An Act of June 14, 2013 (the "Act") provides for (i)
the extension of company health insurance plans to all employees
and (ii) improved portability of health and pension schemes for the
benefit of past employees.
Extension of health insurance plans. By January
1, 2016, all employees in the private sector must be provided with
a minimum level of coverage by a company health insurance plan. In
particular, they must be covered for illness, pregnancy and
accidents. This coverage will complement the state benefits
provided by the Social Security regime ("régime de
As there is a general preference for industry-wide agreements,
there is an obligation for industries to negotiate the level of
health plan coverage, and negotiations should have commenced before
1 June 2013 at the industry level. It must be at least as favorable
as the minimum coverage required by law. Industry-wide negotiations
on healthcare plans must cover:
the contents and levels of coverage;
the level of employer and employee contributions; and
the methods of choice of the insurer, including a thorough
cost/benefit analysis of the methods used by companies to retain an
insurer, bearing in mind the requirement to provide effective
coverage for all employees of the industry and universal health
In the absence of an applicable industry-wide agreement,
companies will have to unilaterally provide their employees with a
health insurance plan which should meet the legal minimum coverage
requirements. These must be negotiated between July 1, 2014
and January 1, 2016.
The new portability regime for health and ancillary
benefit schemes. Since 2008, pursuant to an
inter-professional national agreement, every employee has been
entitled to continue to benefit from the company's insurance
policies for death, maternity, working capacity and disability
during a period of unemployment after the termination of his or her
employment (except in the case of termination for gross misconduct
Pursuant to this national agreement, in order to benefit from
the portability coverage "with the same level of coverage as
applicable in the company", the former employee must comply
with certain conditions:
he/she must have the right to benefit from the collective health
coverage ("avoir ouvert des droits") with his/her last
he/she must have had his/her employment agreement terminated in
a manner that entitles him/her to receive unemployment benefits
(except in case of termination for gross misconduct); and
he/she must provide the insurance company (and no longer the
previous employer) with a justification of receipt of unemployment
In addition to the national agreement provisions, the Act
provides that the employee and his/her dependants
("ayant-droits") will benefit from the same level of
coverage that the employee was receiving at the time of the
employee's termination of employment. The level of coverage
must be maintained for the duration of the unemployment period
during which the employee is entitled to compensation, up to a
limit of the duration of the last employment agreement with his/her
former employer. The maximum coverage period has been extended from
nine months to 12 months.
The Act also provides that the benefit of the maintained health
and ancillary benefit coverage is "free of charge". Only
the employer and the working employees are to finance the
portability regime. This is known as "mutual fund
financing" and will result in an increase in social security
contributions for both employers and working employees.
The portability regime will come into force as of June 1, 2014
for health coverage and by June 1, 2015 for the other ancillary
welfare benefits (pregnancy, disability, etc.) if they are to be
provided in a separate package. In practice, company plans tend to
cover all of these benefits, which means that, in most cases, the
necessary changes should be implemented before June 1, 2014.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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