French Social Security Requirements for Crew Temporarily Overturned

13 September 2017

The new French law requiring superyacht crew living inFrance to pay French social security was temporarily overturned yesterday,September 11. Implemented on July 1, the law applied to those spending morethan three months a year in the country, regardless of nationality or yachtflag, with the exception of crew already contributing to another EU system orcountry with reciprocal agreement with France. Non-French employers would alsoneed to pay, either by furnishing a bank guarantee, representing a year’s worthof social security for all crew, or depositing six months of social securityfor all crew with French authorities.

Thierry Voisin, a Nice-based broker and current president ofthe European Commission of Professional Yachting (ECPY), previously explainedto Dockwalk that the decree, asoriginally written, caused serious issues. “The immediate consequence of thisdecree and a sharp increase in employers’ contribution rates is that Frenchresidents working as crew are now unable to find work, and French residentsalready employed as crew are losing their [jobs],” Voisin said a few weeks ago.

Many yachting companies have been petitioning the new rulefor nearly six months, finally receiving some promising news. After the Frenchministers held a meeting on September 8, the French marinetrade organization Fédération des Industries Nautiques (FIN) stated on theirwebsite, “The Prime Minister has fully grasped the problem. Now, the withdrawalof this measure is registered.”

“The office of the prime ministerdecided that crew would be taken out of the boundaries of Article 31,” saysVoisin. “Crew will have the choice to elect to choose the French ENIM (socialsecurity regime for crew) or other systems/regimes, which have not beenspecified to date. ”

This should get confirmed during a votefor the law regulating the financing of the 2018 social security system inNovember 2017, he adds. “We have hence won a battle, but not the war, since itremains to define what alternatives exist to ENIM,” says Voisin.