A new month means new changes in France, especially when the end of the month is also the end of the year. Here are some of the key changes to note coming up in December 2022.
Fuel rebate ends
December is the last month (so far) that most drivers can get a government discount on fuel. The amount dropped to 10 cents per litre in November and is set to disappear completely after December 31.
The 10-cent-per-litre discount at TotalEnergies will also end on the same date.
The government has said that financial fuel aid will continue to be available for ‘heavy users’, such as those who need to travel long distances in their vehicles for work.
Wood-fired heating aid begins
Financial help for households that heat their homes with wood and wood pellets is to be available on request from December 22. There will be €230million of public funds available in total.
Public Accounts Minister Gabriel Attal, who is managing the funds, has said: “We are going to open this aid from December 22.
“People in France who heat with wood can log on to the site chequeenergie.gouv.fr [not yet open] and enter their information to check that they are within the eligible revenue band and that they do indeed use wood for heating.”
Up to €200 will be available, depending on household income.
Energy cheque available
A chèque énergie of up to €200 is to be paid to 12 million people in France in the 20% least well-off households during December. Around €100 will be available for households whose annual taxable income (revenu fiscal de référence (RFR)) is between €10,800 and €17,400. The cheque is to help households pay rising energy bills.
You can check your eligibility on this government simulator.
For households that heat with oil, an aid of €100-200 has also been available since November 7. Tenants in social housing who are struggling with energy bills will also benefit from a payment, up to a maximum of €600, from December 12.
More information on eligibility is on the government website.
Prime de Noël to be paid
The annual ‘prime de Noël’ (Christmas bonus) is to be paid to the least well-off households, especially those on social benefits. In 2021, it was paid over December 15 and 16. This year, more than 2.3 million people in France are set to receive it around a similar date.
The amount is fixed depending on the household’s income and composition. For example, a single person would receive €152.45. A single person with a child would receive €228.67. A couple without children would receive €228.67 maximum, while a couple with a child would get €274.41.
Paris 2024 ticket ballot opens
The ticket draw for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris is to open on December 1. The public can apply on the website tickets.paris2024.org for a chance to attend one of the 750 events scheduled for July 26-August 11, 2024.
Everyone who registers between December 1 and January 31, 2023, will have the same chance of getting a ticket to one of the events.
End of amnesty on unregistered weapons
On Friday November 25, the government launched an operation for holders of non-declared firearms and other weapons. This enabled them to either register the weapons, or surrender them with no fear of prosecution.
Firearms, handguns, sharp weapons, and small ammunition are concerned.
Between Friday and Sunday (November 27), 21,000 weapons and nearly 600,000 rounds of ammunition were deposited in places dedicated to this operation. According to the Ministry of the Interior, there are around five million to six million weapons held illegally in France.
This collection and amnesty will end on Friday, December 2, at 17:00.
A list of all the collection points in France can be found here.
More long Covid care reimbursed
From December 1, people who are still suffering from health problems 12 weeks after the first symptoms of Covid appeared, can be reimbursed 100% for their neuropsychological care and for occupational therapy. Visits to a physiotherapist, speech therapist or dietician are already reimbursed.
Many patients with ‘long Covid’ have reported persistent problems such as concentration issues, brain fog, memory loss, and other cognitive issues.
Long Covid is now an officially-recognised condition, and has been acknowledged by the World Health Organisation.
Masks recommended again
Health experts have warned that people in France should wear masks again in enclosed, public spaces into December as health indicators suggest that Covid cases and hospitalisations are once again rising.
It comes as the healthcare system is already stretched due to seasonal flu and bronchiolitis.
The latest figures from health authority Santé publique France (SPF) suggest that there has been an “increase in the spread” of Covid, and an increase in the number of hospitalisations over the previous seven days. This has followed “four weeks of decrease” said SPF.
Last week, 4,210 people were hospitalised for Covid, a rise of 6% compared to the week before.
The number of cases and hospitalisations are far lower than the peaks seen at the start of the year (19,000 hospitalisations) but rising numbers come as the health service is under considerable strain due to epidemic levels of winter flu and bronchiolitis.
The latter, which mainly affects infants, has arrived earlier and more severely than usual, causing some doctors to fear the impact of a “triple epidemic”. This has led one expert to join calls for a return to wearing masks and taking other barrier precautions.
Out-of-warranty electronic repair aid opens
From December 15, people will be able to get financial help to repair out-of-warranty electronic items. This is part of the ‘loi Agec’, which aims to reduce waste and boost the ‘circular economy’. There is set to be a budget of €410million available for the scheme until 2027.
It will take the form of a payment of €10-€45 depending on the type of appliance to repair. Officially-recognised repairers will also be signposted as part of the scheme.
Items in around 30 categories will be included, with the list set to be extended in the coming years. The amount on offer depends on the appliance. For example:
- €10 for a coffee machine
- €25 for a washing machine (up to 25% of the repair cost)
- €45 for a laptop
Air France strike notice
Cabin crew from flagship carrier Air France have threatened to strike in December, specifically over the Christmas period between December 22 and January 2, 2023.
A union statement said: “This strike notice must serve as a warning to our bosses. If this warning is not heard, only a strong mobilisation will be capable of tipping the balance.”
The industrial action would be in protest against the renegotiation of the collective cabin crew workplace agreement, which relates to their working conditions, pay, and progression, and which expired in October.
Drought restrictions lifted in some departments
In some departments, drought restrictions are set to be lifted from December 1. For example, Bouches-du-Rhône. In the Alpes-Maritimes, they are expected to lift on December 15.
Almost 50 departments across France are still subject to drought restrictions, including limits on activities such as watering the garden, washing cars, or filling swimming pools. More than 20 departments are still classified as in ‘crisis’ (the highest alert level).
Only 40 departments are without any restrictions, including the whole of Corsica, most of Brittany, and Normandy. You can check your department at the drought and rainfall monitoring website Propluvia.
Last date to correct your income tax declaration
Several dates in December relate to deadlines for tax returns.
December 14 is the deadline for correcting your return using the online Corriger ma déclaration service via your personal space on the tax website impots.gouv.fr. It is also the deadline for making any adjustments to the advance that will otherwise be paid to you in January based on 60% of the tax credits you had against 2021 income (declared this spring). This is of interest if you did not in fact have any expenses entitling you to similar tax credits in the course of 2022.
All new requests for making monthly payments of the property tax taxe foncière must also be made before December 15 if you want these to start applying from the start of next year.
Final month of bike aid
Government financial help for people to buy a traditional pushbike or an electric bike, known as the ‘bonus vélo’, ends on December 31.
The bonus depends on the bike you buy and your eligibility.
Firstly some money off is available for people on very low incomes or people with disabilities, for buying a new traditional bike. It only applies to people who are registered disabled or who have a family revenu fiscal de référence (net taxable income, as shown on your income tax bill) of no more than €6,300 per family quotient part.
The parts calculation varies by size of family, for example one person is one part, a couple is two and children add half a part for the first two, and then a whole part each after that.
This aid is worth 40% of the price, with a maximum benefit of €150 (ie. if the bike costs more than €375 you will not get anything in addition).
There is also some aid available for buying an electrically-assisted bike.
For people in the same categories as above, this is 40% of the price up to a maximum aid of €400.
For people with incomes up to €13,489 per part the bonus is only up to a maximum of €300 (it is not available to those on higher incomes).
Up to €2,000 is available towards buying a cargo, folding, or recumbent bike, or one that is adapted to a disability.
Père Noël letter service deadline
Children in France have until December 20 to write to Père Noël, as this is the latest date after which they can expect a letter in return.
Children sending letters addressed to Père Noël can expect to receive a response (although not the presents requested, sadly). Letters will be sent not to Lapland but to Libourne (Gironde).
Postal workers, assisted by a team of volunteer ‘elves’, will respond to letters in French or in English.
Children can write to the man himself in two ways.
- A traditional letter in an envelope, addressed to Père Noël. Remember to put your own address on the back in order to receive a response.
- An email via the animated website pere-noel.laposte.fr, via the link reading ‘Start’, and then ‘Ecrire ma lettre’ (Write my letter).
La Poste has a page with advice on how to write, and advises that children do not simply list gifts, but instead say hello, tell Father Christmas how their year has gone, so he can ‘see if they have been naughty or nice’, and say thank you.