The French parliament Decree No 2017-307, which details changes to the payment of French social security for yacht crew is due to come into effect on 1st July.
It’s the topic of debate and discussion this year and most recently attended the Captains’ Club seminar at the Monaco Yacht Club where French Government representatives and a representative of ENIM made up the panel.
There has been a great deal of resistance to this legislation from affected parties, particularly those based in France and those employing French seafarers. There has also been a legal motion filed to freeze or postpone the implementing decree, however, the outcome of that motion will not be known for at least another month and possibly not before 1 July 2017.
In December 2015, the French Parliament enacted a new regulation implementing the MLC provisions on social security. This new legislation (article L5551-1 2° of the Code des transports) provides that any crew members, irrespective of their nationality, residing in France in a stable and regular manner and working on board foreign vessels must be affiliated to French seafarers social security body ENIM.
The law further provides that this principle does not apply in cases where the European legislation (Regulation EC 883/2004) or International Social Security Conventions provide that another social security scheme must apply. The decree also contains provisions about the security, which must be provided by yacht owners to guarantee the payment of French social security contributions.
The new legislation, which applies to both private and commercial yachts, will not apply when another International Convention or European Regulation on social security applies. This is consistent with the general principle governing social security affiliation between EU Member States.
It should be noted that this legislation is driven by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and is first being rolled out in France due to a recent relevant case in France however, the legislation is expected to be rolled out EU wide in the near future.
For the purposes of the legislation a crew member is considered residing in France if:
- The crew member is a French resident through his/her own establishment in France or/
- If the vessel on which the crew member works, operates for more than 181 days in French waters in a calendar year. The 181 days need not be consecutive and, for 2017, start counting from 1 January 2017.
Sarnia has been reviewing the position of yachts and the crew in order to assist clients in making the necessary changes. At this point in time, Sarnia cannot provide an answer or solution to every scenario, but more answers and advice can be found here.