[Article updated on January 28 at 17:00]
Each month brings a series of new changes in France. We summarise the most relevant and important dates for February 2022.
1. Retirees receive extra €100 bonus payment
Around 12 million retirees who receive less than €2,000 net per month are set to get an extra €100 by February. The roll-out began in mid-December, and is intended to help combat rising inflation.
Qualifying private sector and freelance workers should have received their bonus already, and jobseekers received it in this month (January). In February, eligible retirees will do so, by direct bank transfer.
The €100 sum will not arrive as part of the normal pension payment, but by separate transfer by the end of the month.
It has now also been announced that people on foreign pensions taxable in France may benefit from the €100 indemnité inflation bonus.
Those concerned, who should have pension income of less than €2,000 net a month (after social charges), will receive their inflation bonus money next Friday, February 4, the same day as payments made to travailleurs frontaliers (cross-border workers).
2. Covid rules to ease
The government is to begin easing Covid restrictions from February 2. This includes no longer requiring masks to be worn outside, and remote working becoming advisable rather than mandatory.
Capacity limits will be lifted at sports and cultural events (current limits are 2,000 people indoors, and 5,000 people outdoors). However, masks will still be obligatory at these events.
Until February 15, people who have already received their first vaccine can get a vaccine pass immediately, if they also get a negative Covid test (which will remain valid for 24 hours), and commit to getting a second dose within one month.
From February 16, nightclubs will reopen and standing concerts will be allowed once again, as will the consumption of alcohol while standing in bars.
3. Interest rate doubles on Livret A savings account
From February 1, the interest rate on Livret A tax-free instant-access savings accounts will double from 0.5% to 1%. This is the first rise in 10 years, and means it will now match inflation.
As a result, interest rates on other accounts will also rise: Le Livret de développement durable et solidaire (LDDS) will also be at 1%, while the Livret d'épargne populaire (LEP) will rise to 2.2%. The Livret jeune will also rise in tandem.
A Livret A account is free to open and can be created by anyone, regardless of age, nationality or tax residency. The funds contained in it, which are limited to €22,950 are protected at all times.
4. Péage costs to rise
The price of péages (tolls on roads) will rise in February, as is usual every year. In 2021, the increase was only 0.44%, but on February 1, 2022, it is set to rise by just over 2% on average.
For example, Autoroutes du Sud de la France said tariffs on their 2,627 kilometres of road would rise by 2.19%, while Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône said rates for its 1,812km would rise by 2.05%.
5. Property owners get extra time to declare rental incomes
Under previous laws, landlords would have needed to choose between the ‘régime BIC’ or ‘micro-BIC’ in order to declare their revenue before February 1. But new laws means that they will not have to do this until they actually declare their personal income revenue.
Owners who make less than €72,600 per year will be automatically counted under the micro-BIC system, which means they may have lower payments.
6. More manageable electricity cost rises
Electricity costs had been predicted to soar by 44.5% on February 1, according to independent energy commission la Commission de régulation de l'énergie (CRE), but the government has stepped in to limit the rise to 4% for 2022.
This will mean an extra €38 per household for the year, on average. The government has also assured consumers that the price of gas will not explode, despite soaring prices on international markets.
7. Taxi costs frozen
The minimum charge for taxis will remain the same in 2022, at €7.30.
Taxi fares are capped at:
- €4.18 for pick-up
- €1.12 per kilometre travelled
- €37.46 for the hourly rate for waiting time (if booked by the customer) or slow progress
- For Paris taxis, the extras are €4 for immediate booking and €7 for advance booking.
Read more about: Can taxis from Paris airports charge more for extra passengers?
8. Census taking place until mid-February
The census currently taking place will continue until February 19 for towns with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants, and until February 26 for larger towns.
Although it was cancelled in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic, it usually takes place every year in big towns, and every five years in smaller settlements.
It is possible to respond to the census online, and national statistics institute Insee (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques) has said that this will be the preferable mode of communication this year.
Completing the necessary forms by internet will reduce the number of people coming into contact with each other and with the same documents, as well as simplifying the system.
“Census officials will leave explanatory notices in letterboxes for people who choose to complete the census online, with access codes to the Le recensement et moi website,” the institute has said.
9. School holidays begin
School holidays will begin across the country in February, with the exact dates depending on your area.
Zone A: Friday February 11 to Sunday February 27
Besançon, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Limoges, Lyon, Poitiers
Zone B: Friday February 4 to Sunday February 20
Aix-Marseille, Amiens, Lille, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Nice, Normandie, Orléans-Tours, Reims, Rennes, Strasbourg
Zone C: Friday February 18 to Sunday March 6
Créteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, Versailles
10. Official sales to end
The official ‘Soldes’ are set to end on February 8, after having started in most places on January 12. Since 2020, the sales period has been shortened from six weeks to four.
Towards the end of the sales, discounts can reach as much as 70%, although the choice of goods is likely to be far smaller.