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Employee Benefits, Global

Spotlight on France – A guide to implementing employee benefits technology 

06-09-2023
We’re seeing more of our global customers choosing to rollout employee benefits technology in France as they look to take their benefits strategy global.  

France sits firmly at the complex end of the simple-to-complex scale. French benefits require a high level of administration, they can be difficult for non-French nationals to understand, and rules around medical and retirement provisions are particularly tricky to navigate. For these reasons it can be prudent to allow extra time for a benefits technology implementation in France. 

Here’s our guide to core benefits in France, and what you need to be aware of. 

A brief guide to employee benefits in France 

Medical plan – also known as Mutuelle 

  • As the state only pays for around 70% of healthcare costs, most people choose to purchase a top-up health insurance, called a mutuelle, to cover the rest of the cost.  
  • Not to be confused with private health cover, the mutuelle finances the personal contribution element of French healthcare.  
  • It’s compulsory for private companies to provide employees with a company private health insurance policy known as a mutuelle collective – the company must contribute a minimum of 50% of the mutuelle’s cost. 
  • Companies often include the option for employees to add family members at an additional cost. 
  • Benefits platforms need to capture very specific information such as social security number and social security certificate (Attestation de droits à l’assurance maladie) for providers to enrol employees onto the plan.  

Life insurance cover 

  • Cover is often linked to family status – for example, 3 x salary for a single employee, 5 x salary for a married employee (or in civil partnership), and an additional 0.5 x salary for each child up to 3 children.  
  • Life insurance is usually part funded by the employer. 

Retirement plan 

  • There’s a three-part system in France – state pension, plus supplementary pensions (usually set by collective bargaining agreement), and voluntary private pension.  
  • PERO is mandatory (Plan d’Epargne Retraite Obligatoire) in addition to state pensions. PERCO (Plan d’Epargne Retraite Collectif) is a supplemental plan. 
  • Some employers also opt to pay into a private pension plan.  
  • Contributions vary depending on the type of retirement plan. Under PERECO employers typically match up to three times the employee’s contribution, subject to a maximum contribution of 16% of the social security ceiling (France’s Social Security ceiling, also known as PASS, defines the maximum amount of earnings to be taken into account when calculating contributions). Employee pension contributions typically range from 2-6%. 
  • Employees can manage their contributions, and choose how their funds are invested.  

Plan d’Epargne d’Enterprise (PEE) savings plan 

  • Plan d’Epargne d’Enterprise is a tax efficient savings plan where employees can make voluntary contributions. 
  • Profit share, bonuses and overtime can be transferred into the fund.  
  • There are rules, as with pension, around how much can be transferred into the scheme.  
  • Withdrawals may be restricted to a specific time limit, such as five years.  

Compte Epargne Temps (CET) 

  • Allows employees to receive renumeration for their unused holiday and worked public holidays; the funds can be paid into a CET account.  
  • French law mandates that, in lieu of overtime, employees receive ‘Reduction of working time’ (‘Reduction du temps de travail’ or ‘RTT’) days in addition to annual leave. These extra days can be transferred into a CET account so that the holiday is not lost. 
  • Employees can opt to take this as additional salary at any time, or as additional leave entitlement (if agreed by the company). 
  • Employees must have been employed for 12 months to qualify. 

Other popular benefits 

  • Lunch allowances and commuter allowances usually form part of the mandated benefits package. The commuter allowance requires the company to reimburse 50% of the transport cost to the employee – this requires significant administration time so a benefits technology solution that can automate processes will free up time for local teams.   
  • Childcare allowances are becoming increasingly common, especially in big cities where the cost of childcare is high. Allowances can be in the form of a fund or discounted kindergarten/nursery places.  
  • Wellbeing allowances have grown in popularity over the last couple of years, replacing gym membership. Employees can use this for gym, sports clubs, the cost of a bicycle, wellbeing apps and more – depending on rules set by the employer.  

 

A checklist for your benefits rollout in France 

1. Get approvals from work counsels 

Work counsels (a group of employee representatives, elected in companies employing at least 11 people) are influential in France and any changes to benefits usually require their approval.

Organsiations tend to get approval from work councils early on in the process of rolling out new benefits or technology to avoid delays. Working with a consultant that speaks the language is an advantage when completing this approval process.  

2. Adopt a phased approach 

It can help to take a staged approach to rolling out benefits in France. For example, starting with read-only benefits for phase one, and then rolling out transactional benefits in phase two. 

3. Put the right benefits technology in place 

French benefits often use mixed funding (part employee and part employer) and a benefits platform like OneHub lets employees instantly understand their costs, without having to do the calculations themselves. A fully tailored total reward statement (TRS) is a fantastic way to show the value of all their benefits and make contributions easy to understand.  

Single-sign-on enables employers to host all benefits in one place and provides a smoother user experience for employees – so they can quickly and easily make adjustment to third-party plans.  

A benefits platform also greatly reduces administration for local teams – especially across benefits such as medical, life insurance, and retirement plans. OneHub also allows employees to upload documents, such as security certificates which are needed for health insurance; this ensures security, reduces risk, and saves administration time.  

Going global with benefits  

An exceptional employee benefits experience is foundational to your ability to attract and motivate the very best people – wherever they are. And the right global benefits technology will deliver that experience; from easing the admin for you, to delivering a frictionless benefits experience for your people. Take a look at our guide, Global benefits tech: Getting it right the first time, to see how to prioritise your goals, rollout your programme in stages, and make the launch of your programme a success.  

Picture of Paul Andrews

Paul Andrews

Paul joined Benefex from Mercer in 2019 with a wealth of international benefits experience, having worked with a large number of high-profile, multinational clients to review their approach to global talent and reward. He leads Benefex’s global benefits delivery team and he’s doing an excellent job of it, if we may say so ourselves. He is skilled in international risk assessment and management, legislative compliance, trend research, cross-border claims, and customer relationship management. AND, he can speak fluent French, mais oui!

06-09-2023
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Clare Dolan

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