What is social protection in France?


Social protection in France is a set of measures that enable individuals living in society to cope with events likely to cause a decline in their resources due in particular to increases in their spending. These events are also called “social risks”. They include, for example, illness, accidents at work, maternity, old age or unemployment.

Two types of services:

There are two types of mechanisms in place to deal with these types of situations.

  • Social service provision: These refer to access to discounted services or care for people in public hospitals, for example.
  • Social benefits: Social welfare organisations pay funds directly to the people concerned. These social benefits are themselves based on three princes:
    • The principle of assistance: The aim here is to fight poverty with the RSA (Active Solidarity Income). It is not necessary to participate in any form of contribution in order to benefit from it. However, the RSA is issued on a means-tested basis.
    • The insurance principle: This allows you to benefit from a replacement income in the event of unemployment or illness.
    • The principle of universal protection: This principle refers in particular to family allowances, for example. They are unconditional on prior contributions or resources. On the other hand, these aids are the same for everyone.

Protection in duo with other organizations

Social protection in France is provided by several organisations. First, it provides basic coverage to meet needs such as those related to illness, accidents at work, occupational diseases, family or even old age. These needs can also be complemented by other organizations that are so-called complementary plans.

These supplementary schemes act as supplementary coverage, such as supplementary health insurance schemes or supplementary pension schemes.

The National Union of Employment in Industry and Commerce (UNEDIC) for example, also deals with all aspects of unemployment insurance.

amount of social benefits

Where do the sources of funding come from?

Social protection mainly draws its funds from social contributions. Social security contributions are deductions from part of the salary received. Part of these deductions is paid by the employer and the other part by the employee, the beneficiary.

In order not to rely exclusively on social contributions to raise money, social protection raises its funds through taxes such as the Generalised Social Contribution (CSG). The GCTU applies not only to wages but also to any other type of income such as retirement pensions, unemployment benefits, RSA or financial investments. Solidarity expenses such as the RSA are also financed by public contributions from the State

Although it is a crucial issue for our society and our quality of life, the financial balance of social protection is very fragile.