With its history, art scene and cosmopolitan cities, it’s no wonder France is a huge draw for expats who are looking for a new home. But once you’ve made a move to a new country, you’ll need to support yourself. If you’re looking for a local job in France, you may end up earning the country’s minimum wage.
Is the minimum wage a living wage in France? Does it increase often? Who’s in charge of setting it? Read on to have all your questions answered about France’s minimum wage.
France’s minimum wage is €9.76 per hour or €1,480.27 per month for 35-hour work weeks.
France’s minimum wage is covered under French Labour Law, which has been in place since 1950. Statute determining minimum wage includes an obligatory cost of living increase every year, so France’s minimum wage increases on 1 January of every year.
Minimum wage in France applies in every part of the country. There’s no variance to the minimum wage depending on the region.
Workers who are under 17 years old and have less than six months of professional working experience can be paid 80 percent of the minimum wage. Workers who are experienced and between 17 and 18 years of age can be paid 90 percent of the minimum wage.
Students who are doing apprenticeships and have a contract with their employers can earn anywhere from 25 to 78 percent of the minimum wage during their training time. Interns can be unpaid, but will often receive an expense allowance.
The first legislation for a minimum wage in France called the SMIG (Salaire Moyen Interprofessional garanti, or guaranteed cross-sectoral minimum wage), was passed in 1950. However, during the “Glorious 30” years after WWII, wages increased so rapidly they well surpassed the legislative minimum wage. In 1970, the French minimum wage became the SMIC (Salaire Moyen Interprofessional Croissance, or growth cross-sectoral minimum wage) which increases yearly to reflect the cost of living and economic growth in France. Yearly adjustments are made based on inflation and the average worker salaries for the previous year, and the government can approve additional increases if it chooses to.
What’s the minimum per month you need to make to qualify for national healthcare or health insurance?
There’s no minimum per month that people need to make to qualify for coverage under France’s universal healthcare system. All people in France are entitled to coverage, regardless of their employment status. However, many services are only covered 70 percent by French national healthcare, so many people choose to supplement their universal coverage with private insurance. The cost of private insurance in France varies, as it's set by the companies providing the insurance. Universal national healthcare is managed by the Ministry of Health and funded by residents, who pay rates that are a percentage of their earned income and that are regulated by law.
The cost of living in France will vary quite a bit depending on what part of the country you live in. If you settle in Paris, you’re living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. In some smaller cities, like Nantes, rent will cost less than half of what it costs in Paris, on average. One of the biggest hidden costs of living in France for expats is the cost of converting your home currency to Euros.
In Paris, a single person can expect to spend a little more than €10,000 per year on living expenses, not including rent, which can easily more than double that figure. In Nantes, the average cost of living for a single person for a year is €8,448, not including rent, which averages around €500 per month for a one-bedroom flat in the city center.
As you can see, your cost of living in France is largely dependent on the city in which you choose to live. But France boasts one of the highest minimum wages in the world and average salaries that are often above the minimum wage.
Living between countries or thinking of making a move? Wise could help you save when you send money abroad.
You can send money abroad by making international money transfers via your bank, or you can use Wise. While banks may mark up the exchange rate on international transfers so they can make money, Wise gives you the real mid-market rate — the same exchange rate you see on Google — so you know you’re getting the best possible deal. There are no hidden fees or markups; with Wise, you just pay a small transfer fee that’s spelled out upfront.
Wise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, which allow you to send, receive and manage money in multiple global currencies all at once. If you live in one country but work in another, you can get local bank details in the US, the UK, the EU or Australia so you can get paid like a local, without paying expensive international fees to send or receive money abroad.
Whether the minimum wage is “good” really depends on the cost of living in any given country. But here’s how France’s minimum wage compares to other parts of the world.
|Country||Minimum Wage (in US dollars)|
|France||$1,748.85 per month|
|Canada||$7.93 - $10.68 per hour|
|Germany||$1,769.80 per month|
|United States||$7.25 per hour|
|United Kingdom||$9.93 per hour|
|Australia||$508.88 per week|
|Norway||No legal minimum wage|
|Singapore||No legal minimum wage|
|Dubai (UAE)||No legal minimum wage|
|Belgium||$1,846.11 per month|
France is a destination that’s high on many expats’ lists. Whether you’re looking to move there permanently or just spend some time in a new place, good luck with your move!
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