France’s social protection system for self-employed workers in the agricultural professions is made up of four branches:
The French social protection scheme for self-employed workers in the agricultural professions covers self-employed workers in the agricultural trades and those working on farms, at farming companies, or in other agricultural ventures such as:
Social security contributions and charges for each calendar year on the basis of agricultural self-employment are calculated as determined by the worker’s circumstances on January 1st of the year for which they are due.
If an individual begins agricultural self-employment after January 1st of year N, social security contributions will only be due from year N + 1
Social security contributions are calculated:
Workers can choose a three-year or one-year basis regardless of the tax scheme to which they belong.
Social security contributions and charges are calculated on the basis your average earned income (EI) for the 3 years prior to the year for which they are due.
Contributions due for year N = [(EI year N-1) + (EI year N-2) + (EI year N-3)] / 3 (number of years)
For the purpose of calculating the CSG/CRDS social charges, the self-employed agricultural worker’s income is topped up by their own personal social security contributions plus those of their family members.
If the self-employed agricultural worker chooses the one-year basis, social security contributions and charges are calculated based on income from the year prior to the one for which they are due (N-1).
This choice applies to all employment with membership in the self-employed agricultural workers’ scheme, including for “non-agricultural self-employment” if the worker is registered as “multiply employed” with MSA.
If it is the farmer’s first year in business or their earned income is not yet known, contributions are calculated using a temporary basis which will be recalculated later once income has been reported.
Contribution rates for 2019 applied to the earned-income basis (capped at 40,524 € for Individual Old-Age Insurance (“Assurance Vieillesse Individuelle”/ AVI) and Agricultural Old-Age insurance (“Assurance Vieillesse Agricole”/ AVA), using the French minimum hourly wage as of January 1, 2019, which amounted to 10.03 € gross/ hour. These rates only apply to those declaring sole or main employment as a farmer or entrepreneur.
Minimum basis for 2018
|AMEXA (Farmers’ health insurance system)||Progressive rates (between 1.50% and 6.50 % for earnings under 110% of the yearly social security ceiling).
A 6.50% rate for earnings greater than or equal to 110% of the yearly social security ceiling (44,576 € for 2019)
|Disability||0.8 %||11.5% of the yearly social security ceiling, amounting to 4,681 €||-|
|Daily AMEXA benefits1||180 €||-||-|
|Capped Agricultural Old-age Insurance (“AVA plafonnée”)||11.55 %||600 times the French minimum hourly wage (“SMIC”), or 6,018 €||40,524 €|
|Uncapped Agricultural Old-age Insurance (“AVA déplafonnée”)||2.24 %||600 times the French minimum hourly wage (“SMIC”), or 6,018 €||-|
|Individual Old-age Insurance (“AVI”)||3,32 %||800 times the French minimum hourly wage (“SMIC”), or 8,024 €||40,524 €|
|Family benefits (“PFA”) 2||Tapering rates
|Supplementary retirement pension (“RCO”)||4 %||1,820 times the French minimum hourly wage (“SMIC”), or 18,255 €|
|ATEXA (Industrial accident/ occupational illness insurance) 3||5 amounts (from 433.85 € to 471.57 €) as determined by category (from A to E)||-||-|
|VIVEA and AGEFOS (training insurance funds for small and medium-sized agricultural businesses) 4||0.61 %||0.17% of the Social Security ceiling (PASS)||0.89% of the Social Security ceiling (PASS)|
|FMSE (National agricultural health and environmental risk-sharing fund) 5||20 €||-||-|
|CSG (General Social Contribution) 6||9.2 %||-||-|
|CRDS (Social debt repayment contribution) 6||0.5 %||-||-|
In addition, new farmers can be exempted from Social Security contributions if they meet the following requirements:
This exemption only applies to AMEXA (Health insurance), Disability, Agricultural Old-Age Insurance (AVA), Individual Old-Age Insurance (AVI), and Family Benefits.
|1st year||65%||3,064 €|
|2nd year||55%||2,593 €|
|3rd year||35%||1,650 €|
|4th year||25%||1,178 €|
|5th year||15%||707 €|
* Cap calculated on the basis of the annual social security ceiling.
Workers engaged in ventures on a scale that is too large for them to qualify for MSA membership as a farmer or farming entrepreneur may be eligible to join MSA based on the payment of solidarity contributions, if certain requirements are met.
To be eligible for solidarity contribution-based membership, the self-employed agricultural worker must meet the following requirements:
Only a natural person who is individually running a farm or farming business and engaged in operations generating earned income can qualify for solidarity contribution-based membership.
In addition to the solidarity contributions, solidarity contribution-based members are liable to professional training contributions, CGS/CRDS, and, where applicable, to the farmers’ industrial accident and occupational illness insurance contribution (Atexa).
MSA members engaged in agricultural self-employment in Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Island, Mayotte, Saint Barthelemy, and Saint Martin may qualify for exemptions from contributions if certain requirements are met.
Self-employed agricultural workers with supplementary universal health insurance coverage (“CMU-C”) are exempted from the solidarity contribution.
As from January 1st, 2014, farmers, farming entrepreneurs, and solidarity contribution-based members with private insurance coverage for “Amexa” (Farmers’ health insurance) and “Atexa” (Farmers’ industrial accident and occupational illness insurance) are MSA members as concerns the collection and payment of their social security contributions.
MSA collects contributions by billing in installments until the income to be included in the contribution basis and the rates that have been set for the year have been determined.
Self-employed agricultural workers can also choose to pay by monthly direct debit.
The contribution bill lists:
If the worker chooses monthly direct debit, MSA will send them two payment schedules:
Exception for solidarity contribution-based members: The solidarity contribution is compulsory and paid once per year. A single bill is sent by November 30 of each year.
An appointment with a general practitioner categorized as “conventionné secteur 1,” meaning that there is no surcharge, costs 25 euros.
While declaring a “médecin traitant” (primary care physician) is not mandatory, it determines reimbursement rates.
Members who declare a primary care physician (“médecin traitant”) are within the coordinated care pathway (“parcours de soins coordonnés”): their MSA fund will reimburse 70% of the basic rate, minus a 1-euro flat charge. The remainder is out-of-pocket but can be reimbursed by a supplementary health insurance fund. Members who have not declared a primary-care physician (“médecin traitant”) are considered as being outside of the coordinated care pathway (“parcours de soins coordonnées”): their reimbursement is reduced to 30% of the basic rate.
Pharmaceuticals that are either fully or partially reimbursed by MSA must have been medically prescribed by a health care professional.
Reimbursement is possible if both of the following requirements are met:
Pharmaceuticals are reimbursed at 4 different rates as determined by their recognized "medical benefit:”
Coverage of transportation expenses is always calculated based on the least expensive type of transportation that is compatible with the insured's state of health. In order to be reimbursed, the transportation must have been previously prescribed by a physician (except in emergency situations).
MSA must issue a prior approval for transportation under the following circumstances:
The physician must make a request for approval in addition to the prescription. These documents must be submitted to MSA’s medical examiner’s office (“service du contrôle medical”), which must notify the insured of its decision within two weeks of dispatch. If there is no reply, this is considered a prior approval.
Whatever the circumstances, the transportation company’s invoice must be submitted along with the medical expense claim (“feuille de remboursement”).
Whether or not they have private insurance that pays daily medical leave benefits, self-employed workers in agriculture are now eligible for these benefits through MSA, which has set them up through the “Amexa” program.
After a minimum of 1 year of membership in “Amexa,” a worker can qualify for daily benefits if they are prescribed full-time medical leave. Daily benefits are paid from the 4th day of leave if the worker is hospitalized or from the 8th day of leave prescribed due to an illness or accident.
If the worker has a long-term illness, or is prescribed medical leave or uninterrupted treatment for periods of more than six months, daily benefits can be paid for 3 years.
For ordinary medical conditions (leave periods of under 6 months), daily benefits are paid for up to 360 days over a period of 3 years.
|For the first 28 days of paid medical leave||21.33 € per day|
|From the 29th day of paid medical leave||28.44 € per day|
This compensation program has been set up to guarantee the worker a basic personal income in the event of a non-work-related illness or accident.
Daily benefits under the “Amexa” program cannot be paid at the same time as “Atexa” benefits or on top of maternity or paternity substitution benefits. They are not paid in connection with medical leave prescribed for spa treatment.
Statutory maternity leave has been set at a minimum of 16 weeks. It generally begins 6 weeks prior to the expected date of delivery and continues for 10 weeks afterwards.
However, it is possible to take a shorter period of leave, provided that it lasts for at least 8 weeks.
The leave periods shown in the table below are aligned with those applicable under France’s general social security scheme.
|Prenatal leave||Postnatal leave||
|1st or 2nd||6 weeks||10 weeks||16 weeks|
|3rd or more||8 weeks||18 weeks||26 weeks|
|Twins||12 weeks||22 weeks||34 weeks|
|Triplets or more||24 weeks||22 weeks||46 weeks|
Farmers and farming entrepreneurs, farm associates, farmers’ contributing spouses (“collaboratrices d’exploitation”), and farm family contributors (“aides familiales”) are entitled to a substitution benefit through the farmers’ health insurance (“Amexa”) program for their maternity leave.
The mother-to-be should first check with the substitution service in the “département” where she resides to find a substitute. Otherwise, she can hire an employee directly to substitute for her during her maternity leave.
If the substitute is found through a substitution service, the amount of the substitution benefit is equal to the cost of substituting for the mother-to-be. MSA pays the amount of the benefit directly to the substitution service. It should be noted that CSG and CRDS charges are not due under these circumstances.
If an employee is directly hired to substitute for the mother-to-be, the amount of the benefit is equal to the amount of the substitute employee’s wages and social charges, capped at the standard going wage for the job. MSA reimburses the mother-to-be directly for her expenses once she has submitted a copy of the substitute’s employment contract and pay slip.
The substitution benefit continues to be the main program that covers self-employed agricultural workers during their maternity leave. However, if the worker cannot be substituted for, farmers or farming entrepreneurs –but no other category of workers – can qualify for a flat-rate daily maternity or adoption benefit, which is strictly subsidiary in nature and only paid in cases when the worker cannot be substituted for.
However, contributing spouses and contributing family members are not eligible for a flat-rate maternity benefit.
Statutory paternity leave is for 11 consecutive days, or 18 consecutive days for multiple births. It must be taken all at once and is required to begin within the 4 months following the child's birth.
Members using a substitute during their paternity leave are eligible for a paternity substitution benefit.
If the substitute is found through a substitution service:
In general, the amount of the substitution benefit is equal to the cost of the substitution, not including social charges (CSG/CRDS), which remain payable by the member. The cost per day is determined on the basis of the costs borne by the substitution service.
MSA pays the amount of the benefit directly to the substitution service.
If an employee is directly hired to substitute for the new father:
The amount of the benefit is equal to the amount of the substitute employee’s wages and social charges, capped at the standard going wage for the job.
MSA reimburses the new father directly for his expenses once he has submitted a copy of the substitute’s employment contract and pay slip.
MSA pays the same benefits based on the same requirements as the general social security scheme’s Family Benefits Funds (“Caisses d’Allocations Familiales”/ CAF).
Most of these benefits are means-tested.
MSA pays a family allowance to households with 2 or more children under the age of 20. Rates are based on household makeup and income.
The household income taken into account is the same that is used by the MSA Fund to calculate other family benefits. This income is used to determine the income bracket to which the household belongs in order to calculate their family allowance entitlement.
The family allowance is paid automatically from the second child’s birth or arrival in the household, provided that the family has declared the child’s birth or adoption to their MSA Fund. They are paid automatically from the month following the child’s birth or arrival
This supplement is paid to help with child maintenance costs. It is a means-tested benefit that is paid to households with 3 or more dependent children, if the 3rd child is at least 3 years old.
Asf is paid to a single or foster parent raising one or more child(ren) who are totally or partially deprived of family support. Asf can be paid on top of a small child support award. This allowance is not means-tested.
Paje was created to make life easier for new parents. It consists of several types of award from before the child arrives and going up to his/her 6th birthday:
This allowance provides financial aid if one parent temporarily stops working to care for a child with a serious illness, accidental injury, or disability. It is not means-tested.
A means-tested supplement for expenses (“complément pour frais”) can also be awarded if the family has had medical expenses in connection with the child's health.
This benefit helps families pay for back-to-school expenses for children ages 6 to 18. To draw this benefit for children ages 16 and up, families must submit a declaration of each child’s school or apprenticeship enrolment to their MSA fund.
Unpaid child support coverage (Gipa) is aid for single-parent families when one parent stops paying or only pays part of his/her child support responsibilities, or when the child support award is lower than the Family Support Allowance (“Allocation de soutien familial”/ ASF).
This allowance provides financial assistance with educational and health care expenses for dependent children with disabilities under the age of 20. It is not means-tested.
This allowance is awarded as minimum income for people with disabilities on a low income or who have no other source of revenue. Claimants are required to declare their income each quarter in order to keep drawing AAH.
AAH eligibility requirements and rates are determined by the applicant’s disability:
Disability severity ratings are determined by the Committee for the Rights and Self-dependency of Disabled Persons (CDAPH).
AAH eligibility requirements and rates are determined on the basis of age, nationality, and place of residence. The applicant must:
Monthly AAH rates are determined on the basis of family circumstances and other income. It is awarded for 1 to 5 years, or, from January 2017, for 20 years if the disability does not improve. As from January 2019, it is awarded for an unlimited amount of time to those with a permanent disability severity rating of at least 80% and whose restrictions on activities are scientifically not expected to improve. The full rate amounts to 819 euros per month (amount applicable from April 1st, 2018 to March 31, 2019).
For more information: Required paperwork; The quarterly income declaration (“declaration trimestrielle de resources;” the income supplement (“complément de ressources”), and the independent-living top-up (“majoration pour la vie autonome”)
For more information : Eligibility requirements for APL, ALF, and ALS
All occupational illness-related care is covered by the member’s MSA fund in accordance with the basic reimbursement rates.
The following care is covered at a rate of 100% of the amount approved by the French health insurance system:
The following are covered at a rate of 150% of the amount approved by the French health insurance system:
Any surcharges or supplements beyond the approved amount, or beyond 150% of the approved amount for prosthetic devices and dental prosthetics, are not covered by MSA
Daily benefits paid through the ATEXA program are calculated on the basis of a standard yearly income (12,975.93 € as of April 1st, 2018).
Flat-rate daily benefits are paid to farmers or farm entrepreneurs who are unable to work for documented medical reasons. They are paid from the 8th day of prescribed medical leave up to the date of stabilization or full recovery.
The amount changes over time. As of April 1st, 2018, the amounts are:
To learn more: Retirement for self-employed workers in agriculture
The basic retirement pension for farmers or farming entrepreneurs and for farmers’ or farming entrepreneurs’ contributing spouses and contributing family members is composed of a flat-rate retirement pension and a proportional points-based retirement pension:
A flat-rate retirement pension is awarded to members whose sole or main occupation was agricultural self-employment.
This pension is calculated as determined by the member’s actual or treated-as length of contributions on agricultural self-employment as their sole or main occupation. It also takes account of the member’s career length with regard to their birth year, regardless of the effective date for their retirement.
A maximum of 4 quarters can be taken into account for each calendar year.
The pension is calculated as follows:
Full flat-rate retirement pension X Number of years with agricultural self-employment as your sole or main occupation / Length of insurance as determined by your birth year
Amount of the flat-rate retirement pension as of January 1st, 2019:
The number of points is determined by the member’s status (farmer, contributing family member, or contributing spouse).
For contributing spouses and family members, the contribution is calculated on a flat-rate bases and the yearly number of points is fixed: 16 points.
For farmers and farming entrepreneurs, the number of points is determined by their earned income: from 23 to 112 points per year based on the scale of January 1st, 2019.
The proportional retirement pension is calculated as follows:
Number of points X Value of the point X (37.5 years in length of insurance / Length of insurance as determined by birth year)
One point is currently worth 3.996 €.
The compulsory supplementary retirement pension program (“Retraite complémentaire obligatoire”/ RCO) was rolled out in 2003 for farmers and farming entrepreneurs and in 2011 for farmers’ and farming entrepreneurs’ contributing spouses and family members.
It is composed of entitlements accrued through contributions and/or those accrued free of charge. The resulting “RCO points” are multiplied by the value of the point determined by the scale. One RCO point is currently worth 0.3392 € for the year 2019.
As regards entitlements accrued through contributions, the RCO contribution is based either on earned income or on the provisional flat-rate opening basis (“assiette forfaitaire provisoire d’installation”) at a rate of 4% on a minimum basis of 1,820 times the French minimum wage (“SMIC”).
This puts the minimum contribution at 730 € (1,820 x 10.03 € x 4% = 730.18 €).
As regards entitlements accrued free of charge, farmers and farming entrepreneurs are entitled to free points (up to 100 points per year) on the basis of their years of work in that capacity prior to January 1st, 2003, if certain requirements pertaining to the type and duration of their work are met.
Self-employed workers in agriculture who began working at a very early age may be eligible for the early retirement program for members with a long career, which entitles them to a basic pension with no rate reduction.
Members who began working before age 16, 17, or 20 may be eligible to retire before age 60 if both of the following requirements are met:
All periods on which contributions were paid into a French scheme are taken into account. Certain equivalent quarters are treated as if contributions were paid. This means that the following are taken into account:
La retraite anticipée pour carrière longue s'adresse aux assurés non-salariés agricoles ayant commencé à travailler jeune et permet de bénéficier d'une retraite de base sans décote.
A self-employed worker in agriculture can apply for early retirement under the RATH program from age 55. Their pension will be calculated with no rate reduction and be paid with a specific top-up.
To be eligible for the RATH program, a member must meet all of the following three requirements:
Disability assessments cover the entire calendar year. When a member is assessed as having a disability at any time over the course of the calendar year, all quarters of that year are considered as having been accrued while disabled.
The RATH program is designed for workers who had a disability for a significant proportion of their career and who completed the required paperwork to have their disability recognized administratively on an ongoing basis throughout the time they worked with a disability.
A self-employed worker in agriculture can apply for early retirement on the basis of permanent incapacity for work beginning at age 60. Their pension will be calculated with no rate reduction assuming that they have a minimum incapacity-for-work rating with a work-related origin that was caused by either an occupational illness or an industrial accident that resulted in injuries identical to those compensated for by France’s occupational illness insurance scheme.
To be eligible, members must be drawing an industrial accident/ occupational illness pension on the basis of permanent incapacity for work with a severity rating of: at least 20% or between 10% and 19%.
The eligibility requirements for early retirement are determined by the severity of the member’s incapacity for work:
The medical examiner will need to establish the nature and origin of the injuries.
A committee will issue an opinion taking account of the following two requirements:
Early retirement pensions awarded on the basis of permanent incapacity for work are calculated with no rate reduction, regardless of the member’s length of insurance.
With Aspa, individuals with little money for their retirement can draw a minimum income if they meet the eligibility requirements.
To be eligible for Aspa, a member must:
|Monthly amount||Yearly amount|
|As of January 1st, 2019|
|For a single person||868.20 €||10 418.40 €|
|For a couple (married couple, or de facto or civil union partners)||1 347.88 €||16 174.59 €|
|As of January 1st, 2020|
|For a single person||903.20 €||10 838.40 €|
|For a couple (married couple, or de facto or civil union partners)||1 402.22 €||16 826.64 €|
A disability pension for partial unfitness for work can be paid to farmers or farming entrepreneurs, partnering spouses, contributing spouses, contributing de facto or civil union (“PACS”) partners, partners of a limited-liability farming company (“EARL”), and partners working on a de facto co-operative farm who:
The combined amount of the member’s pension plus earned income must remain below their average income for the calendar year prior to their medical leave followed by recognition of a disability.
A disability pension for total unfitness for work can be paid to farmers or farming entrepreneurs, partnering spouses, contributing spouses, contributing de facto or civil union (“PACS”) partners, self-employed contributing family members and farm partners, and self-employed members of farming or other agricultural business who have been recognized as totally unfit for agricultural work.
Members drawing a disability pension are entitled to health insurance benefits for an unlimited amount of time and with no out-of-pocket expenses (except for pharmaceuticals with 35% and 15% reimbursement rates).
|Disability pension for total unfitness for work||4,417.53 €/ year|
|Disability pension for partial unfitness for work||3,427.39 €/ year|
|Caregiver’s top-up (“Majoration pour Tierce Personne”/ MTP)||13,422.85 €/ year|
The additional disability allowance (“allocation supplémentaire d’invalidité”/ ASI) is a benefit that is paid as a supplement to a life-long old-age or disability benefit until the claimant reaches the age of eligibility for the elderly solidarity allowance (“Allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées/ Aspa).
ASI eligibility requirements:
The Additional disability allowance (ASI) amounts to:
There is no death payment for self-employed workers in agriculture.
Entitlements for the deceased's beneficiary continue after the spouse's death.
An individual can apply for a survivor’s retirement pension if his/her spouse or ex-spouse has died (or been missing for more than a year) and was either drawing or would have been eligible for a self-employed worker’s retirement pension from the agricultural scheme.
De facto or civil union (“PACS”) partners are not entitled to a survivor’s retirement pension.
To be eligible for a survivor’s retirement pension, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
The widow(er)’s allowance (“allocation de veuvage”) is awarded as temporary financial support for surviving spouses who do not meet the age requirement for a survivor’s retirement pension. The widow(er)’s allowance is awarded only when directly applied for by the survivor.
If the deceased was a member of the agricultural scheme for self-employed workers in agriculture, the application for a widow(er)’s allowance must be submitted to “the MSA fund in charge of paying old-age entitlements.”
If the deceased had belonged to several different schemes, only one scheme is competent to assess and pay a widow(er)’s allowance entitlement.
For entitlement to a widow(er)’s allowance, the deceased spouse must have been drawing:
The surviving spouse must meet the following requirements:
The widow(er)’s allowance comes to 616.65 € per month. It can be paid at a reduced rate on the basis of the surviving spouse’s income.
The allowance is paid on a monthly basis for a period of 2 years following the death, insofar as the eligibility requirements continue to be met.
If an application is submitted within the 12 months following the spouse’s death, the allowance’s effective date is the 1st day of the month of the death. Otherwise, the effective date is the 1st day of the month of the application.