Working in France? Understanding URSSAF


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Working in France? Understanding URSSAF

Whether you’re seeking a job, working in France, setting up a business, or just signing on as unemployed, understanding the French social security system is essential, and URSSAF is one of the most important bodies. Here, we take a look at the role of URSSAF in France.

What is URSSAF?

URSSAF, or the Union de recouvrement des cotisations de sécurité sociale et d’allocations familiales (Organisations for the Collection of Social Security and Family Benefit Contributions) is the main body involved in the collection and distribution of social security contributions from workers, employers, and self-employed workers/entrepreneurs in France.

The role of URSSAF in the French social security system

In France, all employers and employees are required to pay contributions to the French social security system – or “la sécu” – known as contributions sociales, prélèvements sociaux, or simply cotisations. These cotisations cover accidents at work, invalidity, death, job-related illnesses, and retirement, and are obligatory for employers and employees in France.

For those employed in France, they also often add up to a much higher percentage of your wage than income tax, so it’s important to fully understand your obligations if you plan to live and work in France.

The following guides are a good place to start:

France’s Social Security System: The Basics

What You Need to Know About French Social Charges

URSAAF have some 100 offices all around France, which handle some 534.4 billion euros collected from 9.8 million users. The organisation deals with all contributions from workers under the ‘régime général’(general regime), which includes most employees, self-employed workers, and businesses (there are separate branches for some ‘régime spécial’ which include certain state jobs and the ‘régime agricole’ for agricultural businesses and workers).

Paying your cotisations

If you are in salaried employment, your employer will register you with URSAAF and cotisations will be deducted from your wages each month under the PAYE scheme. This is then topped up by additional contributions from your employer.

Since 2020, social security for the self-employed (auto-entrepeneurs) has also been integrated into the main social security regime (it was previously handled by the RSI – Le Régime Social des Indépendants). Self-employed workers will register themselves with URSSAF, and pay their contributions each month or quarter through the online portal.

When Do I Need to Contact URSSAF?

The URSSAF website should be your first port of call for questions related to your social security contributions, but for most queries you will likely be redirected to the department dealing with the relevant area of social security. For example, CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie) for healthcare, maternity/paternity, accident or illness benefitsand some disability claims (their website is Ameli); CAF (Caisse des Allocations Familiales) for family allowances, childcare, housing  and other benefits; CNAV (Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Vieillesse) for state pension; or the Pôle Emploi for jobseeker’s services and unemployment benefits.

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  •  Susan Gray
    2024-02-03 01:53:30
    Susan Gray
    My partner and I have returned to the Uk recently on a permanent basis. How can he stop URSAAF contributions ?


  •  Watford Accountant
    2023-01-17 03:47:06
    Watford Accountant
    This post is very informative for all of us. Thank you for sharing this great post.