You're allowed a mistake in France - once

Everyone living in France has had the right since last summer to make a mistake – once – in their dealings with authorities and bureaucracy.

Known as the “droit à l’erreur”, it is the equivalent of a one-time-only “get out of jail free” card but only if the error was made in good faith.

Repeated errors of the same kind are considered to be deliberate and therefore do not qualify.

The law was a campaign promise of President Emmanuel Macron.

It means that anyone who has breached a rule for the first time, or “made a material error”, cannot be punished if they have corrected the situation on their own initiative or after being invited to do so by the administration.

During his campaign, President Macron gave two examples to illustrate how this works.

“Today, an employer who forgets to declare to URSSAF the Christmas bonus he paid to his employees is fined. He will be able to assert his right to make a mistake tomorrow,” he said.

“Today, grandparents who are giving accommodation to their granddaughter because she has just found a job near them must report this to CAF or risk losing part of their housing benefits and paying penalties.

“Tomorrow, they will be able to exercise their right to make mistakes and will not have to pay the penalty.”

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