Social security contributions are being lowered for independent workers who earn the equivalent of the French minimum wage (Smic) or below.
An estimated two million people will benefit, including artisans, salespeople, heads of businesses, farmers and micro-entrepreneurs.
Around 22% of independent workers earn less than the Smic (currently €1,678.95 gross a month). For farmers, around a third fall into the category.
€550 ‘saved’ a year
In a press release, the government said an artisan earning €15,632/year will benefit by €550 a year. The measure will cost €500million annually to implement with €1billion being budgeted for 2023 to cover the cost of both 2022 and 2023.
It will be permanent and effectively mean that independent workers earning the French minimum wage or less will not pay Urssaf contributions towards health and maternity cover, in the same way salaried workers do not.
The measure passed through the lower house as part of the government’s bill to boost purchasing power. It was the first test of its ability to get legislation through after losing its majority in parliamentary elections in June. Senators also passed it.
Details of how the measure will be implemented have not yet been published.
They are expected to involve workers being repaid part of this year’s contributions directly to their bank accounts, and being sent notifications for 2023 contributions in April, showing no money is owed for health and maternity care.
Other charges collected by Urssaf, such as the compulsory tax for training funds, must still be paid.