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Chômage changes help self-employed in France

As an independent worker in France, I believe I do not have any right to unemployment benefit, but that this is changing. When will it happen and how will it work? Is it definite? How will the amount we receive be worked out?  J.S.

Actually, the system was updated recently to allow independent workers access to unemployment benefits.

The change was an election promise of President Emmanuel Macron, who said while on the campaign trail in 2017: “Unemployment can no longer be a risk against which some people are covered individually, and others by collective guarantees.”

Since January 1, some non-salaried workers (craftsmen, traders, self-employed professionals, farmers, majority managers of limited liability companies) have, for the first time, had the “safety net” of chômage (unemployment) payments at an initial flat rate of €800 per month for a maximum of six months.

It is a major change from the previous law, which only allowed for independent workers to be covered in certain circumstances.

Micro-entrepreneurs, for example, were not covered and were not entitled to unemployment payments. They are under the new rules.

But be warned. There remain strict conditions in place.

Only self-employed workers who have been forced to cease their activity due to reorganisation or judicial liquidation will be entitled to this benefit.

In addition, they must have met, while working, minimum levels of resources and conditions of duration of activity and income.

Eligibility rests on being self-employed for at least two years and with a minimum annual income of €10,000 before an independent worker can be considered for unemployment benefit.

There may be more changes to come. Some of the details have yet to be approved by MPs – with the date for debate set for some time in mid to late April – so expect further updates in the months ahead.

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