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What changed in France on January 1st?

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What changed in France on January 1st?
Many things will change in France next year. And you're likely to be affected. Photo: Shutterstock
15:25 CET+01:00
As France has just rung in the new year, The Local offers readers a glimpse of what changes came into force on January 1, 2015, from energy bills and ticket prices to welfare benefits and wages.
  • France’s minimum hourly wage (SMIC) will go up by 0.1 percent, making it a gross monthly salary of €1.457,52 ($1,773).
  • Family benefits such as back-to-school allowances and other parental funds (PAJE) will also be raised by 0.7 percent.
  • Unemployed people in France will receive 0.9 percent more from their jobseeker’s allowance (RSA) in 2015. That equates to €513.88 for one person, €770.82 for a parent and their child and €1,079,14 for a couple with two kids.
  • France’s TV licence fee will be bumped up by €3 to €136 a year.
  • Stamps will see an unprecedented seven percent rise in the price.
  • Electricity will be an average 2.5 percent more expensive in 2015.
  • France will be ditching its lowest band on income tax (5.5 percent), a move thought to benefit 6.1 million households.
  • Diesel in France will cost 4 centimes more per litre.
  • National rail operator SNCF will charge passengers up to 2.6 percent more for their tickets.
  • Transport in Paris and the Ile de France region will be 2.9 percent more expensive on average by September 2015. A single ticket will cost €1.80 and a ‘forfait’ for zone 1-2 will be €70.
  • French taxi drivers will charge a minimum €7 for any service and put up their rates by one percent.
  • Companies will be able to offer their employees a ‘health cheque’ of up to €156 per year per head, entitling workers to use for whatever health or welfare benefit they prefer. The ‘chèque santé’ isn’t taxed.
  • The competitiveness and employment tax credit (CICE), introduced to enhance the competitiveness of businesses in the country, will see work costs drop from four to six percent for employees earning up to €2.800 a month gross.
  • France’s generalized social contribution (CSG), a deduction-at-source tax on most incomes, will be lowered for some 700,000 people. Up to 460,000 pensioners will also benefit from this social security expenditure as their rating is bumped up from 3.8 to 6.6 percent.
  • First-time home buyers will get a 5.5 percent VAT (TVA) rate on normal properties in new neighbourhoods.
  • Banks in France will charge slightly more for basic services such as direct debit and cash withdrawals but deduct considerably more for transactions abroad and loans.
  • In 2015, France will introduce its "compte pénibilité",  a scheme aimed at offering people with difficult working conditions a chance to receive training, work part time or reach an earlier retirement.
  • French regions will aim to fight inequality across the country by offering free employment advice and guidance through the new SPRO programme.
  • Bisphenol A, a chemical compound found in many food products, will be banned in France for its potentially harmful health effects.
  • Smoke detectors in French households will be compulsory by law from March 8th. Firemen estimate only 20 percent of homes in France currently have them.
  • Repeat offenders will have the right to the same automatic sentence reduction as first-time prisoners. 
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