Self employed? You need to read this!

If you are self employed in France you may well assume that all the lovely tax you pay goes to provide you with a range of benefits when you need them. Well, yes it does. Up to a point. I’ve got no quibble with the healthcare system - in fact I’m typing this from a hospital room where Mr. H is awaiting surgery 72 hours after the GP phoned up and requested a slot. I haven’t had any experience of pension payments so I am not going to comment on those - (although I have been told that if you are a micro-entrepreneur they are pretty rubbish) - but I am going to tell you about being off work due to an accident or illness and just how little you get.

A couple of years ago whilst reviewing all our insurance needs with the lovely @fabien, he very sensibly pointed out that if either of us were to have an accident, major or minor, let alone get a terminal illness or develop a long term condition, we would be in trouble. Having talked us through various options he found policies to suit us both and tailored them accordingly. Mine, for example, covers me for horse riding too and knowing that if I were to have one of the (thankfully rare, but they do happen) falls where you end up paralysed for life, at least my family would have the means to look after me (and hopefully buy me a top of the range electric wheelchair too!) without bankrupting themselves. James’s cover was way more complicated as he has previously had open heart surgery and is thus a ‘worse’ insurance risk, but as always, Fabien managed to find us great policies at excellent prices.

In June this year, I broke my jaw. Apart from the horror of only being able to eat soup for the first few weeks, I was also given an ‘arret de travail’ for a month. Even without the pain, I couldn’t really have worked as I couldn’t speak without slurring my words and that’s not ideal for an English teacher!

Back in 2010 when I broke my ankle, I qualified for 20€ per day from the RSI, (In fact I decided to keep working as we needed the money so James dropped me off everyday in my wheelchair and I got quite adept at speeding to the photocopier but that is another story) and that isn’t a huge amount but it is better than nothing.

So I duly sent my ‘arret de travail’ off to the RSI. They promptly sent it back, told me they were no longer responsible for paying out anything if you are off sick and told me to send it to the CIPAV (retirement caisse) which I duly did. The CIPAV also returned it saying ‘no sorry, you can’t have anything from us’. I didn’t expect a huge amount but I was shocked not to get anything.

Then Fabien and his team swung into action. Having already notified the insurers of my accident, they guided me through the whole procedure, processed all the paperwork for me and chased the insurers, until 6 weeks later I received 1600€ in my bank account. I was only off for a month but even so, we missed the income and I can imagine that if you are off for a longer period, then this kind of cover is essential. I really wish we had known Fabien back in 2013; James was off for nearly 6 months after surgery on his foot. And that’s just accidents and minor operations. If you get something ‘nasty’, then worrying about money coming in is the last thing you need to be doing.

I really can’t say this strongly enough. If you are self-employed please make sure that you are covered in the event of an accident or long term illness. A quick phone call to Fabien will provide peace of mind for you and your family.