Working as a couple in France
All spouses or partners who carry out work for a family business must now be declared as working and pay into a social security scheme.
This applies whether or not they are paid for their work.
The requirement was introduced in the 2018 Loi Pacte after a study by the Economy and Finance Ministry found that a quarter of business owners worked with their spouse, either part or full-time.
One in three of those spouses had no declared activity and consequently no legal or social protection.
In most cases, the “unprotected” spouse was a woman.
The partner does not have to do work every day to be classed as having a regular activity – it can also relate to undertaking a regular task, such as sending out quotes, or making VAT declarations.
The partner can be signed up when the business is created or at a later date if they started to work after.
There are three choices of status which can apply:
- Conjoint collaborateur
This covers cases where the partner works regularly without pay or ownership in a small business, registered as a SARL, EURL, SELARL or an Entreprise Individuelle, which covers independent workers such as micro-entrepreneurs.
The partner must pay into the social security system to gain rights towards healthcare and a retirement pension.
Theregime applies only to couples who are married or have a Pacs partnership and not to concubinage couples who live together with no legal status.
- Conjoint associé
This covers the situation where the spouse owns a share in the business and does regular work which may or may not be paid.
It covers spouses, Pacs partners and couples living together with no legal status and the business must be registered as a SARL, SNS, SELARL or SAS.
The conjoint associé must pay into a relevant social security scheme, depending on their position in the company.
- Conjoint salarié
This means that the spouse is in the same category as an employee, with a contract and a monthly salary which must be at least equal to the SMIC minimum wage.
The spouse has the same rights as any salaried employee and can either be married, in a Pacs partnership or living with the company boss.