It is the purpose of this guide to explain the obligations of yacht crew and the employers of yacht crew working onboard French flagged yachts or residing in France for the purpose of social security contributions following the implementation of the latest version of the French social security decree for seafarers with effect from the 1st January, 2018.
The Government of France have enacted legislation designed to ensure that seafarers working on French flagged vessels as well as seafarers residing in France are provided with adequate social security protection in line with MLC 2006. This is achieved through affiliation to ENIM which is the government agency responsible for collecting social security payments in the nautical sector.
The obligations apply to the employers of yacht crew who work onboard a yacht flying the French flag or reside in France.
ENIM defines residence as an uninterrupted three-month period in the French mainland or French overseas territories. Although not specifically defined it is our understanding that living onboard a yacht lying in France for an uninterrupted three month period qualifies as French residence for the purpose of the rules.
The contribution system devised by ENIM is complicated and based on a formula comprising the position held by the crew member, pre-determined flat rate salary bands, category of vessel and operational parameters.
It has been calculated that on average the combined employer and employer contribution will equate to nearly one half of the crew member’s monthly salary.
The French legislation has been drafted to accommodate certain exemptions for seafarers for whom ENIM may not be suitable in one of the following two situations:
- If the crew member is working or employed on a yacht that is:
– not flying the French flag; and
– flying the flag of an EU or EFTA country or a country with which France or the EU has a bilateral agreement in respect of social system coverage; and
– the appropriate contributions are being made by the employer and/or employee as required by the county in question.
- If the yacht crew member is enrolled or subject to a state and/or private welfare scheme that is at least equivalent to the French national welfare scheme for seafarers.
How Oceanskies Crew can assist
Oceanskies Crew can assist yacht owners, yacht mangers and yacht crew in the following areas:
– Assist with ENIM registration and payments in France;
– Assist with social security registration and payments in other EU and suitably qualifying foreign jurisdictions, such as Malta; and
– Facilitate equivalent private welfare scheme in conjunction with third party insurance partners (our recommended course of action for all yacht crew regardless of whether the French rules apply).
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Tom Becker here at Oceanskies who is also a fluent French speaker.