This topic can be confusing. Indeed, the term « impatriation » is not a term that exists in the French social security general code. Therefore, an employee impatriated and subject to French social security contributions will be considered as an « expatriate » for French social security purposes.
The employee seconded is subject to the mandatory social security scheme of his home location. The work contract of the home country remains applicable.How to choose between the two status ?
The choice can be imposed to the employer. Secondment is only possible for citizens of the European community and for countries outside of Europe with whom France has signed a totalization agreement. You will find attached this list of countries on the following site : Centre des Liaisons Européennes et Internationales de Sécurité Sociale (CLEISS).
If you can choose between a secondment and an expatriation to France, the following reasons can also influence your decision :
- The cost of the French social security scheme is higher than the home social security scheme. More information on this can be found on the section Cost
- Practical aspects can always play in favor of one situation or another : the expatriate, being subject to the French mandatory social security scheme, will need to have French payslips, the employer will have to register the employee (and maybe the firm) to the French social security authorities. The employee seconded must only contribute to the home mandatory social security scheme. A secondment requires fewer administrative obligations and the employee remains on a social security scheme he understands with only certain modifications (see below).
- The length of the assignment also matters, since a secondment can only last for a couple years.Administrative obligations
For a secondment, it is necessary to obtain a certificate of coverage from the competent authorities. For a secondment within the European community, it is necessary to obtain an A1 (formerly E101).
You will find on the CLEISS site numerous information concerning French social security obligations when assigning someone to France.
For an expatriate employee, the employee must be registered with the French social security authorities. In this case, either you request some assistance from the French employer or you can ask for assistance from a specialized firm.Modifications to look for
In case of secondment, the social security coverage remains the same. The employee is still affiliated to the mandatory health, retirement, unemployment schemes, etc. In France, one of the main differences in regard to French mandatory social security results from the tax status of the employee. Therefore, if the employee is not a French tax resident, it is not necessary to subject the employee to the CSG/CRDS. Indeed, these two contributions are only due by French tax resident but the contribution to sickness will be equal to 6,45% instead of 0% for French tax residents.
For the expatriate employee, the main difference is that the employee is no longer subject to the home mandatory social security scheme but to the French mandatory social security scheme.