Seven money changes coming into effect in France in October

From gas tariffs to unemployment benefit to Netflix subscriptions, we explain how your finances may be affected

1 October 2021
An image of a person working on accounts and spreadsheets with a calculator in hand

This month sees an automatic increase to the French minimum wage. Pic: lovelyday12 / Shutterstock

By Connexion journalist

This October will see various tariffs and payments being adjusted in France, whether they concern a boost to the minimum wage rate or a change in unemployment benefit calculations. 

Regulated gas tariff up by 12.6% 

The regulated price of gas power, which is decided by the Economy and Energy Ministries and the Commission de régulation de l’énergie (CRE), is rising by an average of 12.6% this month. 

Read more: Three million homes face gas bill rises of up to 12.6% in France

Read more: France brings in ‘price protection’ measures amid soaring energy rates

This will affect nearly three million Engie customers. 

Customers who are not on regulated tariffs are on ‘market’ rates, which are determined by the different providers. 

Some of these tariffs will be fixed for one to four years – depending on any tax fluctuations – and so will not be affected by the 12.6% rise. 

However, other companies will offer plans based on regulated tariffs – perhaps promising a rate that always sits 10% or 12% below this figure – so are likely to increase. 

The regulated price rise will affect different consumers in different ways: those who use gas for cooking will see a rise of about 4.5%, while those who use gas central heating will see it climb by 14.3%. 

Gas rates had already risen by 8.7% in September, 5% in August and 10% in July.

An automatic Smic increase

France’s minimum wage or Smic (salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance) will rise automatically by nearly €35 per month before tax this October because of inflation. 

Currently sitting at €10.25 per hour or €1,554.58 per month for a full-time worker before social security contributions and tax are deducted, the minimum wage will now reach €10.48 per hour or around €1,589 per month.

This is because France’s current inflation rate is 2.2%, and French labour laws state that an inflation rate of 2% or more should trigger a recalculation of the Smic.

The minimum wage had already risen by 0.99% in January.  

However, the last time that it rose automatically during the year as a result of inflation was in December 2011. 

When the Smic is reevaluated again in January 2022 it will go up by less, as it will be calculated according to the evolution of prices between August and November only due to this month’s rise. 

Housing benefit payments increase (very slightly)

October will also see a very slight rise (0.42%) in aide personnalisée au logement (APL) government housing contributions. 

This is because the indice de référence sur les loyers (IRL), which fixes the maximum annual increase in rent that a landlord can impose based on inflation rates, has gone up.

The IRL has risen from 130.57 on July 17, 2020 to 131.12 on July 16, 2021, a rise of 0.42% that is in turn being applied to the amount paid in APL. 

So, those who receive €150 per month will now be eligible for an extra 63 centimes. 

APL aims to reduce the rent paid by a person whose income sits under a certain threshold.  

Since January, it has been calculated based on an individual’s finances in the last 12 months only, in order to make it “more reactive and fair, especially in the case of a reduction in income.”

Changes to unemployment benefit 

Unemployment benefit in France will be calculated differently from today (October 1) as reforms to the unemployment service Pôle emploi come into force. 

Work Minister Elisabeth Borne told Le Parisien that currently, “in some cases you can earn more being unemployed than working,” and so hoped that the new system would encourage job seekers to find work. 

Under the changes, it is predicted that the monthly payments of 1.15 million newly unemployed people will decrease by an average of 17%. 

However, the amount of time that they are able to access allocations will extend from an average of 11 to 14 months.

Read more: French unemployment benefits: What is changing for job seekers?

These rules were supposed to be introduced on July 1, but the Conseil d’État (Council of State) recommended a postponement because of “uncertainty surrounding the economy.”

The end of Covid business support payments 

October marks the end of fonds de solidarité, which was introduced in March 2020 to help France’s businesses survive the challenges of the Covid pandemic. 

Around €36billion has been allocated to 2 million businesses over the last year and a half. Those that are still severely impacted by Covid restrictions will continue to be eligible for help with their regular fixed payments. 

A raise for hospital and care home workers

Around 500,000 workers in the health and care sector will this month be getting a pay rise following decisions made as a result of the Ségur de la santé consultation on healthcare system funding.

In December 2020, nearly 2 million hospital staff including nurses and midwives began receiving an additional €183 net per month. 

Now, the pay rise will be extended to a further half a million workers, from physiotherapists to orthoptists, who will also benefit from a general payscale reevaluation. 

As a result, a nurse at the beginning of their career will receive an additional €290 net, made up of the €183 and €107 from the revised salary bands. 

Read more: 'Ségur de la santé' bids to reform French healthcare

Netflix subscriptions go up 

Netflix is increasing the price of its monthly subscriptions in France this month. 

For people with a Netflix Essential plan for one screen, the cost will rise by a euro, from €7.99 to €8.99 per month. 

Those with a Netflix Standard plan including two screens will pay €13.99 as compared to €11.99 previously. 

Finally, the monthly cost of Netflix Premium – for four screens – will rise from €15.99 to €17.99.

However, those who have a Netflix subscription included as part of an internet box package will not see a rise in their monthly tariff. 

Netflix has also said that the future introduction of video games on the platform will not result in a rise in prices. 

Related stories 

Brexit and France: Recap of key dates and issues in October and beyond

French property market news: October roundup

Who still has to pay taxe d’habitation in France and until when?

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