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Raft of changes come into force

Changes to mobile phone charges, gas prices, medicines, driving tests and unemployment come into force in France today

FROM today, changes to mobile phone charges, prescriptions, gas prices, unemployment and drivers’ licences come into force in France.

As reported, new rules on roaming charges in the EU
mean the cost of making a phone call on a mobile phone is set to fall by five cents a minute, while downloading 1MB of data will drop from 45 cents to 20 cents.

The price of gas is also set to fall today, though only by a small amount. The government-set gas tariffs will drop by an average of 0.1%.

Meanwhile, a so-called “2D Datamatrix Code” will replace barcodes on medicines. These new codes carry more data, which will help product identification, pricing and reimbursement, as well as the traceability of drugs, according to France's Comité Economique des Produits de Santé (CEPS).

CEPS has also set up a database - updated daily - that will carry information on every reimbursable drug as well as standardised patient information.

Packs with barcodes can still be sold and dispensed after July 1 while circulating stocks are depleted.

People working part time should be aware that - with a few exceptions - the number of hours they must work to be considered part-tim workers has gone up to 24 hours a week, while the parental leave allowance has been increased to six months for the second parent.

Changes to unemployment benefit - including a cut in payment levels, an increase in length of time people who have left a job will have to wait before being entitled to any benefits from 75 to 180 days, and the lifting of a tax exemption for workers over the age of 65 - have also come into effect today.

And, from today, the theory part of the driving test will be overseen by retired police officers, allowing examiners to carry out more practical tests.

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