Reader question: Is the CPF (compte personnel de formation) available to freelance workers and how do I know what I can spend on training?
For those who do not know, the CPF (compte personnel de formation) is a system available to those working in France that helps workers pay for additional training.
The scheme was set up in 2019 and replaced the former Droit individuel à la formation.
It allows workers to tot up credits worth up to €500 per year (up to a maximum in your account of €5,000) which they can then spend exclusively on training courses, both to improve skills for their current job or to learn new skills.
The scheme allows for the worker to choose when and how their CPF allowance is spent.
You can check your eligibility, sign up, and log in to your CPF account at moncompteformation.gouv.fr.
In some cases (where the training will directly benefit your current position), your employer may grant you some days off of work to do the training or allow sessions to take place during your working day.
However, to answer your question, yes, freelance or self-employed workers can access CPF.
How do I benefit from CPF as a freelance worker?
Since 2019, freelance and self-employed workers have been able to benefit from the CPF on a pro-rata basis, in the same way as employees.
They can accrue up to €500 annually for a full-year of work, or a pro-rata amount for work done in part of the year
Self-employed workers, however, are limited in what training they can undertake, with most courses available to them relating to management or business skills, or furthering skills in their current trade.
They can also benefit, however, from career advice using their CPF.
Are there additional charges for freelance workers?
In the case of employees the CPF is essentially funded by employer’s contributions.
Self-employed and freelance workers are required to pay a levy called contribution à la formation professionnelle (CFP) to benefit.
For employees, this is organised by your employer who also pays over the relevant charges.
Self-employed and freelance workers must pay their CFP to Urssaf themselves: you can find information on how to do this via Urssaf’s website.
It may also be possible for your spouse to benefit and use your CPF too, under certain conditions.
In some cases, such as an agricultural worker or artist, you may need to send your CFP to a specific Urssaf office, and payments may be split into multiple instalments – you can find out all information here via Service Public.
You can find out about training options at the official moncompteformation.gouv.fr website.
As a self-employed person your contributions also go towards a separate fonds d’assurance formation (FAF) run by a body that varies depending on work sector.
You may therefore also be eligible for partly or fully-reimbursed training costs for employable skills via the FAF, and you can find out about that here.
There have been numerous warnings over CPF scams tricking workers into handing over their money for training courses that do not exist.
Official advice is to be cautious of those reaching out to you offering training to be paid for through your CPF and to seek out training yourself.