Social Security In France - what is the latest

The current position of yacht crew working onboard vessels based in France has become somewhat confusing, since the French brought in the ENIM system to all mariners working in France or their overseas territories.

Here at Bachmann's we have been dealing with both yacht and commercial marine crew since 1974.  Today we supply our services to some of the world's leading ship operators and an increasing number of Super Yachts.

The requirement for payment of social security throughout the world is being promoted through the ILO's Maritime Labour Convention, which came into effect 3 years ago.  With its introduction, changes have been made to individual nations social security rules.  We have seen the new regulations being adopted in France, proposed changes on the cards in Italy and even Spain is looking hard at it's own rules. 

Of course all countries that are member of the EU are required under EU regulations to ensure that each member state is complying and requires them to ensure that all domiciled EU seafarers are registered for tax and social security either with the state of domicile or with the flag of the vessel.

So what is the current position with France.  The latest interpretation is as follows;

Regardless of nationality or flag of the yacht, the French social security legislation still applies to all seafarers living in France.  For yacht crew who are living and working on-board a yacht not flying the French flag that spends significant time in French waters, then if the seafarer spends 183 days or more in a French territory during a twelve month period, they could be considered a resident of France and hence subject to the French tax and social  security payments. 

If the employer offers the social security provision through a private scheme, then those schemes do not now have to offer the same protection as that offered by the French State ENIM system.  However your employers private scheme must offer the social security branches of the MLC, but with no minimum contributions.

Some ships crew spend time during the winter months on refit in France, including living ashore when the yacht can not accommodate crew.  We understand that the French authorities will not count this time towards the six month residency rules.

Obviously the rules concerning contributions to the social security systems of EU States and those which have reciprocal agreements with France, remain.  Whilst the UK is scheduled to leave the EU in March 2019, it does have a reciprocal Social Security treaty in place with France , as does Guernsey.  Therefore if you are paying contributions to the UK, IOM or Guernsey then you need not be concerned by these rules.


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