The feeling’s mutuelle: mandatory employee health insurance in France

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Compulsory by law for salaried employees in France, a mutuelle health insurance provides ‘top up’ cover for health costs not automatically reimbursed by the state.

L’Assurance Maladie, or the French health service, works on the basis that the state will cover a portion of individual health costs, with the patient liable for the remaining part.

Mutuelles: what are the legal obligations for employers?

Most French companies are placed under a Convention Collective Nationale (CCN), which sets out a minimum level of health cover that must be provided to all employees. 

Complementary health insurance must be offered under the company’s chosen mutuelle, to which it must contribute at least 50% of the cost (the employee is liable for the rest). 

Since 2016, this rule applies to all companies with at least one employee.

There is a large number of mutuelles available, with differing levels of cover.  In some cases, mutuelle cover may also extend to employees’ families and/or dependants.

Can employees opt out of their company’s mutuelle?

Mutuelle provision is a mandatory requirement in France, so very few exclusions apply.  Potentially, an employee could choose not to adhere to their company’s mutuelle, for example, if they are:

  • already covered elsewhere, or
  • working on a fixed-term contract of under three months.

However, employers must be able to prove that their employee meets the relevant criteria before allowing them to opt out of their mutuelle.

The role of prévoyance

In addition to mutuelle cover, employers must offer prévoyance insurance to their cadres, or executive employees.  Prévoyance covers personal risk and must offer a death in service benefit at the very least. 

Non-cadre employees may also be entitled to prévoyance, if a relevant collective agreement exists.

Viridian HR SAS: here to help

As well as running Viridian HR Ltd in England, we have recently established Viridian HR SAS – a separate company registered in France.  This is the equivalent of a limited company in Britain.

This is good news for British companies with an existing presence in France, or wish to expand their operations across the Channel.  Along with our usual guidance, we are now able to offer a range of services that add even more clarity and convenience, such as issuing French invoices in Euros, and applying French VAT where applicable.

So if you have any questions about employing people in France, please get in touch.  We would be delighted to assist.

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