Homebased working for a UK employer in France


Just in case any of you know anything about employment law..

I've spent the past 6 years working as a home-based project manager for a UK company. Most work is done via the internet/phone with client meetings from time to time in the UK and elsewhere. I moved to France a year ago and at the time thought it was only temporary. However, now I would like to stay indefinitely my company's HR dept is saying I need a french contract which they are not prepared to give. Is there anyway round this? I don't want to return to the UK yet (my partner is setting up a business here) but I don't want to lose my job either!

many thanks for any suggestions, Jemima

Or 5 hours on a french week of course!

Great news. You have 7.5 hours left to work for other clients...perfect.

That's good news, though if you are living in France full time you will have to set up a French AE not a UK company. As Maria says, you will also have to find at least one other client so it is not seen as disguised employment.

So my employer has offered to keep me on but as a contractor working 30 hours rather than 37.5 hours at the pro-rated rate(I'm not sure why). I presume this is good news but I'll need to ask them whether they expect me to set up a UK company from which to invoice them. What other questions do I need to ask? I've never worked as a contractor before. I'm hoping I can set up as an Auto-Entrepreneur and invoice my partner's company from time to time so as to have more than one client (I do some work for him anyway so might as well start charging for it!)

Yes, I've mentioned this to HR and also the possibility of being a contractor via my own UK ltd company. They are going to talk to my boss - it's a bit like Chinese whispers. At the end of the day I think they just don't want the hassle or to give me special treatment - I just hope my long experience with the company counts for something otherwise I will have to diversify into organic duck farming!

I think your company's issue is probably the extra cost of you being a French employee. The social charges are massively higher in France than the UK. Perhaps you could offer to take a pay cut in exchange for them paying the extra amount. Temporarily there was not an issue or requirement to pay the social charges but if you stay French resident then the onus is on you to make sure all the charges are paid.

don't panic, things will work out

Thanks this is a useful article.

Looks like I have no hope then. I'm so upset about it - I can't believe my UK company didn't do their homework when I first asked if it was ok to work from France for a while. I assumed they would put all the necessary paperwork in place as it's a global company with people working all over the place. Stupid me.

Now it looks like they're going to sack me and I have no chance of finding work here as we're in such an isolated place. I can't go back to the UK any time soon because I have twin babies and a partner who's bought a place here. Plus, it looks like things are going to get very tricky when I submit my tax return in France as my UK company hasn't declared me to URSSAF.

no Jemima, under Auto-Entrepreneur you need to have more than one client whom you invoice for your services.

Nice try, but nope :-)

My situation is like Tracy describes, husband works in UK and pays tax and NI in the UK but I normally live with kids in France. We declare his UK income on a French tax return. We don't pay tax or social charges twice but we are legitimately declared in both UK and France so can sleep easy at night - well could do if the damn kids didn't keep crawling in our bed!

This sounds exactly what I want to be doing, but your husband has his own company whereas I am employed so I have to rely on my company to register me with the URSSAF office and pay employment charges of about 20% which I can understand they don't want to do.

I'm not talking 'tax resident', I'm talking dual residency. My husband commuted between the UK and France with his own UK company, he earned, declared and paid his taxes in the UK. I was (still am) fully resident here but we had to declare his earnings (in the box marked 'money earned but tax paid in another country) on our joint tax declaration. The French impots said as I was resident here with the children then his money was our household income and therefore had to be taken into account alongside the money I earned as in France you pay as a couple. It gave him his social security number, it didn' increase the amountof tax paid so who cares!

No - I get the feeling that my company turned a blind eye to what I was doing because it was just going to temporary. Now I've said I want to stay they are starting to panic. I'm not sure that they would want to employ me as a contractor but I'll certainly ask the question. I don't suppose I could I keep my UK salaried job and declare these earnings as an auto-entrepreneur in France?

I'm happy to pay whatever I owe in France even if it leaves me worse off. Better some income than no income. I just need to convince my employer that they can keep me on a UK contract because I am resident in both countries.

According to this I am a UK resident so does that mean I can keep my UK contract ? I'm happy to declare this income in France and pay whatever social security contributions are necessary..

Did you discuss to be expatriated (probably the "local-to-expat" version) by your company to France with the appropriate expatriates contract, which would have to end up to the level of net comps and benefits you have right now. An other option might be to become an auto-entrepreneur and sign a business contract with your current employer after you've resigned.

The other complication is that France will also decide if you are resident here or not using the 'sufficient ties' test. I'm not sure exactly how it is done but roughly if your main home is here and your husband is resident here, then they say you are resident, regardless of the number of days spent in each country and you have to submit a tax return. You can be resident in both countries but fortunately they take into account the tax already paid at source in the UK - it's very easy there is a a space on the form for it.

Don't try and get away with it - I know someone who has been denounced for doing it and it is most unpleasant, not to mention expensive.