AUTO-entrepreneurs face switching to a two-speed system in government proposals for the reform of the business regime – with time limits for those using it as a main source of income.
Trades Minister Sylvia Pinel will introduce measures in September to increase social charge payments; set a time limit on retaining the statute, and retain the unlimited status of people using it as a subsidiary income.
She would not say what time limit would be imposed, saying: “The hypothesis of a two-year limit had been proposed. But that is a work in progress.”
The new measures would also mean that auto-entrepreneurs would have to register on the trades directory, attest to their qualifications in work that affects consumers and be obliged to hold insurance (especially the building industry’s assurance décennale 10-year guarantee.
Pinel’s proposals will face stiff debate in parliament and it is not known how long they will take to pass.
Both tradespeople and auto-entrepreneur groups have attacked the proposals: with tradespeople saying it does not go far enough in restricting the work of those it claims are poaching jobs and auto-entrepreneurs saying it will stifle new business start-ups by moving away from the present minimum of red tape.
Artisans say that auto-entrepreneurs – especially in the building trades – are benefiting from reduced social charges and other business running costs that give them an unfair advantage when competing with full businesses paying full charges.
Others have said that some businesses, such as language schools, are using auto-entrepreneurs for work when these workers should be on the company payroll – with social charges being paid.
Chambres de Métiers leader Alain Griset is to tackle President Hollande on the problem at a meeting on Monday. He said that tradespeople were already seeing businesses hit by unfair competition and said they felt they were being forgotten in the government’s bid to relaunch business competitivity.
However, the Union des Autoentrepreneurs said they were astonished that the government was going against Hollande’s “party line” announced in April when he said he wanted to encourage small and medium businesses. “It would be better to give more help to more people to become auto-entrepreneurs,” a spokesman said.
Further reading: Auto-entrepreneurs face 5-year limit - 2013