Social Security in France

Social Security in France is divided into four branches:

:*"Maladie", or illness;:*"Vieillesse", or old age;:*"Famille", or family;:*"Recouvrement", recovery.

From an institutional point of view, French social security is made up of diverse "organismes" collectively referred to as "La Sécu", an abbreviation of "Sécurité Sociale".


From the Middle Ages, certain professional organizations provided limited assistance to their members. However, the abolition of corporations by the Allarde decree, in 1791, put an end to this early system of private professional collective security. It was nevertheless replaced by the "sociétés de secours mutuels", or societies for mutual support, recognized and strictly regulated by the 1835 Humann law. These "sociétés" would thereafter, be free from administrative control, and were encouraged by the law of the April 1st, 1898, referred to as the "Chartre de la mutualité", or Charter of mutuality. The 1898 law establishes the principles of "mutualisme", as they are found today in French law; "mutuelles" -- organizations for collective social insurance -- were permitted to offer loans to any French person, even if at the beginning, interest rates were too high for the average person.

Alongside the movement for mutual, private social insurance, legislators pushed state-sponsored social aid, which tended to nurture the principle of national solidarity. The law of the 15th of July, 1893, instituted free medical assistance; the law of 9th of April, 1898, considerably facilitated the worker compensation claims; the law of June 27, 1904, created the "service départemental d'aide sociale à l'enfance", an childbirth assistance program; and on July 14th, 1905, an elderly and disabled persons assistance program was inititated.

The development of insurance companies, at the beginning of the XXth century, was also encouraged by legislation. (Note that insurance companies are profit driven, while "mutuelles" are cooperatives.) On April 9th, 1898, legislators required that employers purchase insurance for indemnity payments to injured employees. Then, on April 5th, 1928, insurance was extended to cover illness, maternity, and death. On April 30th, 1930, the law was again extended to apply to jobs in the agricultural sector.

During the Second World War, the National Council of the French Resistance adopted plans to create a universal social security program to cover all citizens, regardless of class, in the event that sickness or injury made them unable to work. In the U.K., the first report of British economist William Beveridge outlined the general principles that would govern the integration and evolution of social security in post-war France. Indeed, the "ordonnances" of the 4th and 19th of April, 1945, created a generalized, national social security system similar to that described in Beveridge's plan.

Modern social security in France

is "paritaire" -- dual, or characterized by parity -- in its structure:

:* it is financed by payments from both employers and their employees;:* it is administered and managed by all "partenaires sociaux", or social partners; typically being employee unions and/or companies.

The Constitution of the IVth Republic, adopted by referendum in 1946, a constitutional state obligation to provide financial assistance to those deemed most socially vulnerable, most notably women, children, and retired workers.

Nonetheless, social security was not entirely universal. The CNR program -- the national resistance council -- had envisioned universal social security, but the "régime général", or unified social security program, actually created excluded miners, sailors, farmers, and government employees, all of whom were covered by "régimes particuliers", or special administrative bodies. Finally, the law of the 22nd of May, 1946, limited coverage under the unified s.s. program to employees of the industrial and commercial sectors.

In the following decades, the unified s.s. program would gradually be extended:

* the law of Apr 9th, 1947 : extended social security to government workers;
* " " of Jan. 17th 1948 : established three retiree insurance programs for non-salaried, non-farm employees (artisians, industrial and commercial workers, and among the liberal professions)
* " " of Jul. 10th 1952 : established mandatory retiree insurance program for farmers, managed by the "mutualité sociale agricole" (MSA)
* " " of Jan. 25th 1961 : established mandatory health insurance for farmers, allowing them choice among providers.
* " " Jul. 12th 1966 : established maternity health insurance for non-salaired, non-farm workers, managed by the CANAM
* " " of Dec. 22nd 1966 : established mandatory insurance programs for farm-related accidents, non-work related accidents, and work-related sicknesses with free-choice of provider.
* " " of Oct. 25th 1972 : protection enforcement of salaried farm-workers against work-related accidents, written into law
* " " Jul. 4th 1975 : universalized retiree insurance mandatory for working population
* " " Jan. 22nd 1978 : establishment of unique program for ministers, religious congregation members, and personal insurance other non-covered persons
* " " July 28th, 1999 : the complete institutialization of universal health care.

(Translation from is still in progress...)

External links

* [ Getting informed about Health Insurance ]

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