Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure FR-2022-36/2848 – measures in France
|Country||France , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 01 September 2022 – 31 December 2023|
|Context||War in Ukraine|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Responses to inflation
– Support for other basic items (e.g., food, housing, public transport, medicines)
|Author||Frédéric Turlan (IRshare) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||12 September 2022 (updated 09 November 2022)|
With law No. 2022-1158 of 16 August 2022 concerning emergency measures to protect purchasing power, the government has taken measures to make the use of meal vouchers more flexible. It completes those amended finance law no. 2022-1157 of 16 August 2022.
The meal voucher is a payment voucher that allows employees to pay for their meals if they do not have a canteen or company restaurant. The provision of meal vouchers is not an obligation for the employer, but when the latter allocates meal vouchers to its employees, it covers part of the cost of the meal voucher. Employers and employees benefit from tax and social security advantages.
Usually, employees can pay for all or part of their meal with their meal vouchers in restaurants and certain similar traders (delicatessens, caterers, bakeries, food distributors, etc.), as well as in fruit and vegetable retailers. The vouchers are valid for food that can be consumed immediately or that will be used to prepare the employee's meal.
In order to allow employees to use them for the purchase of any foodstuff, a measure of the law provides that until 31 December 2023, meal vouchers may be used to pay, in whole or in part, the price of "any foodstuff, whether or not it is directly consumable".
Tax and social contributions exemption
This law No. 2022-1157 provides that the tax and social security exemption limit for additional remuneration resulting from the employer's contribution to the acquisition of meal vouchers will be increased by 4%. The exemption limit will thus be raised from €5.69 to €5.92 for vouchers issued from 1 September to 31 December 2022.
As this is a new measure, there is no data available. Approximately 4 million employees receive meal vouchers in France.
Employees in standard employment
Workers in non-standard forms of employment
|Applies to all businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Direct consultation outside a formal body||Direct consultation outside a formal body|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
No information. As the representative social partners participate in the management bodies of the social security branches, they are necessarily consulted, even if the consultation is a formality after the government has already taken the decision.
About all the measures adopted to increase the purchase power of workers, all the trade union organisations, and in particular the five representative trade union confederations and the organisations representing young people, denounced, in a declaration of 21 July, the legislative measures announced by the government, including the generalisation of profit sharing.
They consider 'that wages are part of the sharing of wealth' and they 'are unanimous on the fact that the priority issue must be to increase wages, pensions, minimum social benefits and student grants'. However, the trade unions denounce the fact that 'a succession of one-off measures, mainly financed by the State, cannot constitute a sufficient package to respond to the emergency'. Moreover, the trade unions and youth organisations point out that 'these exemptions and reductions in contributions are undermining our collective social protection system'.
On the employers' side, the measures presented by the government are better accepted. Some employers' organisation had regretted the announcement of the ministry of Economy, on 1 July 2022, to remove the relaxation measures adopted during the Covid-19 (see Press release in source box). Therefore, it welcomes the new measures.
It has to be noticed that the government has issued a « package » of measures through 2 law adopted on 16 August. Instead of creating a factsheet of the package, the national correspondent has created FS for each relevant measure. But on their side, the trade unions have published a global and common position to the whole package and not measure by measure.
Eurofound (2022), Relaxation of the conditions for the use of meal vouchers, measure FR-2022-36/2848 (measures in France), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/FR-2022-36_2848.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.