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LIVING IN FRANCE

How your unemployment benefits will change in France from November 1st

This November brings big changes for people claiming unemployment benefits in France.

How your unemployment benefits will change in France from November 1st
Photos: AFP

You need to work more before claiming

From November 1st 2019, you must have worked 130 days (910 hours or 6 months) over the last 24 months to be entitled to unemployment compensation.

Previously, it was necessary to have worked 88 days (roughly four calendar months) over the last 28 months to qualify.

You’ll also need to work for longer before claiming benefits again

Claiming unemployment benefits for a second or third time say will depend on you having worked for at least six months before the claim is made again.

Up until now it was only necessary to work for one month before your unemployment rights were “reloaded”, as France's Service Public website puts it.

Big earners who lose their jobs will get paid less compensation

Workers in France who had incomes of €4,500 gross per month before losing their jobs will see their dole money cut by 30 percent from the seventh month of unemployment, with the base rate set at €2,261 net per month.

In France how much you receive in benefits is not a flat rate, it is calculated as a percentage of your previous salary, so the more you wee earning (and therefore paying in taxes) the more you get back – up to a ceiling of €7,700 a month. The rate continues for two years, or three if you are over 50.

If you quit your job after five years, you can claim benefits

Employees who resign after spending five years working at a company will be able to claim unemployment compensation if they are going to start their own business or kick-start a professional venture.

READ ALSO Five reasons to start your own business in France

Self-employed people can get better benefits

Freelancers and other self-employed people in France will be able to claim unemployment compensation of €800 per month for 6 months.

The benefits are however subject to certain conditions, such as having had an income of €10,000 a year over the past two years. 

READ MORE: 

More big changes soon to come 

The above measures will all come into force on November 1st 2019 but the French government also has other changes planned for its unemployment scheme, likely to be enshrined in law in 2020. 

Perhaps the most drastic alteration will be the new way in which the actual unemployment benefits are calculated.

The new base rate will be calculated against the average monthly salary, but can never be less than 65 percent of the person’s average monthly salary.

Currently the amount an unemployed person gets in France is a percentage of the salary they have received at the time they lost your job (and therefore how much they have been paying in contributions into the system) up to a ceiling of €7,700 a month.

The government says it will also be recalculating some rates to ensure that people in work are always better off than those out of work – under the current system it is sometimes possible for people alternating between short-term contracts and periods of unemployment to be better off than those working continuously.

Although these big payouts are always headline-grabbers, unions have pointed out that half of the 2.6 million people currently receiving unemployment benefit receive less than €860 a month.

France’s government also plans to introduce extra measures in January 2020 aimed at helping people who have recently become unemployed as well as struggling workers who are alternating between short-term contracts and periods of unemployment.

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For members

LIVING IN FRANCE

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

Strikes

But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.

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