The legal minimum wage in France is known as ‘SMIC’, and it’s not only important for workers and employers—the net monthly minimum wage is also used to calculate the ‘sufficient funds’ or ‘minimum income’ required for French long-stay visas and residency cards. Here’s what you need to know.
What is SMIC in France?
As with many countries around the world, France has a legal minimum hourly wage, which applies to Metropolitan France, as well as overseas departments and the territorial authority of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. In France, this is known as the ‘salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance’ or SMIC, and it applies to all employees aged 18 or older working in the private sector or in the public sector under private conditions.
Most people use the word ‘SMIC’ (pronounced “smick”) when talking about the minimum wage, while minimum wage earners are often referred to as ‘smicards’.
The SMIC figure refers to the minimum legal hourly wage in France and applies to all adult employees in all fields. The SMIC salary can include benefits in kind and productivity-related premiums; however, it cannot include overtime, reimbursement of expenses, holiday premiums, and other bonuses.
What is the Minimum Wage in France?
As of May 1st, 2023, the minimum wage or SMIC in France is €11.52 gross or approximately €9.11 net. Here’s a full breakdown of the gross and net SMIC salaries:
France’s minimum wage, or SMIC, has increased by 2.19% as of yesterday, May 1st, in line with inflation. The new minimum wage is now set at €11.52 per hour – increased from the previous €11.27 – which works out at €1,747.20 gross or €1,383.08 net per month.
SMIC in France as of May 1st 2023
Hourly minimum wage:
- Gross €11.52
- Net €9.11
- Gross €1,747.20
- Net €1,383.08
Annual minimum wage:
- Gross €20,966.40
- Net €16,596.96
Note that the net amounts (salary minus deducted taxes and social security payments) are indicative of national averages but will depend on the individual’s tax deductions and employee pension contributions.
A reduced rate SMIC can be used for apprentices and young employees under a training contract, for example, a 10% reduction for those between 17 and 18 years and a 20% reduction for those under 17 years old.
Minimum wage increases
Since 2013, the SMIC is revalued each January 1st and is based on the inflation measured for the 20% of households with the lowest incomes. If the consumer price index increases by more than 2% during the year, the SMIC is also revalued. The government may also choose to increase the SMIC at any time.1
French Visas: How SMIC is Used to Calculate Sufficient Funds
If you are an expat hoping to move to France or retire to France, the SMIC amount may be more important than you think. Being as the SMIC is used as the reference figure for minimum income in France, it is also used as the base amount for calculating the ‘minimum income’ or ‘sufficient funds’ required for French long-stay visas and Carte de Séjour (residency card) applicants.
Applicants for French visas – including the temporary long-stay visa, which allows second-home owners to stay for up to six months – must demonstrate that they have a stable and regular income that meets the minimum income threshold (or the equivalent in savings to cover the entire period of the visa). This minimum income is calculated based on the ‘net’ SMIC salary in France, so you would need to prove that you earn €1,353 or more net per month, or €16,236 annually to cover the duration of the visa you are applying for.
Typically, this can be either through proof of regular income (from a job, rental properties, or pension) or through proof of accessible funds or savings.
Working in France?
Whether you’re working as an English teacher, setting up a business, or taking a CDI (permanent job) at a French company, FrenchEntrée is here to help you settle into your new life in France. Our Essential Reading articles cover all the bases, from writing your French CV or setting up as an Auto-entrepreneur to running a gite business or navigating the French workplace.
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