THE CHEQUE Emploi Service Universel (cesu) is designed to make it easy to legally employ people to work at your home, such as a cleaner or nanny.
First and foremost, the cesu system allows people to work for you legally - with their hours declared to the government. Remember that illegal work, no matter how few hours or the level of skills involved, is just that - illegal - and getting caught by the authorities can mean fines of up to €45,000 and even prison sentences.
The cesu system can be used for full-time or part-time employment, for occasional or regular work.
The main version is called the cesu bancaire - though there is also the cesu préfinancé, which are vouchers to pay homeworkers sometimes given out by organisations or employers - a bit like a ticket restaurant but for buying home-help instead of food.
To employ someone you need to register with the Centre National Cesu, which you can do online or via your bank or local branch of Urssaf if you want a paper form. You also fill in an authorisation for social contributions to be taken from your bank account. You get a chequebook you can use to pay people.
When you register you must choose to either make employment declarations online or by paper, in the latter case you send a volet social - a coupon with details filled in by you - to the CNCESU each time you pay someone. The cesu service is aiming to encourage more people to opt for internet declarations, which is considered a more efficient and greener option as it is paperless.
The system is for services à la personne, which can include:
- Services to the family: Childcare at your home, taking children to and from school, help with homework, home lessons, IT assistance, administrative assistance. Note, however, that the cesu system cannot be used to employ au pairs.
- Everyday services: Housework/ironing, collecting/delivering dry cleaning, garden maintenance (but not work needing professional gardening skills), small DIY jobs, property maintenance (small jobs), food shopping, preparing meals, delivering meals or food shopping.
- Services to people who are sick and/or disabled: General non-medical help and assistance with everyday tasks (cooking, shopping, cleaning, driving etc.). For personnes dépendantes (with health problems or disabilities meaning they need help with daily tasks) hairdresser or beautician or looking after/walking pets (not vet work or professional dog grooming).
The cesu offers many benefits. These include for employers
- Easy system to set up and social contributions are calculated for you.
- Pay slips issued by the Centre National Cesu on your behalf.
- You do not have to check whether your employee is registered anywhere, not even with social security.
- You do not need to check whether your employee has the right to work in France.
- Paid holidays are included in the wages (10% of the hourly rate multiplied by number of hours worked).
- Tax incentives may mean that employing someone through cesu works out better financially for the employer than employing illegally. You can deduct 50% of the total cost to you (wage plus social charges) from your tax - to a ceiling of €6,000. This is all declared on your personal income tax declaration.
- Social charges exemptions in some circumstances: for example, if you or your husband or wife are 70 or more, if you are 80% disabled or you are over 60 and need to employ someone because you cannot manage everyday tasks on your own.