Self Employed in France
France's social security scheme for self-employed workers
In addition to the general scheme (salaried workers), the agricultural scheme, and the special schemes (which cover certain specific lines of work), France's Social Security system also has a scheme for self-employed workers not involved in agriculture. These workers' compulsory Social Security coverage is provided by the Régime Social des Indépendants (RSI).
- Health-maternity insurance
- Family benefits
- Prevention of industrial accidents and occupational illnesses
- Old-age insurance
- Widow's benefits – The death payment
RSI's main role is to pay social security benefits in the following areas:
- Daily benefits,
- Basic retirement pensions,
- Supplementary pensions,
- and disability-death benefits.
In addition, RSI collects the following personal contributions:
- Health-maternity insurance,
- daily benefits,
- basic and supplementary retirement pensions,
- disability-death benefits,
- family benefits (which are then paid by France's Family Benefits Funds (Caisses d'allocations familiales/ CAF),
- CSG-CRDS, which are national solidarity contributions to social security financing,
- professional training contributions (shopkeepers only).
RSI also offers prevention and support programs.
RSI is made up of a decentralized network that includes the following:
- One national fund that coordinates the regional branches, sets the scheme's general policy, oversees its internal financial collaboration and represents the institution before the government authorities,
- 28 regional funds, including one for Corsica, one for the Antilles and Guiana, and one for Reunion,
- Numerous branches and contact points in these regions,
- One dedicated fund for private-practice professionals,
- A network of insurers and mutual funds that manage health insurance benefits on behalf of RSI.
- The fund to which self-employed workers belong depends on their status or on where they work:
- Self-employed craftspeople, shopkeepers, or manufacturers belong to the RSI fund that is local to their home,
- For their retirement pension, private-practice professionals belong to the "Caisse des professions libérales", which is located in Paris,
- Self-employed individuals working in France's Overseas Departments belong either to RSI's Antilles-Guyana fund or to RSI's Reunion fund,
- Self-employed individuals in inland navigation who work as crew members: RSI's Ile-de-France Centre fund,
- Voluntary members of the craftsmen's old-age insurance scheme and of the manufacturers' and shopkeepers' old-age program who are residing abroad: RSI's Ile-de-France Ouest fund,
- Self-employed individuals engaging in craft-related, manufacturing, or retail work in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon: RSI's Ile-de-France Centre fund,
- Self-employed individuals working in France who are entitled to health insurance benefits but are residing in another country belong to the regional RSI fund that is local to their work residence.
To determine which RSI fund you belong to, please refer to RSI's website.
Members of the following categories have compulsory membership in the self-employed workers' scheme (RSI), even if they also belong to another social security scheme through salaried employment or for their retirement pension:
- craftspeople and tradesmen (company managers) listed on the French trade register ("Registre des métiers"),
- shopkeepers and manufacturers (company managers) listed on the French register of companies ("Registre du commerce et des sociétés"),
- certain company executives or partners,
- the spouses (through marriage or civil union ("pacs")) of craftsmen or shopkeepers if they have opted for contributing spouse ("conjoint collaborateur") status,
- private-practice professionals "who engage in ongoing self-employment under their own responsibility in order to provide customers or the public with services of a mainly intellectual, technical, or medical nature which are performed in accordance with their professional qualifications and compliant with a set of professional ethical or deontological principles" (Definition provided by Service Public). RSI only covers private-practice professionals for the health insurance risk.
- those with "auto-entrepreneur" status.
- Members of the following categories can join RSI voluntarily:
- former compulsory members,
- persons assisting the company manager in performing his/her duties without being paid and without membership in a compulsory social security scheme (this can be an unmarried spouse or another family member),
- nationals of France or of another European Economic Area country engaging in self-employed crafts-related, manufacturing, or retail business in another country.
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