France's social security scheme for self-employed workers

2016

In addition to the general scheme (salaried workers), the agricultural scheme, and the special schemes (which cover certain specific lines of work), France's Social Security system also has a scheme for self-employed workers not involved in agriculture. These workers' compulsory Social Security coverage is provided by the Régime Social des Indépendants (RSI).

I. Introduction

RSI's main role is to pay social security benefits in the following areas:

In addition, RSI collects the following personal contributions:

RSI also offers prevention and support programs.

A. Organization

RSI is made up of a decentralized network that includes the following:

The fund to which self-employed workers belong depends on their status or on where they work:

To determine which RSI fund you belong to, please refer to RSI's website.

B. Scope

Members of the following categories have compulsory membership in the self-employed workers' scheme (RSI), even if they also belong to another social security scheme through salaried employment or for their retirement pension:

Members of the following categories can join RSI voluntarily:

II. Contributions

As of 2008, RSI collects all compulsory social security contributions from craftspeople and shopkeepers.

Private-practice professionals pay contributions to:

A. How contributions and rates are calculated

Self-employed workers' social security contributions are calculated based on their self-employed, non-agricultural earnings that are taken into account for their income tax calculation.

Between March and June of each year, self-employed workers must fill out and submit a return entitled "Déclaration sociale des indépendants" (DSI). This is available either in paper format (model and explanatory notes) or online from www.net-entreprises.fr.

The income that serves as the basis for calculating your contributions is determined by the tax system to which your company belongs. This in turn is determined by the company's legal setup (SARL, EURL, micro-business, etc.) To learn more, please refer to RSI's guide.

The DSI return, which provides an overview of your previous year's earned income, is the basis on which your compulsory contributions are calculated. It shows:

Any foreign income must also be reported on your DSI return.

Contributions under normal circumstances

  Type Calculation basis Rate
Contributions paid by all professions Health-maternity 100% of earned income 6.50%
Family benefits 100% of earned income Between 2.15 and 5.25% (1)
CSG-CRDS 100% of earned income + compulsory social security contributions (except CSG-CRDS) 8%
Professional training Basis of 38,616 € 0.25 %
Contributions specific to craftspeople and shopkeepers Daily benefits Up to a maximum of 193,080 € 0.70%
Disability-death Up to a maximum of 38,616 € 1.30 %
Basic retirement pension Up to 38,616 € 17.65 %
Beyond 38,616 € 0.50 %
Supplementary retirement pension Up to 37,546 € (2) 7 %
Income between 37,546 and 154,464 € 8 %
Contributions specific to private-practice professionals CNAVPL basic retirement scheme Up to 38,616 € 8.23 %
Up to 193,080 € 1.87 %

(1) Variable rate: 2.15% for income below 110% of the annual Social Security ceiling, between 2.15% and 5.25% for income between 110% and 140% of the annual Social Security ceiling, and 5.25% for income above 140% of the annual Social Security ceiling, which was set at 38,616 € in 2016.

(2) Specific ceiling for the self-employed workers' supplementary scheme.

Annual contributions during your early career

During the first 2 years of your career and until your income has been determined, your contributions will be calculated on a notional basis in accordance with your line of work.

1st year of work in 2016
Line of work Type of contribution Calculation basis (as a % of the annual Social Security ceiling)* Maximum calculation basis (in euros) Maximum contribution (in euros)
Crafts
Retail
Private practice
Health-maternity 19% 7,337 477
Family benefits 19% 7,337 158
CSG-CRDS 19% 7,337 587
Crafts
Retail
Daily benefits 40% 15,446 108
Disability-death 19% 7,337 95
Basic retirement pension 19% 7,337 1295
Supplementary retirement pension 19% 7,337 514
Private practice (1) Basic retirement pension 19% 7,337 714

* The annual Social Security Ceiling was set at 38,616 € in 2016

(1) Private-practice professionals do not pay contributions entitling them to daily benefits in the event of an illness or accident. In order to be eligible for daily benefits, they can take out an optional contract from a mutual fund or a private insurance company.

2nd year of work in 2016
Line of work Type of contribution Calculation basis (as a % of the annual Social Security ceiling)* Maximum calculation basis (in euros) Maximum contribution (in euros)
Crafts
Retail
Private practice
Health-maternity 27% 10,426 € 678 €
Family benefits 27% 10,426 € 224 €
CSG-CRDS 27% 10,426 € 834 €
Crafts
Retail
Daily benefits 40% 15,446 € 108 €
Disability-death 27% 10,426 € 136 €
Basic retirement pension 27% 10,426 € 1,840 €
Supplementary retirement pension 27% 10,426 € 730 €
Private practice (1) Basic retirement pension 27% 10,426 € 1,053 €

* The annual Social Security Ceiling was set at 38,616 € in 2016.

(1) Private-practice professionals do not pay contributions entitling them to daily benefits in the event of an illness or accident. In order to be eligible for daily benefits, they can take out an optional contract from a mutual fund or a private insurance company.

Minimum contributions

Entrepreneurs whose earned income is negative or below the amounts listed in the "notional calculation basis" column are required to pay minimum contributions (except for family benefits and the CSG-CRDS contribution). Additionally, as from 2016, health-maternity and supplementary pension contributions are calculated based on actual earned income (no minimum basis).

Type of contribution Notional calculation basis Amount
Daily benefits 0.70% x (40% of the annual Social Security ceiling) 15,446 € 108 €
Disability-death 1.3% x (11.5% of the annual Social Security ceiling) 4,441 € 58 €
Basic retirement pension 17.65% x (11.5% of the annual Social Security ceiling) 4,441 € 784 €

These minimum contributions can also apply to self-employed workers who:

Contributions paid by "micro-entrepreneurs"

As from 2016, "auto-entrepreneur" status is now known as "micro-entrepreneur." However, the website you can use to register for this status remains auto-entrepreneur.fr.

A "micro-entrepreneur" is a person who, under certain conditions, creates an individual business that is subject to the "micro-entreprise" tax system:

To be eligible for "micro-entrepreneur" status, your turnover must not exceed a given threshold:

"Micro-entrepreneur" status offers a simplified system for the calculation and payment of your compulsory social security contributions based on your gross turnover.

Each month or each quarter, whichever you have chosen, you will need to calculate and pay all of your personal social security contributions based on your gross turnover for that period, using the following rates:

The social security contributions that are calculated as above are final.

The "forfait social" (corporate social contribution) includes all contributions related to compulsory social security coverage:

B. Paying contributions

The date on which your self-employment/ business is registered with Business formalities Center ("Centre de formalités des entreprises"/ CFE) will determine the start date both of your employment and for calculating your contributions.

Your first contributions will be paid after a minimum 90-day waiting period.

Based on your DSI return, RSI will issue and send you a new contribution payment calendar for the current year, showing:

You can choose to pay your contributions either on a monthly or a quarterly basis.

III. Health-maternity insurance

A. Health care

As from January 2016, France's universal health care system ("Protection universelle maladie"/ Puma) provides health-maternity coverage to all persons working in France or residing in France on a stable and ongoing basis. Workers' adult family members (spouse and/or children) can now be insured in their own right. If not employed, the worker's spouse, de facto partner, or civil union ("Pacs") partner can remain a member of his/her former health insurance scheme (the general or other scheme) or choose RSI without any break in coverage.

Self-employed workers' health care expenses are covered under the same conditions and using the same reimbursement rates that apply to salaried workers under the general scheme:

Prestations Prise en charge par le RSI
Doctor's fees (within the coordinated healthcare pathway through your primary-care physician ("médecin traitant"))* 70% 70%
Doctor's fees (outside the coordinated healthcare pathway) 30% 30%
Auxiliary health workers' fees 60% 60%
Medical analyses 60% 60%
Medications 100%, 65%, 30%, or 15% depending on the recognized ("medical service rendered")  
Care and hospitalizations in connection with a long-term illness 100% 100%
Hospitalization = 30 days 80% 80%
Hospitalization from the 31st day and beyond 100%
Hospital stays that include an extensive procedure with a fee of 120 € or more 18 € deduction from the reimbursement

*If you declare a primary-care physician ("médecin traitant"), you will be reimbursed at a higher rate. RSI reimburses 70% of a 23 € doctor's appointment, or 15.10 €, if you have a primary-care physician, versus 5.90 € if you do not.

You will receive your reimbursement from one of RSI's approved organizations. That is where you will need to send your medical expense claim forms ("feuilles de soins").

An approved organization ("organisme conventionné") is a mutual fund or a group of insurance companies that have signed an agreement with RSI to manage the scheme's compulsory health care benefits. Whichever approved organization you chose when you created your business, your reimbursement rates will be the same.

B. Daily medical leave benefits

Craftspeople, shopkeepers, and manufacturers receive daily (cash) benefits if they are prescribed medical leave as the result of an illness or accident.

Private-practice professionals do not pay compulsory contributions for daily benefits, which means they are ineligible for these.

The RSI-approved organization which the worker has chosen is in charge of paying these benefits.

1. Eligibility requirements

To be eligible to receive daily benefits, you must meet the following requirements:

If you were previously a member of another compulsory health insurance scheme, either through employment or a period on unemployment benefits, your period of membership in that scheme can be taken into account provided that you transitioned directly from one scheme to the other with no break in coverage.

Pages 1 and 2 of the medical leave prescription your doctor has issued you must be sent to your RSI fund's medical department within 48 hours of the prescription.

2. Rates

Daily benefits are paid at a rate of 1/730th of your average annual earned income over the past 3 calendar years, up to a maximum of the annual Social Security ceiling (38,616 € in 2016). If your average annual income is 3,754 € or more, your daily benefits, which are proportional to your income, will come to between 5.14 € and 52.90 € per day. If your income is below that level, daily benefits will not be paid.

According to these calculation methods, members paying a minimum contribution will receive daily benefits at a rate of approximately 21 €. €.

Sample calculations:

  • Average annual earned income for the previous 3 years: 2,500 €.
    2,500 < 3,754 €
    Daily benefits are not paid.
  • Average annual earned income for the previous 3 years: 8,000 €.
    8,000 € x 1/730 = 10.96 €
    Daily benefits are paid at a rate of 10.96 €.
  • Average annual earned income for the previous 3 years: 42,000 €.
    42,000 € x 1/730 = 57.53 €
    Daily benefits are paid at the maximum rate of 52.90 €.

3. Length of entitlement

How long you will receive daily benefits depends on the type of medical leave you have been prescribed:

Long-term illness ("Affection de longue durée"/ALD) or long-term care ("soins de longue durée"/SLD)

A long-term illness ("affection de longue durée"/ALD) is a serious and/or chronic illness which is covered by France's health care system at a rate of 100% for all necessary treatments.

Long-term care ("soins de longue durée"/SLD) is in connection with an illness requiring ongoing care and/or medical leave for a period of more than 6 months.

As under France's general scheme, if you are prescribed medical leave under one of these two categories, you will be eligible to receive daily benefits for up to 3 years provided that the leave was medically justified.

Other situations

If you are prescribed medical leave that is not connected to a long-term condition (illness, accident, etc.), you will be eligible for 360 days of benefits over a period of 3 years, as under the general scheme.

C. Maternity – paternity

Craftspeople, shopkeepers, and private-practice professionals who are members of RSI in their own right are eligible for maternity benefits if they are up-to-date with the payment of their compulsory health and maternity contributions.

1. Coverage of care and exams

Your care will be covered by the RSI-approved organization you chose when you created your business, according to the following reimbursement rates:

Type of care Reimbursement rate
Mandatory pre- and post-natal exams 100 %
All exams and care performed or provided from the 6th month of pregnancy up to 12 days after the actual date of delivery 100 %
Expenses in connection with pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery care, such as: fetal caryotype and amniocentesis, glucose readings, and post-natal physical therapy 100 %
Hospitalization (all expenses: fees and accommodations) 100 %
Physical exam for the father-to-be 100 %
Care or hospitalization of the child over the 30 days following birth 100 %
Compulsory medical follow-up exams for the child up to his/her 6th birthday 100 %
Other care (not covered by maternity insurance) for the mother or child, provided by a doctor or midwife (as a practitioner) 70 %
Other care (not covered by maternity insurance) for the mother or child, provided by an auxiliary health worker (nurse or physical therapist) 60 %

2. Cash benefits

Company directors can receive two different pregnancy-related benefits from RSI at the same time.

The lump-sum mothers' rest benefit ("allocation forfaitaire de repos maternel")

This benefit is intended to compensate for a decreased work load. It comes to 3,218 € for a pregnancy or 1,609 € for an adoption and is paid in 2 installments:

The lump-sum daily benefit for time off work

This is paid to women who stop working for 44 consecutive days, 14 of which must immediately precede the expected date of delivery. Their medical leave can be extended by one or two periods of 15 consecutive days.

This benefit comes to 2,327.60 € for the first 44 days off work, then 793.50 per additional period of 15 days, or:

Your medical leave can be extended under certain circumstances (pregnancy-related difficulties, pathological pregnancy, premature birth, twin birth, adoption, or hospitalization.)

Those with contributing spouse ("conjoint collaborateur") status are also entitled to maternity benefits. For more information on maternity insurance for company directors and contributing spouses, please refer to RSI's brochure

3. Paternity leave

Company directors or contributing spouses are eligible for paid paternity leave from RSI.

Paternity or adoption leave is granted to the father as well as, where applicable, to the spouse, de facto partner, or civil union ("pacs") partner if he is an RSI member.

Rates and length of entitlement:

Company directors receive daily benefits at a flat rate of 52.90 € per day. These can be paid for:

Paternity leave must begin within 4 months following the birth.

As of January 1st, 2016, if a company director's earned income comes to less than 3,754 €, his/her benefits are reduced to 10% of the usual amounts.

For contributing spouses, the "replacement" benefit ("indemnité de remplacement") is paid at a rate of 52.38 € per day. It is paid for the same amount of time as to fathers who are company directors.

IV. Family benefits

Family benefits contributions are paid by all self-employed workers and private-practice professionals. They are collected by RSI for self-employed workers and by URSSAF for those in private practice.

These contributions entitle members to family benefits from the Family Benefits Fund (Caisse d'Allocations Familiales/ CAF) under the same conditions as salaried workers: offsetting of family expenses (births, dependent children, child care, back-to-school expenses), plus benefits for housing, disability, low income (RSA), etc.

Most of these benefits are means-tested.

Family benefits, which are awarded from your 2nd child, are paid at a rate that varies based on household income.

V. Preventing industrial accidents and occupational illnesses

RSI does not cover its members for industrial accidents and occupational illnesses. However, it offers a prevention program called "RSI Prévention Pro" that includes specially tailored and personalized medical follow-up (a free medical appointed entirely dedicated to preventing your on-the-job risks) as well as comprehensive information on the risks connected with different jobs and what to do to protect yourself.

VI. Old age

To learn more about pension entitlements for craftspeople, manufacturers, and shopkeepers, please refer to RSI's website.

A. Statutory retirement age – Age of full-rate pension entitlement.

As from July 1st, 2011, statutory retirement age is being gradually raised based on year of birth. Eventually, statutory retirement age will reach 62 for members born in 1955.

Date of birth Statutory retirement age
Prior to July 1st, 1951 60
From July 1st, 1951 to December 31st, 1951 60 years and 4 months
1952 60 years and 9 months
1953 61 years and 2 months
1954 61 years and 7 months
From January 1st, 1955 62

You can be awarded a full-rate retirement pension regardless of your length of insurance if you retire later. The age of full-rate entitlement is also being gradually increased as of July 1st, 2011.

Date of birth Age of full-rate pension entitlement
Prior to July 1st, 1951 65
From July 1st, 1951 to December 31st, 1951 65 years and 4 months
1952 65 years and 9 months
1953 66 years and 2 months
1954 66 years and 7 months
January 1st, 1955 or later 67

B. Early retirement

Self-employed workers can retire prior to statutory age if they meet one of the following two requirements:

1. Early retirement due to a long career

If you retire early due to a long career, you will be able to claim your basic pension at the full rate.

Requirements for an early retirement before age 60

All members who began working before age 16 are eligible for early retirement if they meet the following requirements. They must:

Requirements for an early retirement at age 60 and beyond

Members who began working before age 20 are eligible for early retirement if they meet the following requirements. They must:

Eligibility for early retirement due to a long career is based only on the member's length of contributions:

2. Early retirement due to disability

Members with "disabled worker" status can retire early starting at age 55 if they meet the following requirements. To be eligible, they must:

Table valid for 2016, by birth year
Birth year Retirement
age from
Total quarters
of insurance
accrued
Total quarters
of contributions
accrued
1956 59 86 quarters 66 quarters
1957 58 96 quarters 76 quarters
59 86 quarters 66 quarters
1958 57 107 quarters 87 quarters
58 97 quarters 77 quarters
1959 56 117 quarters 97 quarters
57 107 quarters 87 quarters
1960 55 127 quarters 107 quarters
56 117 quarters 97 quarters

Length of insurance

Length of contributions

C. Insurance length increases

Additional quarters can be credited to a member's pension account through three different types of increase:

* These two increases can be awarded either to the mother alone, to the father alone, or to both parents. The rules for how they are divided depend on whether the child was born/ adopted before or after January 1st, 2010. To learn more, please refer to RSI's website.

D. Pension rate increases

Any quarter of employment accrued after statutory retirement age and on which contributions were paid will increase the amount of your pension, provided that you have enough quarters for a full-rate pension.

This rate increase applies to periods of contributions accrued on or after January 1st, 2004.

For periods accrued from January 1st, 2004 to December 31st, 2008, the increase comes to:  :

For periods accrued from January 1st, 2009, the rate increase amounts to 1.25% per quarter, or 5% per year, regardless of the member's age or the number of quarters previously accrued. This new measure applies to pensions with an effective date on or after April 1st, 2009.

E. How retirement pensions are calculated

Entitlements arising from periods accrued prior to 1973 are calculated differently from those accrued after that date.

How the basic retirement pension is calculated:

Average annual income1 X rate2 X length of insurance (number of quarters accrued since 1973)3 / Reference length4 (maximum length of insurance)

1 - Your average annual income is the average of your income from your best earning years, with an upper limit of the social security ceiling (38,616 € in 2016).

The number of years taken into account ranges from 10 to 25 depending on your year of birth (25 for members born in or after 1953).

2 - Rate:

The maximum rate of 50% (full rate) applies to members who:

Periods that count toward the rate are as follows:

If the insured does not have enough quarters or enough of a certain type of quarters but decides to retire sometime between statutory retirement age and the age of full-rate entitlement, a rate reduction applies. Indeed, his/her pension will be reduced by:

The rate reduction will apply to a maximum of 20 quarters.

3 - Your length of insurance (number of quarters accrued since 1973 under the craftspeoples' or shopkeepers' scheme) includes quarters of contributions, equivalent quarters (periods in the military or on medical leave, maternity, disability, or unemployment benefits), plus the child-related insurance length increase.

Pensions and quarters accrued as a craftsperson and shopkeeper are calculated separately.

4 - Reference length is the length of insurance required for a full-rate pension. It varies by birth year.

Birth year Required number
of quarters for
a full-rate pension
Number of best
earning years
that count
toward average
annual income
Reference
length
1950 162 22 best years 162
1951 163 23 best years 163
1952 164 24 best years 164
1953-1954 165 25 best years 165
1955-1957 166 25 best years 166
1958-1960 167 25 best years 167
1961-1963 168 25 best years 168
1964-1966 169 25 best years 169
1967-1969 170 25 best years 170
1970-1972 171 25 best years 171
From 1973 on 172 25 best years 172

F.Pension supplements

Several supplements can be added on to a member's main retirement pension.

G. The supplementary pension scheme

Supplementary pensions are calculated in points. The number of points accrued depends on the contributions that have been paid. The value of the point varies based on the date on which it was accrued. .

When you claim your pension, the number of points accrued is multiplied by the value of the point.

As from January 1st, 2013, craftspeople and shopkeepers have a separate shared supplementary pension scheme.

The supplementary retirement pension is paid in full if the pensioner has been awarded a basic pension at the full rate. It is reduced if the basic pension was awarded at a reduced rate.

Retirement pensions are liable to compulsory social security deductions, depending on the pensioner's reference tax income ("revenu fiscal de référence") and number of shares.

They will be either completely exempt, or liable to the following rates:

  • CSG (generalized social contributions): 3.8% or 6.6% based on tax bracket
  • CRDS (social security debt reimbursement contribution): 0.5%
  • CASA (additional solidarity and autonomy contribution): 0.3%

Pensioners whose tax residence is not in France are not subject to CSG-CRDS contributions but pay a specific health insurance contribution (7.10%).

VII. Disability

Craftspeople and shopkeepers can be awarded a disability pension following an illness or accident.

A. Eligibility requirements (applicable both to craftspeople and shopkeepers)

To be eligible, an applicant must:

RSI's disability insurance offers two types of benefits:

B. Pension for partial inability to work

A member can be awarded a pension for partial inability to work if his/her physical condition shows a loss of ability to work or to earn a living of more than 2/3 when compared to the physical condition required for his/her profession.

The annual pension amounts either to 30% of the member's average annual income, or to the contributions paid over the member's 10 best calendar years of insurance (or of the member's total contributory income when there are fewer than 10 calendar years of insurance).

C. Pension for total and permanent disability

A pension for total and permanent disability can be awarded if the member is medically recognized as having a total and permanent disability, and if the disability limits access to employment in a significant and ongoing manner.

The annual pension amounts to 50% of the member's average annual income.

D. Entitlement amounts

The minimum and maximum disability insurance entitlements are listed here.

These benefits are awarded up until the member reaches statutory retirement age.

Pension amounts may vary based on the results of one or more medical exams:

E. Pension top-ups

If you need assistance from a caregiver

If you are receiving a pension for a total and permanent disability and need ongoing help from a caregiver to perform the ordinary activities of daily living (getting up, going to bed, getting dressed, moving, eating), you may be eligible for a pension top-up of 1,104.18 € per month. This entitlement is suspended during any periods of hospitalization.

If you are on a low income

Members with an annual income of under 8,424.05 € (for a single person) or 14,755.32 € (for a couple) can receive an additional disability allowance ("allocation supplémentaire d'invalidité") if they have an overall disability that reduces their ability to work or earn a living by at least 2/3. As from April 1st, 2014, this allowance is awarded at a rate of 4,845.17 € per year for a single person.

Important information:

Through RSI's health and social programs, certain types of aid can be paid to people who meet the requirements and are encountering difficulties due to a disability.

VIII. Widow's benefits – The death payment ("Capital décès")

For more information: please refer to RSI's brochure.

A. The survivor's pension from the basic scheme

The survivor's pension is a pension awarded to the surviving spouse.

It amounts to a portion of the basic retirement pension for which the deceased member would have been eligible.

1. Eligibility requirements

2. Benefits

The survivor's pension from the basic scheme amounts to 54% of the entitlements which the deceased spouse had or would have been awarded.

If the surviving spouse is currently drawing a dependent spouse benefit, this will end and be substituted by the survivor's pension.

If the eligibility requirements are met, the survivor's pension can be paid alongside:

For shopkeepers: if the deceased spouse had paid contributions to the "spouses' scheme" ("régime des conjoints") prior to December 31st, 2003, the point-based survivor's pension* can be increased to 75% when the widow or widower reaches age 65, or to 60% in the event of unfitness for work, if the length of marriage and contribution requirements are met.

B. The survivor's pension from the supplementary scheme

1. Eligibility requirements

The eligibility requirements are the same as for the survivor's pension from the basic scheme.

However, the financial requirements are different: the survivor's personal or household income must not exceed a certain ceiling which was set at 77,232 € as from January 1st, 2016.

2. Benefits

The survivor's pension from the supplementary scheme amounts to 60% of the entitlement which the deceased spouse had or would have been awarded.

C. The death payment ("Capital décès")

The death payment ("capital décès") guarantees payment of a benefit to the deceased member's beneficiaries.

1. Eligibility requirements

The employed or retired member's death benefit is paid as a matter of first priority to beneficiaries who were actually, fully and permanently financially dependent on the member at the time of his/her death. These beneficiaries must have personal income of less than 9,600 €* for a single person (This is the income cap that applies to applicants for the elderly solidarity allowance ("Allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées"/ ASPA)).

The death payment ("capital décès") is paid to people in this situation, who are treated as "dependents."

2. Amounts

Source : Régime Social des Indépendants (RSI)