Mandatory Employee Benefits in France
The health care system in France is primarily financed by the government national health insurance, and its health care system is considered one of the best in the world. The government tends to refund patients 70% of health care costs, which goes up to 100% in case of costly or long-term ailments.
All French residents pay health insurance the premiums for which are automatically deducted from their salaries.
Employers must provide private health insurance (mutuelle) to all employees, which complements the healthcare reimbursements of French Social Security. The amounts are determined by the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA) branch.
Under the SYNTEC CBA, which applies to consulting & technology companies, for example, the employer is responsible for 50% (or €23.50) of €47 per month base coverage, while the employee pays the rest.
The cost covers dependent children but does not include coverage for an unemployed spouse or partner.
Employees can add higher levels of cover and/or cover for spouse/partner at the cost of up to €77 per month, which is deducted from their net pay (the additional cost is the employee's sole responsibility).
Employees can refuse the cover in one of three cases:
- if they were employed with the organisation before January 1, 2016
- if they are already covered through a spouse's coverage and can prove this yearly
- if they are under a fixed-term employment contract not exceeding 12 months
Apart from the government old-age insurance that both the employer and the employees contribute to, companies must also provide a supplementary pension. The appropriate pension fund is determined by a business identifier code (APE) provided by the business startup centre (CFE). If no pension fund is allocated based on the APE, the one assigned will depend on the business location declared at company formation.
Provident insurance (prévoyance) is widespread life insurance in France, which covers people for accidents that may result in injury or death. Companies are required to extend provident insurance to all managers. If a manager passes away and the company hadn't provided the insurance, they have to pay out the family three times the annual Social Security ceiling.
Depending on the industry and the applicable CBA branch, implementing the Provident insurance for all employee categories may be mandatory.
The employer's contribution to the cost of public transportation is mandatory. The employer must cover 50% of the employee's public transport expenses for the commute to work.
Work injury insurance
Employers need to make contributions based on the total assessed cost of employee insurance. That is calculated through the evaluated degree of risk for the activity, which increases as a company reports more work-related injuries.
Depending on the industry and the applicable collective bargaining agreement, the French Labour Code requires a profit-sharing plan when employing more than 50 people.
Employers are required to provide employees with regular medical examinations through the company's local occupational health centre (centre de médecine du travail). This aims to ensure they are fit for work, suggest any job adaptions required, and educate employees on their rights and prevent any risks.
When hiring new employees, companies must ensure that all new hires go through an information and prevention visit (VIP) within the first three months of employment. Only exceptions are made if the following conditions are met:
- the employee has proof of fitness from their previous employer issued in the past five years
- the employee was not subject to a notice of unfitness or need for work adaptation
- the new job is identical to the previous one, not exposing the worker to new risks
Employees exposed to high risk in specific industries, pregnant employees and those returning from a long illness (30 days or more) must undergo a more extensive medical examination.
Employees must go through regular medical checks every five years, which is decreased to three years for workers exposed to high risk at work or as stipulated by the occupational doctor. The timeframe also considers age, state of health, working conditions of the employee and any risks they are exposed to.
The medical examination must be scheduled during the employee's working hours, and the visit is accounted for and paid for as regular work. Moreover, the employer takes care of the transportation time and the costs accrued from the visit and examinations. Employees may request a visit to the occupational doctor whenever they see fit without disclosing the reason behind the request. In contrast, employers can request it when there's a workstation change and deem the visit necessary.
In cases where the National Inter-Professional Agreement (ANI) applies, companies must continue to provide benefits to employees after their employment ends through reserves or insurance.
Termination indemnities are paid as a fraction of employee salary, based on the length of service (with at least eight months stature). Other benefits might apply depending on the type of agreement in force and applicable CBA.
The payable indemnity is divided the following way:
- 1/4th of the monthly salary for each year of service for the first ten years of service
- 1/3rd of the monthly salary for each additional year (on top of the compensation described above)
Companies must keep covering employees for up to 12 months after the employment ends for health, life and health and disability insurance unless the employee opts out of the benefits.
Non-Mandatory Employee Benefits in France
Work from home
Most tech startups offer some form of work from home flexibility. That could be in the form of a hybrid model that involves a couple of days of work from the office, an option to work from the office as desired, or a more strict office presence only for the start of employment. Fully remote organisations are also on the rise.
Most tech companies offer employees professional development and learning opportunities, from covering attendance at top tech conferences and seminars to hackathons and mentorship programs with or without certification.
Supplementary health insurance
Most tech companies offer employees private health insurance that also covers dependents. Adding dental and vision to those is less common.
Many tech startups offer incentives in the form of BSPCE scheme stock options to employees.
Providing subsidised meal tickets or free meals to employees in one way or another is a widespread benefit in the tech industry.
Some companies provide employees with daily breakfast, coffee and snacks, while others take it a bit further by providing daily lunch and weekly drinks.
Lunch vouchers, also called ticket restaurant, are very common in France. These vouchers allow employees to pay for meals with the employer’s partial contribution, valid within the year. Employers are free to decide how much they’d like to contribute to funding the voucher, capped at 60%. The part paid by the employer is exempt from social security contributions, capped at €5.55 per voucher (any amount beyond that is subject to social contributions).
Some tech companies pay for employee’s relocation costs when taking the job offer.
Most tech companies try to offer unique perks to employees to attract and retain talent. Some unique wellness benefits offered include free language lessons, Coursera access, video game credit, massages and an employee assistance programme.
Flexible working hours
More and more tech companies are implementing flexible working hours for a better work-life balance of employees.
Some tech companies subsidise or reimburse employees for their gym memberships.
Public transportation reimbursement
Some companies reimburse employees for public transportation costs to commute to work daily. Commonly, employers reimburse 100% for a second-class transportation card.
Although not mandatory, some employment agreements or collective agreements may include “bonus plans”, such as 13th-month pay, year-end or performance-based bonuses. For employees who work at companies with more than 50 employees, the French Labour Code requires negotiating a profit-sharing plan as part of the collective bargaining agreement.
Some tech companies give employees the choice of Mac or Windows hardware when joining the company.
Some tech companies offer foreign employees a visa sponsorship.
Additional days off
France has a very generous statutory holiday and Reduction du temps de travail (RTT) allowance. However, some tech companies top that with up to 10 more days off or unlimited time off.
Additional parental leave
Some companies offer additional child care and parental leave to employees who have children - ranging from a few extra paid days off to an entire month.
Although not very common, a few companies provide employees with additional retirement benefits. Contributions do not trigger income and social security taxes.