French workers face scramble to use up unspent restaurant vouchers

French workers face scramble to use up unspent restaurant vouchers
Many French workers benefit from restaurant vouchers from their employers, but a more relaxed regime on where and how the vouchers can be spent - introduced during the pandemic - comes to an end at the beginning of September.

More than 4 million workers receive tickets restos, which can be spent in restaurants or at the supermarket or other food shops. They are often distributed to workers whose companies do not have a subsidised canteen.

At the end of 2020, after two successive national lockdowns meant people in France had few opportunities to dine out, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced that meal vouchers received in 2020 would be valid until August 31st 2021.

That means if you benefit from the scheme you have a little over a week until the new rules come into effect.

If you are not able to spend your vouchers before the end of the month, however, it is possible to exchange them for 2021 vouchers, which will be valid until January for the paper coupons or February for the electronic version. To do this you will need to return your old vouchers to your employer by September 15th.

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There are also a number of other changes to the meal vouchers which were introduced to stimulate the economy during the health crisis, but which will no longer apply.

The government had raised the maximum spend per day using tickets restos to €38 instead of €19 (although this only applied to restaurants – you can still only use €19 worth of vouchers in supermarkets). From September 1st, the ceiling will return to €19 for all venues.

It is also currently possible to use the vouchers any day of the week, including public holidays. From September, you will no longer be able to use them on Sundays or public holidays, unless you are working that day.

Employees who benefit from meal vouchers are entitled to one voucher for each meal which falls during working hours. Employers must contribute between 50 and 60 percent of the value of the vouchers, with the worker paying for the rest.

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