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New French Social Security Laws: Implications for Yacht Crew & Owners

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The impact of MLC 2006 continues to surface and France has now brought its social security laws in line with the mandatory requirements of the Convention.

Decree no 2017-307 of 9 March 2017, which comes into force on 1 July 2017, sets out the obligations for both yacht owners and yacht crew in respect of Standard A4.5 (paragraph 3) and Regulation 5.3 (paragraph 1) of MLC 2006.

This allows just enough time for yacht owners and crew to get their financial affairs in order, but we expect further revisions in the future as France moves to fully meet all of its obligations under the Convention.

Together with a major maritime law firm, Lesia Employment Services has studied the Decree and developed a summary sheet and flow charts to guide yacht owners and yacht crew to navigate this piece of legislation and arrive at the best solution for their particular circumstances. 

Key Points of the New French Social Security Legislation 

  • All seafarers, irrespective of nationality, resident or otherwise domiciled in France, will be required to make social security contributions to ENIM, the French mariners’ social security agency.

  • Seafarers who are making social security contributions to an official agency of another country (which is an EU Member State or a State which has a bilateral social security convention with France) will not be asked to make contributions to ENIM. They may, however, be asked to provide evidence that contributions are being made. 

  • Non-resident Employers of seafarers who are required to make social security contributions in France will need to provide a “bond of guarantee” from a bank, failing which a “security deposit” will be payable to ENIM in accordance with the published contribution rate.

  • Non-resident Employers may appoint a French-based agent to act on their behalf to make their contributions to ENIM.

  • Where a monthly computerised declaration is being made, the declaration must be made by the 25th day of the month, following the month in which the seafarer performed the duties. Where the declaration is made on a quarterly basis, the declaration is to be made by the 25th day of the calendar month following that quarter.

  • The penalty for late payment of contributions is 0.5% for each day of delay, calculated on the amount of contribution owed.

  • Failure to pay the contributions could constitute a criminal offence and ultimately lead to the arrest of the yacht.

  • In accepting the contributions of the employer and seafarer, ENIM will provide the seafarer with health/medical care and retirement benefits.

  • ENIM will provide a full retirement pension when the seafarer has completed 25 years of contributed service and is at least 50 years old. The pensionable age shall be 55 years old, upon request, if the seafarer has completed less than 25 years of service.

  • Seafarers completing at least 15 years of contributed service will qualify for a pro-rata retirement pension; however this cannot be taken until the seafarer has reached 55 years of age.

  • There are provisions to pay retirement benefits to certain family members in the event of a seafarer’s death. 

SocialSecurity coloured 

Social Security Obligations of Yacht Crew Living in France

& Working on a Non-French Flagged Vessel 


SS France crew2                                             shutterstock crew 4

Employers' Social Security Obligations in France Regarding

Yacht Crew Working on Non-French Flagged Vessels


SS France owners2                                               

NOTE: The information provided in this article is a guide only and its contents do not constitute legal or tax advice. 

About Lesia Employment Services

Based in Guernsey, Lesia Employment Services ICC Limited (Lesia), is a non-Fiduciary company specialising in yacht crew employment, management, HR and payroll services. Lesia is certified and registered by the Guernsey Department for Commerce and Employment for yacht crew administration and by Lloyds Register for compliance under the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, (MLC, 2006). 

Lesia also offers in-house expertise to assess the social security liabilities for owners and crew, having personnel certified by the ILO to provide training at a National level on the MLC 2006. This enables us to provide a comprehensive range of services to any yacht owner directly or through a third party.

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