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What changes about life in France in June 2020

What changes about life in France in June 2020
Parents will need a certificate to claim partial unemployment benefits and car buyers can save big thanks to a new scheme - just two of the changes that come into force in June. Photos: AFP
June brings with it a lot of changes to life in France, and not just relating to the Covid-19 crisis.

June marks the start of 'phase 2' of lockdown – find out here what that means for daily life – but there are also some other changes to be aware of.

Gradual withdrawal of partial unemployment benefits

State support for workers who are temporarily unemployed because of the lockdown is lowered from June.

Known in France as chomage partiel, it refers to situations where companies have to reduce or completely stop their business activities due to exceptional circumstances such as the current global pandemic.

The employer receives an allowance from the French state of up to 1,000 hours per year per employee regardless of their position or 100 hours per year per employee if the partial activity is due to the revamp of company installations and buildings.

From June 1st, companies will only be reimbursed 85 percent of the amount of compensation paid to employees who were eligible compared to the 100 percent so far during the height of France’s lockdown.

In other words, employers will now have to pay 15 percent of the compensation paid to their employees who are not working.

READ MORE: What you need to know about France's crisis unemployment scheme

The change does not apply to companies and sectors that remain closed under lockdown rules such as nightclubs and concert or sporting venues.

Nothing changes for employees who are on chomage partiel – they will continue to receive 84 percent of their net salary (100 percent if they are on minimum wage).

As of April 30th, some 11 million workers in France were on the scheme.

Parents and high-risk workers to require a permit for partial unemployment

Parents who wish to continue to benefit from chomage partiel to look after their children will from June onwards need to provide a “certificate which will establish the fact that their child cannot be taken in” at his or her school, said French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Tuesday .

Regarding high-risk workers who don’t wish to return to their workplaces as a precaution, they will now have to always provide their employer with a home-isolation certificate in order to be entitled to partial unemployment

This can be sent by France's Assurance maladie health insurance scheme or drawn up by their doctor.

Big state handouts for anyone buying a low-emissions vehicle

To boost car sales in an industry that’s been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, the French government has decided that from from June 1st it will bump up financial aid for anyone buying a less polluting vehicle.

This 'eco bonus', which will be applicable to new electric vehicles that cost less than €45,000 will go from €6,000 to €7,000 for individuals and from €3,000 to €5,000 for professionals and companies.

For cars between €45,000 and €60,000, the state payment will be of €3,000 euros.

Anyone buying a rechargeable hybrid model will also benefit from a purchase premium of €2,000.

Furthermore, there is a conversion premium for anyone who hands in their old diesel or petrol vehicle – €3,000 – increased to €5000 the person buys an electric vehicle.

The ground-breaking incentive scheme will apply to a maximum of 200,000 cars.

Approximately half of cars in France are eligible for the premium.

The annual income limit to obtain this bonus has also been increased so that 75 percent of French households are eligible.

The measure is being touted as the most generous incentive of its kind in Europe, as if all requirements are met, car buyers could save up to €12,000 on their purchase.

Lower gas prices

On June 1st, regulated gas prices with French utility multinational Engie will drop by 2.8 percent.

This decrease will be of 0.7 percent for customers who use gas for cooking, 1.5 percent for those who use gas for cooking and hot water, and 2.9 percent for homes with gas heating.

“Since January 1st, 2019 the regulated gas sales prices of Engie have decreased in all by 25.3 percent”, France’s Energy Regulatory Commission reported.

A new scheme to make getting a driving licence cheaper

To speed up the process of getting a driving license in France as well as for reducing the cost of the procedure, a new standard scheme comes into force on June 1st.

The aim is to make it easier for budding drivers to compare driving schools’ offers, which in turn should stimulate competition between different schools and encourage them to lower their prices.

This new standard contract will prevent “certain professionals from introducing banned or concealed fees” and will offer more clarity about the process of obtaining a driving license as it “will be the same for all applicants everywhere in France”, explained Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire last February.

“With a comparison site, the goal is for us to achieve a 30 percent drop in the price of getting a driving license, the cost of which fluctuates between €1,600 and €1,800 on average”.

The new “system will be simpler, more transparent and fairer”, concluded Le Maire.

French landlords will have to warn tenants about noise pollution

To forewarn tenants and buyers in France about living at an address with high levels of noise pollution, from air traffic, a new law comes into force on June 1st which requires landlords and anyone selling a home to communicate this information to the buyer or tenant beforehand.

This policy, which previously concerned only single-use residential properties, will now apply to mixed-use buildings as well (offices and residential, land, etc.).

They will have to provide buyers and tenants with a document that clearly specifies the noise levels of the property and the website for France’s Directive for the energy performance of buildings (PEB) where such information can be verified, as well as the mention of the option of checking noise levels at the town hall of the municipality. 

Changes to joint ownership property laws

From June 1st a ceiling amount of €380 will come into force in terms of the “état date”, a type of current financial disclosure statement which co-owners in a condominium have to pay for in a co-owned property transfer situation.

The reform also puts more power in the hands of the condominium’s union council. If there are more than three people, all the co-owners can delegate their decision-making power to it without having to vote on all matters.

Tax declarations due in June

French workers' income tax declaration is due this June after the start date to file the tax return was postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Tax residents of three different groups of French départements have the following closing dates to file their tax returns.

For départements 1 to 19: Thursday June 4th, 2020 at 11.59pm

For départements 20 to 49: Monday June 8th, 2020 at 11.59pm

For départements 50 to 976: Thursday June 11th, 2020 at 11.59pm

This income tax declaration relates to taxes owed for 2019 and every resident in France from April 2019 onwards needs to fill in a return, regardless of whether they’ve had an income in France or not.

Breathalyser rule scrapped

After several years of confusion around this rule, drivers are now no longer legally required to keep a breathalyser kit in their vehicles.

The rule was scrapped as part of the government's wide-ranging transport bill in January, and the decree changing the breathalyser rules was published in the Journal officiel on May 21st.

 


Member comments

  1. Hi Perry, I don’t think Emma reads these comments. I’ve never seen any comments on here. I think it’s best to email her. I hope she can help. Good luck!

  2. Hi Emma,
    Thank you very much for all your very informative messages. Regarding electric vehicles. We took possession of our new electric car on the first day of lockdown. Is there any way we can benefit from the incentives that have come into law?

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