue to have an automatic entitlement to health cover, irrespective of the level of turnover.

Entitlements to maternity benefits have also been substantially reduced to auto-entrepreneurs on a low income, with the level of the maternity grant (l'allocation forfaitaire de repos maternité et les indemnités journalières) reduced by 10, from €3,129 to €312.

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