France

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Source: EURES The European Job Mobility Portal. For up-to-date information visit the Living and Working Conditions section about France on the EURES Portal.

How to find a job

APPROACH THE FOLLOWING BODIES:

   1.PÔLE EMPLOI (French governmental employment agency)

All towns have a Pôle Emploi office which will help you in your search for a job. You can register at the office closest to where you live. For more information, call 0033177863949 or visit the website: www.pole-emploi.fr

   2.EURES (European employment services)

Eures advisers, who are attached to Pôle Emploi in a network dedicated to the international market, will guide you in your search on your arrival in France.
See website: www.eures.europa.eu

   3.APEC (Managerial Staff Employment Association) helps executives (positions of responsibility) and young graduates in their search for employment.
See website: www.apec.fr

   4.TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES charge the employer for their services, not the job seeker. See website: www.prisme.eu

   5.RECRUITMENT AGENCIES

These agencies are contracted by companies to manage the recruitment of certain highly skilled staff or those entrusted with positions of responsibility.

Examples of websites to visit: www.cadremploi.fr - www.cadresonline.com

CONSULT:

   1.COMPANY WEBSITES

Companies often have a ‘Recruitment’ area. Use a search engine or business directory to find their internet address. You can also search the following website: www.pagesjaunes.fr

   2.WRITTEN PRESS

The specialised trade press enables companies to recruit staff by publishing their vacancies. You will find all titles and their links at: www.press-directory.com

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How to apply for a job

OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT THE DESIRED JOB

   1.The employer’s name is given in the job ad or you are sending an unsolicited application: obtain information about the employer in order to adapt your Curriculum Vitae and cover letter and prepare for your interview.

   2.The employer’s name is not given: work on your application by adapting your CV and/or cover letter based on the terms used in the job ad.

WORK ON YOUR APPLICATION TOOLS

   1.Civil status: First name, SURNAME, address, telephone number (with the international dialling code) and email address. Marital status, age and nationality (if you a national from the European Economic Area) are optional.

   2.Title: State the desired position, possibly including your strengths, for example: ‘TRILINGUAL SALES ASSISTANT – French-English-Spanish’.

   3.experience: include one paragraph per job, noting the dates, the position held, the company name, the economic sector and location, and detailing your responsibilities, tasks, results and the skills you applied. Your CV can be arranged in reverse chronological order (giving the last job first), in chronological order (from your first to your last job, which is used less and less), by skill (covering several jobs) or a combination of the above (by skill, with the company names and dates).

   4.Education: give the dates when you obtained your qualifications and their equivalent in the French educational system.  See this website ‘4.  Living conditions 4.7 Educational systems’. 

   5.Language and computer skills: for languages, give your mother tongue. For French, specify your reading, writing and speaking levels.

   6.Another section (often entitled ‘Interests’): if you have already stayed in France, do not hesitate to mention it.

For more information, go to the Pôle Emploi website, specifically the ‘Vos services en ligne’ section [Your online services] via the following link: 

//www.pole-emploi.fr/candidat/mes-services-en-ligne-@/index.jspz?id=77399">https://www.pole-emploi.fr/candidat/mes-services-en-ligne-@/index.jspz?id=77399

For more information, go to the Pôle Emploi website, specifically the ‘Vos services en ligne’ section [Your online services] via the following link: 

//www.pole-emploi.fr/candidat/mes-services-en-ligne-@/index.jspz?id=77399">https://www.pole-emploi.fr/candidat/mes-services-en-ligne-@/index.jspz?id=77399

For more information, go to the Pôle Emploi website, specifically the ‘Organiser sa recherche’ section [Preparing for your job search] via the following link: https://www.emploi-store.fr/portail/centredinteret/preparersacandidature/organiserSaRecherche

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Finding accommodation

If you are looking for short-term accommodation, there are many options: hotels, aparthotels, self-catering accommodation (apartments or lodges), B&Bs, etc. See the following websites: www.pagesjaunes.fr - www.tourisme.fr

You may be able to find accommodation through your contacts, but also:

Websites to visit: www.seloger.fr  - www.explorimmo.fr - www.avendrealouer.fr

Estate agencies act as intermediaries between the tenant/purchaser and the owner. They organise visits and draw up rental/sale contracts. They are paid through commission (for rental: the amount generally corresponds to one month’s rent).  Contact details for many estate agents can be found on the website:www.fnaim.fr

All private companies with more than 10 employees must pay a contribution, known as ‘1% logement’ [1% accommodation], to approved building organisations. In return, they enjoy preferential access to a stock of rental accommodation with preferential rental conditions.

If you meet the required criteria, you may apply for a local HLM (low-rent housing) organisation via the prefecture or town hall.

For more information on the procedures and costs, see ‘4.  Living conditions 4.5 Accommodation’ on this website.

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Recognition of diplomas and qualifications

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:
- An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
- The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents

   1.a CV (Curriculum Vitae),

   2.a language passport,

   3.certificate supplements,

   4.diploma supplements, and

   5.a Europass-Mobility document.

The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

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Kinds of employment

To find out about your employment rights in France, you should refer to the Labour Code. 

THE MINIMUM LEGAL AGE for working is 16. However, in some cases strictly laid down by law, the employment of young people under 16 is allowed:

TYPES OF CONTRACTS

There are two main types of contracts: permanent contracts and fixed-term contracts (the latter must be used in the cases and under the conditions laid down by law).

EXAMPLES OF WHEN FIXED-TERM CONTRACTS ARE USED:

In the private sector, a contract can take 3 different forms. In principle, they are permanent but, in certain cases exhaustively listed by law, 

they can be for a fixed term (a term is provided for). The law also provides for the possibility of concluding assignment contracts on a temporary basis. Each form of contract is subject to specific rules.

OTHER TYPES OF CONTRACTS

This type of contract is governed by the same rules as the fixed-term contract and is characterised by the relationship between:

the temporary employment agency,

the assigned employee,

the customer.

The ‘contract d'extra’ or customary contract is a particular type of fixed-term contract which allows an employer to hire an employee for the execution of a specific and temporary job (from a few hours to several days). This contract can be used only to meet occasional and immediate needs for a particular position. Such a contract can only be concluded in strictly defined sectors of activity.

This type of contract is signed with a company in an industry sector which experiences genuine fluctuations throughout the year that it cannot always foresee.

This type of contract is aimed at young people, aged 16 to 25, who want to obtain a professional qualification. 

The contract known as the senior fixed-term contract is a fixed-term contract which aims to facilitate the return to employment of seniors and allow them to acquire additional rights for drawing their pension. The duration of such a contract is specifically regulated.

This employment contract guarantees temporary employees a minimum monthly remuneration during idle periods between two assignments.

Specific employment contracts exist to promote the recruitment of certain categories of unemployed people.

‘Contrat unique d'insertion’ [single integration contract] (CUI) - ‘Parcours emploi compétences’ [employment skills course] (PEC) ‘Contrat unique d'insertion’ [single integration contract] (CUI) - ‘Parcours emploi compétences’ [employment skills course] (PEC)

The ‘contrat unique d'insertion’ [single integration contract] (CUI) combines training and/or professional support for its beneficiary and financial assistance for the employer. Its purpose is to facilitate the hiring of people who have difficulty finding a job. 

A ‘contrat adultes-relais’ [community outreach contract] allows particular unemployed people to carry out local social and cultural mediation assignments as part of a back-to-work contract. Age and residency conditions must also be met. The employer must be an administration, an association or a private company responsible for managing a public service.

For more information, see the following section of this website ‘Working conditions 3.5 Specific working categories’.

Seasonal work

The French labour code defines seasonal works as those whose tasks are usually repeated each year on roughly fixed dates according to the pace of the seasons (agriculture,…) or of collective lifestyles (tourism,…). The seasonal nature of the job is a reason allowing the use of a fixed-term contract or a temporary contract with many particularities:

The “grape harvest” contract is a specific seasonal contract which allows hiring an employee for the preparation of the harvest, its realisation and the equipment storage work. It also has many particularities:

Labour market information

In France, we had between April 2018 and March 2019 a little more than 1 million seasonal workers. Half of them are hired in tourism activities including accommodation and catering. A quarter is hired in agriculture.

Seasonal jobs can be found on the French public employment service website: www.pole-emploi.fr. The French government launched a specific application to publish job offers for the essential sectors during the Covid-19 crisis. Now that the lockdown period is finished, this application is now dedicated to publish seasonal job offers: https://mobilisationemploi.gouv.fr/. 

Pôle Emploi launched another application dedicated to matching jobseekers and employers without the need of a CV where seasonal jobs are also proposed: https://maintenant.pole-emploi.fr/ 

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Employment contracts

PERMANENT CONTRACTS

The French Labour Code states that certain information must be given to the employee in writing, but not necessarily through a contract:

OTHER CONTRACTS

The French Labour Code states that a written contract is required for fixed-term contracts, apprenticeship contracts, etc.

AMENDING EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS

A distinction must be made between ‘changes to working conditions’, which the employer can decide unilaterally (hours, dates of leave, etc.), and ‘amendments to the employment contract’, which require the employee’s agreement and which concern:

One exception to this is where the employee has agreed to the amendment in advance, for example, a mobility clause or non-competition clause under certain conditions. The employer must notify the employee of the amendment.  Failure by the employee to respond is taken as acceptance.

CONTRACT TERMINATION

This is a significant reform of the Labour Code that implements the ‘Macron orders’ or ‘Orders of the Labour law’ of 22 September 2017 which gives company agreements a decisive role on many social issues.

A fixed-term contract can be renewed more than 2 times. The maximum number of times a fixed-term contract could possibly be renewed is fixed by a convention or agreement pronounced by the French Minister of Labour. In practice, this means that an agreement may very well provide for an employee’s work contract to be renewed 3 times, if not more.

It is only in case of failure to make this stipulation in the convention or agreement that the fixed-term contract is renewable 2 times for a fixed-term.

The purpose and result of this period cannot be to durably provide for a job that is linked to the company’s standard and permanent operations.

-Permanent contracts for work sites

The 2017 Labour Code reform has broadened the scope of use of permanent work site contracts, which are no longer reserved for the construction and public works sector. The work site contract or a contract for operations is a type of permanent contract. This type of contract allows an employer to hire employees to carry out a body of work or specific works, of which the exact end date cannot be determined in advance.

Permanent contracts can be terminated by the employer or the employee.

See the following section on this website: ‘Working conditions 3.10 End of employment’.

Websites to visit: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr www.service-public.fr ; http://www.editions-legislatives.fr/ordonnance-macron

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Working time

BACKGROUND

In France the legal working week is 35 hours in all companies. The working day may not exceed 10 hours.

Furthermore, employees may not work for more than 4½ hours without a break. The maximum working day may be extended to 12 hours under a collective agreement.

In principle, employees may not work more than 48 hours per week, or 44 hours per week on average over 12 consecutive weeks (up to a maximum of 46 hours, under certain conditions).

Employees must be permitted to take breaks, lasting a minimum of 20 minutes, at least every 6 hours.

As part of the collective negotiation, the amended Article L 3121-19 of the French Labour Code indicates that the maximum daily amount of time actually worked can be extended:

YOUNG PEOPLE

The maximum working day for under 18-year-olds and apprentices is 8 hours (7 hours per day for under 16-year-olds working during school holidays).

For under 18-year-olds and apprentices, the absolute maximum working week is 35 hours.

Employers must grant employees who are subject to the obligation to attend professional courses during their workday the necessary freedom with regard to this obligation.

The time spent training in an educational institution is considered to be time spent actually working.

REST PERIOD

All employees must be allowed a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours (9 hours in certain cases depending on collective agreements).

The weekly rest period is often taken on Sundays.

It is forbidden to make an employee work more than 6 days per week. The weekly rest period must be at least 35 consecutive hours. However, exceptions may call the employees right to a weekly rest period into question. Special provisions apply to all employees under the age of 18.

OVERTIME

The overtime worked by the employee is paid under the following conditions:

The payment of overtime is subject to an increased rate, fixed by a company or institution convention or collective agreement (or, failing that, a branch convention or agreement). Each rate is fixed at a minimum of 10%.

It should be noted that many exceptions exist, especially under collective agreements.

Some managerial staff classed as ‘non-office-based’ work more than 35 hours a week but receive additional days of leave.

Employees may need to work overtime beyond the applicable yearly quota. The conditions to fulfil this overtime are fixed by a company or institution convention or collective agreement (or, failing that, a branch convention or agreement).

In the absence of an agreement or convention, the rates of increase are fixed at:

However, the payment of overtime can be, fully or partially, replaced by an equivalent compensatory rest period. This rest period is implemented by a convention or an agreement (or, failing that, by the employer, unless staff representatives express their objection). In this case, the rest period is equivalent to the increased remuneration. For instance, one hour of overtime that would, in principle, be paid at an increased rate of 50 % gives the right to an equivalent compensatory rest period (i.e. one and a half hour).

NIGHT WORK

Night work performed between 21:00 and 06:00 may not, in principle, exceed 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week (44 hours if authorised by decree or collective agreement). Night work is compensated by weekly rest periods or extra pay.

Employed pregnant women who work at night must be given daytime work during their pregnancy and during their legal postnatal leave if they so request.

See website: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr

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Leave (annual leave, parental leave, etc.)

ANNUAL PAID LEAVE

All employees are entitled to paid leave once they have worked at least one month during the reference period (which runs from 1 June of the previous year to 31 May of the ongoing year). 

Therefore, employees are entitled to two and a half working days of leave per month worked, i.e. five weeks of paid leave per year worked.

In principle, only the periods actually spent working are taken into account when calculating the entitlement to paid leave. Periods of absence from work are not counted. However, certain periods are regarded as periods actually worked (annual leave of the previous year, maternity leave, training leave, or sick leave) if the collective agreement specifies this.

Dates of paid leave are decided by mutual agreement between the employer and the employee, or, failing that, by the employer.

OTHER TYPES OF LEAVE

Eligibility for some of these types of leave may be conditional upon the length of service in the company or the minimum contributions paid to the public social security scheme.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

In France, 11 public holidays are provided for by law (Article L. 3133-1 of the Labour Code): 1 January, Easter Monday, 1 May (Labour Day), 8 May (End of the Second World War), Ascension Thursday, Whit Monday, 14 July (Bastille Day), 15 August (Assumption), 1 November (All Saints), 11 November (End of the First World War) and 25 December (Christmas Day).

Only 1 May is a guaranteed paid holiday. The other public holidays are, generally, only paid if they fall on an ordinary working day.

Are non-working public holidays compulsory?

An employee can work on public holidays. Non-working public holidays are set out in a company or institution agreement or, failing that, a branch convention or agreement. In the absence of an agreement, it is the employer who specifies non-working public holidays.

Only 1 May is compulsorily non-working for all employees; however, it is possible to work on 1 May in establishments and services that cannot interrupt their activity. Those provisions are public policy.

There may be other public holidays in a region or in particular departments. For example, in the departments of Moselle, Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin, the list of holidays and non-working days is laid down by Article L. 3134-16 of the Labour Code:
26 December - Good Friday

See website: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr

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Remuneration

SMIC (guaranteed minimum wage)

In France, the SMIC is the minimum wage that an employee can be paid. 

Only apprentices and young employees may be paid less than the SMIC. Collective agreements set minimum wages in line with employees’ qualifications, but these may never be less than the SMIC.

The gross amount of the SMIC in 2020 based on the legal working time, i.e. 35 hours per week or 151.67 hours per month, is EUR 1,539.50. 

The net SMIC amount which the employee receives depends on the company concerned and on the social contributions linked to the sector of activity. For home-based employees, the net SMIC amount stands at EUR 8.68 per hour. 

SMIC gross hourly rate:  EUR 10.15 in 2020.

DEDUCTIONS

In France, the only payroll deductions are social security contributions, as taxes have been deducted at source since 1 January 2019 and affect the income of the ongoing year. However, employees must declare their annual income in May.  

The difference between gross and net pay is around 23%. The amount of the tax levy depends on the tax rate. It can be deducted as a lump sum or in instalments. For more information: www.impots.gouv.fr

PAYSLIPS

In principle, wages are paid monthly, on the same date each month and generally by bank transfer.
 Each employee must be given a payslip.

This payslip must include specific information:

The payslip must also state that the employee should keep the payslip indefinitely. This may be worded as follows: ‘pour vous aider à faire valoir vos droits, conservez ce bulletin de paie sans limitation de durée’ (please keep this payslip indefinitely as evidence of your rights). The employer must also keep these payslips, for five years after they have been issued.

Payslips should not refer to instances where employees can exercise the right to strike or to perform staff representation activities: 

See website: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr

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End of employment

WAYS TO TERMINATE A CONTRACT

There are no formal requirements governing resignation. However, it is advisable to give written notice (sent by registered letter with an acknowledgement of receipt) because the employee must give prior notice unless this occurs within the trial period.

There are three stages to the procedure for individual dismissal: 

This occurs when a job is cut or changed due to economic difficulties or technological changes. It is subject, under certain conditions, to an obligation to redeploy workers and set up an employment protection plan.

Fixed-term contracts end when their term expires. No prior notice needs to be given. A lack of job security bonus of 10% is payable.

Contractual termination is a type of termination by mutual consent. In order to be valid, the parties must follow a procedure during which they negotiate and sign a termination agreement, which must be approved by the relevant Regional Directorate for Business, Competition, Consumer Affairs, Labour and Employment (DIRECCTE) or by the labour inspectorate for protected employees (staff representatives, occupational doctor).

This is not a form of termination of the employment contract.
It is a contract through which the parties prevent or end a dispute. It involves reciprocal concessions, but the employee cannot receive an amount in compensation which is less than the sums laid down contractually and legally.

The legal retirement age depends on the employee’s year of birth. It is set to gradually increase from 60 to 62 years of age. Employees can take retirement between 60 and 70 years of age.  Above the age of 70, employers can force employees to retire (since 2010). 

The bill establishing a universal pension system was submitted to the Council of Ministers on 24 January 2020.

The bill will be put to a vote by Parliament by the end of the 2020 summer parliamentary session

After the law has been passed, a period of a few years will be necessary, in particular, to make the necessary adjustments in practice. The High Commissioner for Pensions will coordinate the application of the law at the regulatory level (drafting of implementing texts), at the institutional level, in particular with pension funds, and the operational level (deployment of information systems and services to users).

The retirement allowance is equal to:

See website:https://solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/

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Top of Form

The health system

MEDICAL AND DENTAL CARE

Before going to a doctor or dentist, you need to check that the latter is linked to the state health scheme (‘conventionné’). There are two types of such doctors: those who fully adhere to the state scheme agreement and apply the agreed fees, and those who adhere to the agreement but are free to set their fees. You can find health professionals, in relation to where you live, and obtain information about their fees on the following website: http://ameli-direct.ameli.fr/nouvelle-recherche/professionnels-de-sante.html

In both cases, the reimbursement made by the CPAM (Primary health insurance fund) will be based on the agreed fees.

HOSPITALISATION

The French hospital system consists of public healthcare institutions, which provide a public health service under state control, and private healthcare establishments. If you are admitted to a private establishment, you need to check that this establishment is in the state scheme.

PHARMACIES

In France, prescription drugs are only available in a pharmacy. Over-the-counter medicines are available in pharmacies, chemists and in some large stores. 

REIMBURSEMENTS

Medical expenses are reimbursed at the rate of 70% of the agreed fee. For example, the agreed fee for a consultation with a general practitioner is € 25 and with a specialist the fee varies between EUR 50 and 80. For a general practitioner, the reimbursement made by the local sickness insurance fund will be EUR 16.10, so you will have to pay EUR 6.90. The indicated reimbursement amount takes account of the patient’s contribution (‘ticket modérateur’) and the flat-rate contribution (‘participation forfaitaire’) of one euro.

As a general rule, health insurance does not reimburse all expenses, as part must be paid by the insured (this is the ‘ticket modérateur’).

You can see the various reimbursement rates on the following website: 

https://www.ameli.fr/

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Incomes and taxation

PERSONAL INCOME TAX

In France, at-source tax deduction entered into force on 1 January 2019. At-source tax deduction aims to adapt tax collection in a given year to real situations (income, life events) to that given year, without changing the original rules of calculation. It aims to close the one-year gap between the moment when income is received and when the tax regarding this income must be paid. 

You must pay taxes if you are older than 18 years old and if you live in France, i.e.:

On the basis of the components included in the 2017 tax return filed in 2018, the tax administration has calculated the applicable tax rate of 2019. As soon as the first part of the income of 2019 is received, this rate is applied to the salary: the at-source tax deduction is automatic.

The payslip clearly indicates the applicable tax rate and the amount of the at-source deducted tax, as well as the salary before and after the at-source tax deduction.

For more information, visit the website of the Directorate General of Public Finance: www.impots.gouv.fr

CALCULATING YOUR TAX

Tax deducted at source is calculated on the basis of the net taxable remuneration multiplied by the applicable tax rate.

How is the net taxable remuneration calculated?

Net taxable remuneration = net remuneration (gross - social security contributions) + CSG/CRDS (social contributions) that are non-deductible (i.e. not taxable).

Therefore, the amount of the taxable income is slightly higher than the received income since it includes, including the net remuneration, the non-deductible CSG and CRDS (social contributions).

This rule to determining the taxable remuneration is not connected to the at-source tax deduction which does not change the amount and the calculation methods of income taxes. The amount of the taxable remuneration is set out in the payslip or on your online personal space if you are retired.

PAYING YOUR TAX

For employees, tax is deducted at source by the third party which provides your income (employer, individual employer, etc.) depending on a tax rate calculated and forwarded by the tax administration. The implementation of the tax deduction is automatic.

LOCAL TAXES

Anyone who has a private dwelling in France on 1 January of the tax year must pay local taxes. Local authorities (region, department, communes) vote on tax rates which, therefore, vary from one commune to another.

Owners also have to pay a property tax.

VAT (Value Added Tax) 

Four rates apply in France:

The standard VAT rate is set at 20% for the majority of sales of goods and services: it applies to all goods or services for which no other rate is expressly provided.

The reduced rate of 10% is specifically applicable to unprocessed agricultural products, firewood, work to improve housing which does not benefit from the rate of 5.5%, certain accommodation and camping services, fairs and shows, games and fairground rides, entrance fees to museums, zoos, monuments, passenger transport, waste treatment, and catering.

The reduced rate of 5.5% covers most food products, feminine hygienic protection products, equipment and services for the disabled, books on any medium, gas and electricity subscriptions, supply of heat from renewable energies, supply of meals in school canteens, tickets for live entertainment and cinema, particular imports and deliveries of works of art, work to improve the energy rating of housing, social or emergency housing, and home ownership.

The special rate of 2.1% is reserved for medication reimbursable by social security, sales of live animals for butchery and prepared meats to non-taxable persons, television license fees, certain shows and press publications registered with the Joint committee on publications and press agencies.

The particular rates applicable in Corsica are fixed in Article 297 of the General Tax Code (CGI).

The particular rates applicable to overseas departments are fixed in Articles 294 et seq. of the CGI.

See website: http://www.economie.gouv.fr/

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The educational system

THE BROAD PRINCIPLES

In France, education is compulsory from 3 to 16 years of age. There are state-run schools (secular and free of charge), private schools under contract to the State (which must adhere to the Ministry’s official guidelines and curricula) and other private schools who are not under contract.  

ORGANISATION OF EDUCATION

   1.PRIMARY EDUCATION

Primary school encompasses nursery schools and elementary schools.

   2.SECONDARY EDUCATION

The Baccalauréat is a qualification which marks the completion of secondary education and gives access to higher education.

   3.HIGHER EDUCATION

Websites to visit: www.education.gouv.fr - www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr

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Cultural and social life

HERITAGE

Culture is an important aspect of France’s image in the world. This image is connected with the use of the language in international institutions and its important cultural heritage. This heritage is extremely varied: towns and cities, historical monuments, listed, ancient and religious sites, castles, and urban or natural sites, most of which are open to visitors. Whether they are public or private, these places attract a large number of visitors from around the world and make France one of the main international tourism destinations.

It is also well-known that gastronomy is inseparable from French cultural life. There are restaurants which offer ‘terroir’ [local] cuisine (traditional French), for all budgets. France offers many high-quality regional products, some of the best known being its wines and cheeses.

See website: www.tourisme.fr

MAIN LEISURE ACTIVITIES

The practice of sport has considerably increased in recent years. There are around 10 million members of sports federations: football and tennis are the two sports clubs with the most members.

Leisure activities such as the theatre, cinema, concerts and exhibitions are advertised in many newspapers, on town hall websites and on specialist websites

such as: www.allocine.fr - http://spectacles.premiere.fr/pariscope/theatre

Text last edited on: 08/2020