In the event of involuntary job loss (redundancy, mutual contract termination, etc.), an insured may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they have worked for at least four months.

Helpful hint: Coverage is the same in France and in the overseas departments. Mayotte鈥檚 social security system was adapted to the common system as part of its transformation into a department with the shift in the social security system. Nonetheless, some distinguishing characteristics remain.

The amount of the job seeker鈥檚 allowance and the length of time it will be paid are determined by the individual鈥檚 contributions to the General Social Security System and the length of time they have paid them.

A Quick Look At Conditions To Claim Unemployment Benefits

As of October 1, 2021, the following conditions must be completed for you to be eligible for unemployment benefits:

  • To reside in France (mainland and DROM except for Mayotte, where the unemployment insurance rules differ).
  • Foreign talent must have a residence permit in order to register with P么le Emploi.
  • Not being eligible for early retirement or not having reached the age and quarters required to receive a full pension.
  • To have worked for at least four months (88 days or 610 hours) in the previous 24 months (the last 36 months if the insured is at least 53 years old at the end of the last employment contract).
  • To have lost their job involuntarily (end of a fixed-term contract or temporary assignment, early termination at the employer鈥檚 initiative, dismissal) or as a result of contractual termination.
  • To have registered with P么le Emploi (the public service in charge of assisting job seekers in their search for work) within 12 months of losing their job.
  • To be actively looking for work or completing a training course.

Resignation

As of November 1, 2019, any employee who leaves their job to start their own business is eligible for unemployment benefits if they can demonstrate that they worked for their employer for at least five years. Previously, only those who were made redundant involuntarily received unemployment benefits.

P么le Emploi (the national employment agency) treats legitimate resignations in the same way as involuntary redundancies, granting access to unemployment benefits (relocation for personal reasons and depending on circumstances, vocational training, setting up or taking over a business, etc.).

Registration With P么le Emploi

The unemployment agency P么le Emploi was formed in December 2008 by the merger of 鈥楢NPE,鈥 which was in charge of assisting people in finding work, and 鈥楢ssedic,鈥 which was in charge of collecting unemployment contributions and paying benefits.

If you become unemployed in France, you must register (s鈥檌nscrire) with P么le Emploi. So, if you do not register with them within 12 months of losing your job, you will lose any unemployment benefits to which you may have been entitled. Therefore, you can also register with P么le Emploi if you have never worked in France. However, unless you have paid into the system or are transferring rights from another EU country, there is no entitlement to unemployment benefits.

In the first instance, you must register with the service via the internet at P么le Emploi.

The website is entirely in French, and you will be required to complete a brief questionnaire. You should keep a copy of the completed questionnaire for your records.

After registering, you will be contacted by email to schedule an interview.

You will need to bring the following documentation with you to the interview:

  • Passport/Identity card;
  • Social security card (Carte d鈥檌mmatriculation 脿 la S茅curit茅 Sociale) ;
  • Confirmation from former employer (which they are obliged to provide you);
  • Relev茅 d鈥檌dentit茅 Bancaire (RIB) provides basic information on your bank account.

You must re-register with P么le Emploi at the end of each month to confirm that you are still looking for work. You can pre-register online or by calling 3949 and providing your registration number and personal code, which you received when you first registered. If you do not hear a message confirming that you have re-registered, begin the process again.

Unemployment Benefits In France 1

Export Of Jobseeker鈥檚 Allowance (JSA)

Contribution-based or 鈥榥ew style鈥 JSA is paid for a maximum of three months to those who are unemployed in the UK. Income-based JSA is only available if you continue to live in the United Kingdom.

You may be able to receive JSA payments while looking for work in France for up to three months under the following conditions, which will remain in effect till the UK remains a member of the EU.

  • If you are entitled to JSA (contribution-based) on the day you leave the UK to look for work and have claimed for less than six months. 
  • If you have registered yourself as a potential job seeker and have been available for work for at least four weeks before traveling to France, you may be allowed to export the balance of up to 3 months of your remaining entitlement. In some cases, this condition may be waived.

Before leaving the UK, you should discuss your plans to work in France with your job center. They will forward pertinent information to the International Pension Centre (IPC), which will determine whether your JSA can be paid to you while you are abroad. If this is the case, then you will receive either the relevant entitlement form (U1, formerly E301/E303) or a cover letter explaining JSA before you leave.

You must register with P么le Emploi in France and provide them with the entitlement form or a cover letter.

P么le Emploi will notify the IPC of your job search and registration with them.

JSA based on contributions will be paid directly to your UK bank or building society account at the UK rate.

If you register with a job center within seven days of leaving the UK, you should receive continuous payment of contribution-based JSA.

You should notify the job centre in advance of your relocation, and they will forward claim details to the IPC.

Business Start-Up Support

If you wish to start your business in France, a national scheme offers tax breaks on social security contributions.

Since 2019, all new business start-ups, not just unemployed people, are eligible for assistance.

The program is known as 鈥楢CRE,鈥 which stands for Aide Cr茅ateurs ou Repreneurs d鈥橢ntreprise.

The scheme鈥檚 details can be found at Business Start-Up Social Security Relief.

Unemployment Benefits In France 2

Rules On Unemployment Benefit

In France, unemployment benefits are known as l鈥檃llocation d鈥檃ide au retour 脿 l鈥檈mploi (ARE) or, less formally, allocation ch么mage.

Conditions Of Entitlement

Since November 2019, both salaried workers and business owners have been eligible for unemployment benefits, though the latter is subject to strict eligibility rules that we discuss separately in Unemployment Benefits for Business Owners.

If you are a salaried employee, you do not have an automatic right to unemployment benefits if you lose your job. Certain requirements must be met.

These are the conditions:

  • You did not leave your job voluntarily;
  • You have worked for a minimum of six months over the past 24 months;
  • Be registered as a job seeker with P么le Emploi;
  • Be physically capable of work;
  • Be actively searching for work;
  • Not be in receipt of a full State retirement pension.

In some cases, those who have resigned may still be eligible for unemployment benefits. A summary follows, but detailed conditions apply.

  • Spouse gets a job in another region of the country;
  • Marriage or civil partnership in which the new couple changes their place of residence within two months of each other;
  • After losing a job, the individual immediately finds another job, from which he or she resigns within 91 days;
  • Resigns from one job to take another, which employer terminates within 91 days (provided three years of unemployment contributions have been paid);
  • When a person has worked for their previous employer for at least five years and decides to start their own business;
  • Other unspecified legitimate reasons.

Those whose contract is terminated or ends naturally and who receive a lump sum severance payment must wait six months before being eligible for unemployment benefits. A rule that primarily affects senior executives.

Duration Of Benefits

The length of time you have worked determines your eligibility for unemployment benefits.

The table below shows the shortest period of employment and the longest period of coverage.

AgeMinimum Period of EmploymentMaximum Duration of Benefits
Up to 52 Years6 Months during the last 24 months24 months
53-54 Years6 Months during the last 36 months30 months
55+ Years6 Months during the last 36 months36 months

If the applicant completes a training course, the duration of benefits increases to 36 months.

The minimum six-month employment period does not have to be continuous.

It is also possible to 鈥榬oll over鈥 unused entitlement if you find work prior to using the current entitlement but then become unemployed. It is known as droits rechargeables. You must have worked for at least six months since your last period of unemployment to be eligible for a recharge.

From February 2023, the duration of the benefit will be reduced by 25%.

Thus, under the old rules, a job seeker with 24 months of unemployment would have had his or her entitlement reduced to 18 months; a job seeker with 20 months would have had their entitlement reduced to 15 months. And so forth.

Nonetheless, the rules require a 6-month minimum level of coverage.

This condition will apply if the unemployment rate is less than 9%.

Level Of Benefit

The amount of unemployment benefits you receive is determined by your previous salary. In general, your benefit entitlement is a percentage of a daily reference rate, also known as salaire journalier de r茅f茅rence (SJR). The SJR is based on your previous salary minus any redundancy or other indemnities you may have received.

As an example, if you earned 鈧20,000 in the previous year, your SJR would be 鈧20,000/365 days = 鈧55 per day. You would then be entitled to either 40.4% SJR + 鈧12 per day (2019) or 57%, whichever was higher. The minimum daily payment is 鈧29.26, and the maximum daily payment cannot exceed 75% SJR up to a maximum of 鈧248. However, if you are on a P么le Emploi-approved training course, the minimum wage is 鈧20.81 per day. (2019)

If your monthly salary was less than 鈧1,186, you are entitled to 75% of your previous gross salary as unemployment benefits.

Those with a salary greater than 鈧4,500 gross per month have their benefit reduced by 30% from the seventh month, subject to a minimum benefit of 鈧2,261 per month. However, this reduction does not apply to those 57+ years of age. Those who lose their jobs due to redundancy are entitled to increased benefits, and there are special rules for seasonal workers and those in the entertainment industry. Furthermore, an unemployed person who accepts part-time work or a short-term contract can continue receiving some benefits.

Unemployment Benefits In France 3

Other Benefits

If your unemployment benefit falls short of a certain threshold, you may be eligible for other benefits such as Revenu de Solidarit茅 Active (RSA) and housing benefits.

There is also the option of receiving free health insurance through the Compl茅mentaire Sant茅 Solidaire 鈥 CSS.

Social Security Contributions

Unemployment benefits are not exempt from social security contributions, particularly the cotisations sociales CSG and CRDS.

On 98.25% of the benefit, the CSG rate is 6.2%, and the CRDS rate is 0.5%.

There is a complete exemption from these charges if the cotisations sociales reduce the net level of the benefit to less than 鈧51 per day (2019), which is the minimum wage.

Neither are social charges payable if a single person鈥檚 income in the reference year was less than 鈧11,128 (2019), a threshold that increased by around 鈧3,000 for each additional half-part.

For those whose taxable income in the reference year was between 鈧11,128 and 鈧14,548 for a single person, a reduced rate of 3.8% applies, with the threshold increasing by around 鈧3,000 for each additional 鈥榟alf-part鈥.

The 鈥榬eference year鈥 for the income test is two years prior, i.e., your income for 2016, as reported on your 2017 tax notice in 2019.

CSG is tax deductible at a rate of 3.80%, assuming you pay income tax.

To finance the complementary retirement pension, a social security contribution of 3% of the SJR is levied unless it reduces the benefit to less than 鈧29.26 per day.

No health contributions are payable except in Alsace-Moselle, where they are levied at a rate of 1.6% for those earning less than the above income thresholds.

Payment Of Unemployment Benefit

Unemployment benefits are not provided immediately upon the termination of an employment contract.

There are two different starting points.

First, there is a seven-day delay (d茅lai de carence) unless you become unemployed again within twelve months of the first time.

The 7-day period may be extended due to the employer鈥檚 payment for untaken paid leave prior to departure, as well as a delay due to any compensation package received at the end of the contract.

Once payment begins, it is made every month.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Unemployment Benefit Do You Get In France?

If your monthly salary was less than 鈧1,186, you are entitled to 75% of your previous gross salary as unemployment benefits. Those earning more than 鈧4,500 gross per month have their benefit reduced by 30% beginning in the seventh month, with a minimum benefit of 鈧2,261 per month.

How Long Do Unemployment Benefits Last In France?

This duration of payment cannot be less than 182 days (6 months) nor higher than 730 days (2 years) if the job seeker is less than 53 years old on the date of the end of their employment contract; 913 days for those aged between 53 and 54; 1,095 days (3 years), from 55 years of age.

How Does Unemployment Insurance Work In France?

The unemployment insurance scheme is funded by earnings-based contributions up to four times the monthly social security ceiling (鈧13,712 in 2022). Employers are the only ones who contribute to the employment insurance scheme as of January 1, 2019.

Why Is French Unemployment High?

Other potential contributory factors include labor market rigidities such as the relative generosity of long-term benefits, employment protection legislation, the minimum wage, and high employer costs.

Who Is Eligible For RSA In France?

The RSA鈥檚 goal is to assist low-income households. Adults over the age of 25, or under the age of 25 if pregnant or with one or more dependents, or having worked for a minimum of two years in the previous three years, are potentially eligible.