New laws and changes in France: October 2020

Gas prices are going up, there are new regulations for heating, and financial support for thermal renovations. Plus, carers are now eligible for three-month breaks.

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Regulated gas prices going up

Gas prices from supplier Engie will increase from October 1. Regulatory body the Commission de regulation de l’énergie gave a breakdown of how the increase would affect customers: “This rise will be 1.2% for clients who use gas for cooking, 2.6% for people who use gas for cooking and hot water, and 4.9% for homes with gas heating.”

The increase is explained by strong demand in Europe, Asia and the US as winter approaches, following low gas prices this summer.

Thermal renovations cost coverage of up to 90%

Financial support for thermal renovations available through government organisation MaPrimeRénov could now cover up to “90% of quoted costs” for low-income homes, according to Housing Minister Emmanuelle Wargon.

Quotes signed from October 1 onwards are eligible for this increased financial support, although funds cannot be claimed until January 1, 2021.

Ms Wargon told news source Le Journal Du Dimanche: “For the lowest-income homes 90% of quoted costs could be covered, going down to 75%, 60% and 40% for those with greater financial means.

“Support will be calculated according to income, where the home is located and they type of work being done.”

They type of home improvement that will be eligible under the scheme includes replacing old heaters and larger thermal renovations.

Ms Wargon said the State would dedicate €2billion to the scheme, and predicts it will create 22,000 new jobs.

Paid leave for carers

Carers looking after elderly, ill or disabled loved ones can request paid leave of up to three months from October 1.

Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said the new reform would help “those who, on a daily basis, have chosen to look after their elderly mother, a child or a partner who has a disability".

She said: “This respite of a few months will allow them to dedicate themselves to their loved ones without sacrificing their professional and social life, so that they don’t have to choose between their health and their commitments.”

The reform was approved by the Assemblée Nationale in October 2019, and specifies that a period of leave can be for a maximum of three months, although it can be renewed for up to a year. Financial support of around €44 for people in a couple or €52 for people living alone will be provided by the Caisses d’allocations familiales (CAF) or the Mutualité sociale Agricole.

There are an estimated 8-11 million carers in France.

New criteria for radiator and wood-burning stove installations

The price of installations and eligibility conditions for installing radiators and wood-burning stoves will change from this month.

Renovation site Effy reports fees for radiator installation will fall by around 35% for individual homes, while wood-burning stove installation will go up by around 29%.

Conditions for installing wood-burning stoves have also changed. All wood-burning stoves must have a Flamme Verte 7 étoiles label to be eligible for installation.

In addition, wood-burning stoves using pellets must have:

  • An output superior or equal to 87% (previously 70%)
  • Particle emissions below 30mg/Nm3
  • Carbon monoxide emissions below 300 mg/Nm3, meaning 0.02% (previously 0.03%)
  • Nitrogen oxide emissions below 200mg/Nm3

Wood-burning stoves using logs and other wood must have:

  • An output superior or equal to 75% (previously 70%)
  • Particle emissions below 40mg/Nm3
  • Carbon monoxide emissions below 1,500mg/Nm3, meaning 0.12% (previously 0.03%)
  • Nitrogen oxide emissions below 200mg/Nm3

Extra support for single-parent families

From October 1, the CAF will provide extra support for single-parent families, acting as an intermediary in instances where child support has not been paid by a former partner.

Child support is sent between parents via the CAF, but in instances where payments do not arrive, the service can now also take on the role of a permanent intermediary between parents.

Families who do not receive agreed child support are also already eligible for up to €116 per month from the CAF.

Direct donations from savings account

People in France will now be able to make donations directly to "acteurs" de l’Économie Sociale et Solidaire (organisations that promote solidarity, equality and social good) from livret de développement durable et solidaire savings accounts.

New recommendations for websites using cookies

The branch of the French police dedicated to data, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (Cnil) published new recommendations for websites using cookies today (October 1).

The official publication of these recommendations today follows a six-months grace period in which site editors have had time to adapt the information they give users to meet the new guidelines.

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