9 changes for residents and homeowners in France in February 2023

Covid isolation rules, an end to free exchange of SNCF tickets, more eco-friendly renovations money, a new energy price shield… we look at key changes happening this month

A four part photo showing a positive Covid test, petrol pumps, money on a radiator, and an SNCF paper ticket
Each new month brings new changes in France, and this month the key shifts include energy bill caps and new SNCF ticket conditions
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A new month in France means new rules and February is no exception. We look at the key changes happening this month.

Covid test rules

The DGS, the government department in charge of running the health service, says changes related to healthcare will take place this month linked to “a favourable epidemic context.”

A decree published in the Journal Officiel officially ends the one-to-three day 'pay stoppage waivers' for people who are unable to work, including remotely, due to illness.

These waivers were brought in at the start of the pandemic in 2020 in a bid to limit the spread of Covid-19 and had already been extended several times. It means that workers who fall sick will return to losing up to two days of pay when first ill as state cover only begins from day three.

People who test positive will also no longer face “systematic isolation” as the health situation is much better now than at the end of December. From February 1, those who have tested positive for Covid-19 will no longer be required to isolate at home, nor obliged to take a test on the second day after detection of the virus.

However, self-isolation in case of a positive test is still highly recommended, the DGS said.

There were 25,000 Covid patients in hospital at the end of December, compared to 16,000 currently.

Read more: Covid: Daily updates on the situation in France

Deadline for fuel allowance

The deadline for drivers to apply for the fuel allowance of €100 is February 28. Applications must be made via the impots.gouv.fr website. To be eligible, you must use your vehicle for work, and fall under the taxable income threshold. The allowance replaces the universal 'at-the-pump' fuel rebate that came to an end on December 31, 2022.

Read more: France new €100 fuel aid applications now open: who is eligible?

Electricity costs

The electricity price cap rises from 4% to 15% from February 1. The bouclier tarifaire (price shield), which was introduced in late 2021, will continue for the rest of 2023.

The service-public.fr website states that “the shield cap is higher than in 2022 but still applies to all households, co-owned properties, social housing, small businesses and small communes”.

The average rise for people who heat their homes with electricity is estimated to be €20 per month. This is still far less than the €180 extra that it would be, on average, if there was no tariff shield in place.

Read more: How much will French gas bills increase from January 2023?

Read more: Energy bills in France ‘would double in 2023 without state protection’

SNCF ticket conditions

Conditions for the exchange or refund of tickets are to increase. To get a full refund or free exchange, changes will need to be made at least six days before the journey. If not, changing your ticket will cost €19. Since 2020, due to the pandemic, this had been free.

Read more: Which trains are affected by ticket price rises in France this year?

Read more: French TGV train tickets for spring holidays now on sale

Saving interest rates

The interest rate for France's regulated Livret-A savings accounts is set to rise to 3%. The Livret d’Epagrne Populaire (LEP), a form of savings account for lower income households, will rise from 4.6% to 6.1%. The interest from these accounts is tax-free.

Read more: The tax-free French savings account open to all with 3% interest rate

Read more: Who can open French LEP savings account offering 4.6% interest?

Péage increases

Motorway péage (or toll) increases of an average of 4.75% are expected in February. The amount is reviewed each year based on inflation rates. In 2022, rates increased by 2%.

Vehicles that make at least 10 return journeys on the same stretch of road will be entitled to a rebate of 40%, compared to 30% before, if they have a télépéage badge on motorways run by Vinci Autoroutes, Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône, Autoroutes Rhône-Alpes (AREA) and SANEF SAPN. Electric vehicles will benefit from a 5% reduction in péage costs over one year on all journeys from February 1.

Read more: Make sense of... Autoroutes and péages .

Minimum taxi cost

Taxis will charge a higher minimum tariff per ride from February 1.

The maximum price per kilometre will go up to €1.21. In 2023, the minimum cost will be fixed at €7.30 for all taxis, including in Paris.

Taxi costs are capped at:

  • €4.18 for pick-up
  • €1.21 per kilometre
  • €38.96 per hour

Ride-sharing journeys, such as those through apps like Uber, will have a minimum amount of €7.65, not including extra fees.

E-scooters from the Cityscoot brand will also increase in price per journey, due to inflation. They will cost €0.46 per minute for non-subscribers, and €0.39 for subscribers. The non-subscriber amount was previously €0.39 in Paris, €0.35 in Nice, and €0.29 in Bordeaux.

Read more: Can taxis from Paris airports charge more for extra passengers?
Read more: Fuel aid, pension strike action, tax credits: The week ahead in France

MaPrimeRénov payment

The cap on the cost of renovation work to make homes more eco-friendly is to rise to take into account rising raw material and labour costs. The co-owner scheme, which allows the financing of renovation work for co-owned properties, will rise from €15,000 to €25,000.

The ‘MaPrimeRénov sérenité’ programme, which covers work that will allow homes to become more than 35% more energy efficient, will be raised from €30,000 to €35,000 to better help lower-income households, the Ecology Ministry said.

Read more: French eco-renovation grants increase as price of materials rises

Unemployment insurance

Reform to unemployment benefits (assurance chômage) will see a 25% reduction in the duration of compensation for all jobseekers who open a claim. An unemployed person who would have been entitled to 12 months of compensation under the system will now be entitled to only nine months.

People aged 55 and over will be reduced from a maximum of 36 months to 27. A minimum of six months will be maintained.

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