1. Psychologist visits now reimbursed
Up to eight annual visits to a psychologist for psychotherapy are now state-reimbursed.
Visit monpsy.sante.gouv.fr and click on Je ne me sens pas bien to find participating psychologists (including any foreign languages spoken). You also need to obtain a doctor’s referral note.
Sessions are €30 (€40 for the first one), reimbursable at 60%, with the rest via top-up policies.
2. Minimum wage increased
The SMIC minimum wage, earned by around two million in France, rose on 1st May 2022 by 2.65%, to a net (after employee’s social charges) €1,302.64.
3. Cheaper fuel until the summer
An 18 centimes/litre government-funded fuel price reduction will last at least until July 31.
4. New rules on cold calls
Cold-callers must now obtain your explicit consent at the start of a call to continue.
Rules also ban firms taking verbal agreement as acceptance of a contract – this must be obtained electronically or by handwriting.
Firms must also wait 24 hours after sending all relevant information before obtaining a signature.
5. Better information on rents
Estate agents must display in their adverts key information on rents in urban areas subject to rent controls (such as Paris, Lyon and Lille).
This includes displaying the prefecture-fixed guideline rent for the type of property, and maximum permitted rent (20% more).
It should state also if the property has exceptional factors (impressive view, luxury equipment) which may allow this to be exceeded.
This will make it easier to see how the rent asked for matches up.
6 Ban on treated meat
Importation of meat from outside the EU from animals treated with growth-enhancing antibiotics is now banned.
The practice was already forbidden within the EU.
7. Better access to téléexpertise
A process where your doctor (eg. your GP) can seek a specialist’s opinion to help with your case is now available to all.
With your agreement, the advice is obtained at a distance, including sending relevant documents, eg. via secure messaging.
There is a €20 charge by the specialist and €10 by the other doctor.
You do not have to be present. This is paid for 100% by the Assurance Maladie, without upfront payment.
This used to be limited to certain patients, such as those with an ALD long-term condition.
8. Increase in social aid
Benefits paid by the Caisse nationale des allocations familiales (CAF) will be increased by 1.8%, which is less than half the rate of inflation of 4.5% over one year in March.
This small increase will be applied to allocations familiales, the basic allowance for young children, the childcare supplement, the PreParE for parents on parental leave, the RSA, la prime d’activité, and the next rentrée scolaire grant, which will be paid in August.
The disabled adult allowance (l'allocation adulte handicapé, AAH), which was increased on April 1, started being paid at the beginning of May, and rose from €903.60 to €919.86.
9. Gas bills for flats
A freeze on gas prices from November 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, has been extended to residents in flats with collective systems who are billed for gas as part of their charges.
They can expect a refund if they have been overcharged.
10. New renovation loan
Banks are now offering modest-income households with badly-insulated homes the prêt avance rénovation loan that is only repayable when you sell the home or bequeath it.
It covers the part of costs not included in other help and can be from €3,500 to €30,000 at interest not exceeding 2%.
Income ceilings are, for example, €19,545 for a single person outside of Ile-de-France or €28,614 for a couple without dependent children.
Note also that people applying for green renovation help such as MaPrimeRénov can this year benefit from an extra €1,000 towards upgrading to an eco-friendly boiler.
For information on the various renovation help, see france-renov.gouv.fr
11. Flood warnings app
If you live near a river, you might like to install the new Android app Vigicrues, which notifies you of flood risks in your area.
For a desktop version with email warnings, create an account at vigicrues.gouv.fr
12. Health at work
Several changes have been made to workplace health rules, including creating a new mid-career health check for workers at age 45 and permitting work health checks over the internet.
13. Reductions - and rises - in cigarette prices
Tobacco prices changed slightly on May 1.
- A pack of 20 red Lucky Strike Original cigarettes going from €10.20 to €10
- A 10-centime reduction for many packs including Lucky Strike long (red, blue and gold), Peter Stuyvesant (silver, blue and red), Rothmans (blue, Red Select and London), Vogue L'Originale (white, blue, pastel), Winfield red…
On the other hand, several types of the Winston brand will rise in price by 10 centimes.
14. No more heated terraces
Restaurants and bars are banned from providing air-conditioning or heating on their outdoor terraces as an energy-saving measure.
There is one remaining French public holiday in May - Thursday, May 26, Ascension.