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Essential Update on French Social Security Options

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Changes to French social security laws, which came into force on 1 July 2017, have continued to cause consternation and confusion among yacht crew, due to a total lack of clarification and rumours of a suspension that has yet to materialize. 

However, as of 1 January 2018, there is a new, government endorsed option for yacht crew to comply with their French social security obligations.

Current State of Play

Despite the confusion, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law, so it is essential to understand how the regulations relate to you and what action you need to take. OnboardOnline has covered the twists and turns closely, the key points being outlined in the article New French Security Laws: Implications for Yacht Crew and Owners.

In brief, the Decree on French social security (No 2017-307 of 9 March 2017) concerns all seafarers on a foreign-flagged, private or commercial vessel who are based in France for three months consecutively or longer ​(Ref: Article L.5551-1 of the Transport Code​ ​paragraph​ 4).

If you already pay into a social security scheme in a country which has a bilateral agreement with France (such as the UK, USA, Malta, Madeira) it is not necessary to make any changes. If not, crew are obliged to join ENIM (the French mariners' social security agency) in order to make their social security contributions.* 

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New Alternative Solution for Yacht Crew

More recently, with an amendment to Article L. 111-1 of the French Social Security Decree, a third possibility has been agreed by the French government, allowing crew to join a private social security scheme, which you can do at any time** as long as the payments and cover provided equal or exceed those afforded by ENIM. 

Such a private policy frees you from the obligation to register with ENIM, and still benefit from full social security cover, wherever you are, wherever you come from! 

To recap, as of 1 January 2018 seafarers now have three options:

  • Contribute to a social security regime within the EU/EEA which has a bilateral agreement with France

  • Affiliate to ENIM in France

  • Join a governent endorsed, private social security scheme 

Private Social Security Schemes

WYCC Insurance is leading the way with the first private social security policy available to yacht crew. This includes: 

  • Medical care: Professional and private

  • Employment injury benefits: To cover lost income

  • Disability benefits: Temporary or permanent, total or partial disability, whatever the cause

  • Sickness benefits: Temporary or permanent, total or partial disability, whatever the cause

  • Life insurance: No matter the cause - accident, illness or natural death

  • Family benefits: The child benefit allocated per child per insured woman (allocations familiales), based on the number of dependent children

  • Maternity cover: Medical expenses and a minimum 16 weeks maternity leave (6 before and 10 after childbirth)

  • Pension fund

Please note: 

  • The French authorities via the Constitutional Council (Conseil Constitutionnel) ratified the new French social security law without special conditions regarding article L.111-1 ​​of the French Social Security Code.​

  • Unemployment benefits are not a legal requirement. If you would like to contribute on a voluntary basis to the French unemployment benefits agency, please sign up here and download all documentation here.

  • You must check that your crew benefits are compliant with the law.

  • P&I and Standard Crew Welfare do not by themselves provide all social security benefits.

  • Please ask your insurance provider about adapted benefits. If it is not possible you can cancel your current crew policy (template of letter).

  • In addition to this policy you must also modify your seafarer employment agreement (including social security) and the maritime labour certificate DMLC2. 

*Seafarers affiliated to an EU Social Security such as ENIM, Malta, Madeira, etc, must check that the benefits cover the shipowner's liability and seafarer's needs.

**If you are already registered with ENIM, it is possible to withdraw and join a private scheme. For more information please contact your usual lawyer or WYCC's legal advisor for this purpose INCE & CO.


For further information and advice about this policy:

Please visit WYCC Insurance or contact us by email at info@wycc-insurance.com.

Pour des renseignements en français, veuillez suivre ce lien.

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