The French government set out its plans to make life easier for 6.6 million self-employed workers and entrepreneurs, promising lower taxes and less red tape.
“Work must pay,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Tuesday in a speech in Dijon, France. “More rights, better services, a simpler and more easily understandable administration: this is what the future offers for independent workers.”
President Emmanuel Macron is embarking on a wholesale reform of the rules and structure of the French labor market, changing restrictions on hours and pay, curbing the power of workers’ committees within companies, while overhauling the caps on taxes and benefits for the self-employed. The 39-year-old president has vowed to tackle mass unemployment in France, where the jobless rate has been stuck around 9 percent for most of the past 30 years.
Philippe said the government will revise the rules for self-employed workers and aim to have the new regime in force by December 2019. His plan includes measures to narrow the discrepancies in unemployment benefits and maternity leave between self-employed and salaried workers. Payroll taxes will be simplified and lowered for small companies and the government will double the sales threshold below which firms qualify for special tax-breaks for “micro-entrepreneurs.”