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France’s minimum wage to rise on May 1 as inflation continues to go up

Two million workers are affected. Inflation reached 4.5% in March (on March 2021), up from a 3.6% annual rise in February

France’s minimum wage will increase on May 1 Pic: Travel man / Shutterstock

France’s minimum wage (le Smic) will automatically increase by 2.65% on May 1 in line with a rise in inflation, which reached 4.5% in a year in March.

France’s labour ministry announced the increase today (April 15). 

It means that for a full-time worker, the monthly minimum wage will rise from €1,269 to €1,302.64 net per month. The gross salary will increase from €10.57 per hour to €10.85.

The minimum wage is re-evaluated every January 1 but it can also rise during the year in the case of inflation. 

In January, the minimum wage increased by 0.9% after an uncommon rise of 2.2% in October 2021, also due to inflation. 

Over the course of one year - from May 2021 to May 2022 - the minimum wage will have increased by 5.9%, or €72 net.

There are around 2.04 million people in France earning the minimum wage, equivalent to 12% of the population of private workers, the latest study from January 2021 shows.

The number of people earning the minimum wage (known as Smicards) increased each year between 2016 and 2019, reaching a peak of 13.4% of private workers in 2019. 

This number began to fall in 2020, reaching 13% before dropping to 12% in 2021. 

There are still far more Smicards in France today than in 2017, when there were 1.65 million people on the minimum wage. 

Inflation rate rises

The 4.5% inflation rate in March, confirmed by national statistic institute Insee today, has been caused by issues with the global supply chain due to the Covid pandemic but also, in recent weeks, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

It has caused food prices to increase, and, more significantly, gas, oil and energy prices to soar. 

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