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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

My husband and I moved to France and just now learned about CESU. We have hired people at home previously and didn't realize we needed to do the CESU process. Two of them were painting (one painting furniture and one painting walls). Is there a way to legally get around CESU? Like having them sign something stating that they didn't work more than 8 hours a week or more than 4 weeks consecutively? And that it's flat-rate per room/piece of furniture? They are writing litigious-sounding emails and I think they want to get paid via PayPal, then take me to employment court and get paid again.

Thank you!
 

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You could try siging up with the CESU.....not that difficult, and then you could declare them. Besides getting an employers ID you will need the "usual" info on the employees...social security number, place and date of birth, address etc.

If you have paid them already, then declare on the cesu site and they will receive a "pay slip" from the cesu. You will be billed by prelevement for both employers and employees cotisations.

If you have not paid them then say it was your intention to pay them by cesu anyway!

Why are they complaining? It may be worth finding out exactly what their problem is. If their money is declared on cesu they will be liable ( depending on their circumstances) to pay tax. The benefit of cesu is that that they get sick pay, accident cover and pension rights. Some people are happy to work on the black, others want their sick pay and pension.

I've had to terminate employment with 3 cleaning ladies in my time in France. I've found the best way to discuss things like this is over a cup of coffee, wine or whisky. You can then get a clear idea of their expectations, and they understand what you are planning to do. Avoid confrontations....the French are good at it and they are on their home ground for language.

I suggest you avoid anything involving laywers or employee dispute processes....complex, expensive and it's in a very technical form of French.

DejW
 

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Basically you were employing people on the black In France you can only employ registered artisans or use the CESU system fr casual employment The system is very structured in France You need to contact CESU as described by DejW
 

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Is there a way to legally get around CESU?
Retroactively avoid your obligations to pay cotisations as an employer? I'm thinking not, But you could sign up as an employer on the CESU website, see what info you need to register employees (NIRs and adresses, etc), then get that info from your employees, and register them as your employees under your CESU account, and then declare the payments you made (you will need on a monthly basis, hours and hourly rate (not less than SMIC)). You will owe cotisations equal to about 40% of what you have paid them (there could be fines for late declarations, but I don't know that). If you had employees who do not have a NIR, then personally I would talk with a lawyer, but I doubt that employees of that type will want to rock the boat, but you should not under any circumstances hire people without a NIR or SIRET since both you and they are in Code Pénal territoire.

If you hire workers that have their own business with a SIRET (i.e., they work for their business in providing services to you), they pay their own cotisations. This is why their prices are higher, so in the end it can be a wash, particularly since CESU payments are tax advantaged. Overall CESU is a very efficient and admirable system, assisting the employers as well as the employees.

Suggest you be apologetic in dealing with your employees (and CESU, if they contact you), they had every right to expect that you comply with the law, and it is important to your employees' retirement and healthcare that the employment be declared and cotisations be paid. They might think that you are trying to be cute with them.
 

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As said. In France, all employment has to be declared social taxes have to be paid on all earned income. If you employ a private individual to do paid work for you, then you as the employer have to pay your share of the social contributions their wages, it's as simple as that.
Like having them sign something stating that they didn't work more than 8 hours a week or more than 4 weeks consecutively? And that it's flat-rate per room/piece of furniture?
I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Maybe these factors make a difference in the US but not here. Even if you only employ someone for a couple of hours at minimum wage, it has to be declared.

It's not surprising your workers are miffed. To a French person this is an unthinkable thing for an employer to do (unless there is a clear understanding between you that the arrangement will be kept "unofficial" ie illegal). I suggest you explain to them that you're new to France and you didn't know how it works here, but now you do know you will straighten it out.

You seriously do not want to risk them setting URSSAF onto you, URSSAF has a reputation for being hardline and once they get their teeth into someone they don't let go.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all SO MUCH for the advice! I really just want to make this right and do it legally, now that I know what CESU is. In America, it is completely different -- none of this is required. I wish France gave a welcome package with details like this to new immigrants. It would certainly save a lot of headaches.

My follow up question is this: It seems like there's a lot of paperwork to be signed and filed *before* the work starts. I know that the requirements are different if they work 4 consecutive weeks or more than 8 hours a week (if they do, a proper employment contract is required), but I'm unclear on what's required if they didn't? I think maybe a less intense agreement stating that it's a "duree determine" (predetermined duration of work, not open-ended)??

And can I file payment with CESU (I'm still unclear of how to do this online, especially since it wasn't hourly, but instead it was based on the furniture he painted) if he won't give me a CESU number?

Also, the woman who painted a couple of walls and helped with some wallpaper -- that's not covered by CESU. She's supposed to have a SIRET number, I think. I'm not sure what to do now since I paid her half already and just owe her the remaining now.

Thanks again!
 

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As others have said you need to do it by the book.

If they give you a siret/siren number then you can pay against invoice. If no siren then it's CESU. I don't think CESU allows for piece rate, so work out an hourly rate based on x per hour (try 15€ for starters?). If they don't give you a siren then they must give you their soc sec number and other info. If they won't then threaten to report them to the CESU because they are openly working on the black.

As for your comments about France not being like the US, you are, of course, quite correct, but it doesn't help you. The CESU / URSAAF site gives good info (in French of course)...there's info for emloyers and employees. They have a helpful call centre that helped me out wonderfully when I made a major mistake reporting one month. Frankly, once you understand how it works it is a very well engineered business process that takes all the payment/ cotisations hassle out of employing people in France.

DejW
 

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T I know that the requirements are different if they work 4 consecutive weeks or more than 8 hours a week (if they do, a proper employment contract is required), but I'm unclear on what's required if they didn't? I think maybe a less intense agreement stating that it's a "duree determine" (predetermined duration of work, not open-ended)??
I'm not sure where you're getting this from.
AFAIK employment rights are the same whatever the work pattern. If you only employ people for a few hours, they still have the same rights for the hours that they work.
I have never heard of anyone specifying a CDD or a CDI(=durée indetermiée=permanent contract) under CESU. The longer they work for you the more rights they acquire in terms of severance, that is automatic.

And can I file payment with CESU (I'm still unclear of how to do this online, especially since it wasn't hourly, but instead it was based on the furniture he painted) if he won't give me a CESU number?
I doubt that piecework payment is acceptable to CESU.
Not sure what you mean by "if he won't give me a CESU number".
 

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Thank you all SO MUCH for the advice! I really just want to make this right and do it legally, now that I know what CESU is. In America, it is completely different -- none of this is required. I wish France gave a welcome package with details like this to new immigrants. It would certainly save a lot of headaches.

My follow up question is this: It seems like there's a lot of paperwork to be signed and filed *before* the work starts. I know that the requirements are different if they work 4 consecutive weeks or more than 8 hours a week (if they do, a proper employment contract is required), but I'm unclear on what's required if they didn't? I think maybe a less intense agreement stating that it's a "duree determine" (predetermined duration of work, not open-ended)??

And can I file payment with CESU (I'm still unclear of how to do this online, especially since it wasn't hourly, but instead it was based on the furniture he painted) if he won't give me a CESU number?

Also, the woman who painted a couple of walls and helped with some wallpaper -- that's not covered by CESU. She's supposed to have a SIRET number, I think. I'm not sure what to do now since I paid her half already and just owe her the remaining now.

Thanks again!
There is no paperwork at all. You can sign up on-line: https://www.cesu.urssaf.fr/info/accueil.html

Then you can add each employee, inputting the necessaery details. It is up to you to conform to the system, not vice-versa. So you will need to come up with an hourly rate (just divide the total compensation by whatever the employee says was the number of hours worked (the quotient should be greated than 10 euros/hour I believe but you can verify thsi with CESU)). I believe that no wriiten contract for occasional domestic employment is necessary, but I could be wrong [Bev, where are you?].

Incidentially, aren't you quite wrong about the States, don't politicians there get into trouble all the time for not making social security contributions for their domestic employees?

But I can understand your chagrin in thinking that things that ought to be simple seem complicated. It would indeed be very nice to have a "how-to" guide for France, but there are resources that are here to help you, like this website, for example.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think I just figured out what the guy who painted some furniture for me is trying to do, since he sent me an email outlining some bullsh*t stuff he said I did wrong (like criticize his work! humph!). He must have seen me as an easy (expat) mark. I read this:

"Prise d’acte de la rupture (Know Your Rights: 5 Ways to Leave Your CDI Job in France | Paris Unraveled)

If your employer has been doing illegal stuff, you can quit your job and ask the courts to requalify your quitting into an unjustified firing. This is called a “prise d’acte de la rupture,” and requires extreme caution and legal consultation.
Basically, this consists of writing a letter to your employer outlining all of the illegal things he did. This could include, for example, failing to properly calculate vacation time and comp time, making you work under the table, forcing you to work without a lunch break, or anything else that violates France’s thorough code of labor laws (more in another post). Essentially, you write a letter to your employer in French stating that the illegal conditions he is imposing on you prevent you from completing your contract, and you send it in recommandé avec avis de réception.

Your quitting takes effect immediately, and you do not continue to work. Then, you have to go to court and prove that your employer was doing illegal stuff. If the court agrees with you, your employer will have to pay you up to six months of salary, plus an indemnité de rupture as if they had fired you without cause, and damages. Of course, it can be very costly to go through a trial or even a negotiation process, but some lawyers will work for a percentage of your indemnity if they think you have a case. The potential winnings are very high, and employees win almost 80% of the time."
Does anyone know if this 6 month + damages thing applies even if he only worked a total of 38 hours??

The guy who painted the furniture and cabinets did a bad job and got paint all over the wall, used the wrong paint, etc. so I hope I could justify that he was fired with cause.

I want to pay him via CESU but he won't give me the required information so that I can do that. I'm not sure what to do next?

Also, for the female painter (who painted the walls), how do I register that I paid her, so it's all legal? I doubt she has a SIRET number. Is it OK that I used PayPal to give her one payment already?

For reference, this is the email he sent me [I added the part in block quotes]:
"the moral contract has never been respected. nothing has been clear since the beginning.

- error of your contract
- modification for freelance contract [this is an NDA he signed, which does not discuss the job details or pay rate]
- no information given during our first meeting or after on this subject
- hourly rate proposed by Mrs. XXX [my assistant in the US] then modification with invoice to the parts
- no quotation between us about this
- attack on my work
- employee filmed (no statement on the contract, no CNIL declaration made in France).
- now we transform a paypal payment in payment CESU

Where is our CESU contract? how I declare you as an employer with the authorities skills without legal contract in France ?
Internship contract, Freelance contract, CESU contract, what will it be next?

I repeat when we want a professional job we call a professional, we establish a legal contract with estimate, the two parts accepts the estimate and agrees to respect this estimate and only at this moment we require an obligation of result. we do not make an announcement for an internship, then we change to Freelance and we ask that the person gives the same job as a professional company.

When the three-month period is over, you have blamed my job, why not tell me before your discontent. If your allegations about my work have been proven you can put a term to our employment relationship at any time
you reproach me for having copied my previous email, you address me with 4 different email addresses.

I'll tell you again, I've done my best work, you should have ended our collaboration.
I respected you, I was filmed at my inssu, I suffered a defamation in your mail, on my work, on my person and on my integrity. they are serious breaches.
I continue to remain polite with you and I have never disrespected you in my comments and exchanges."
 

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I think I would treat this website with caution - this bit sprang out at me immediately "Of course, it can be very costly to go through a trial or even a negotiation process, but some lawyers will work for a percentage of your indemnity if they think you have a case" but I don't see how it can true because French law does not allow lawyers to take cases on a no-win no-fee basis.

Hard to comment on what he says without any way to assess the facts impartially but that is clearly not a happy bunny. Is it true for instance that you advertised an internship? And that you said nothing for 3 months and then criticised his work?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks again for the advice!

Is it true for instance that you advertised an internship?
Yes, my assistant in America initially advertised it as an internship, but when at our initial meeting to see if he wanted to do the furniture painting, I told him that it would not be an internship, since he is not a student.

And that you said nothing for 3 months and then criticised his work?
I told him in person when he made mistakes, but I was always nice about it. I didn't tell him in writing though, because I didn't realize I needed to and I would have felt like that would seem harsh. It is clear he didn't care about doing a decent job though.

He only worked 38 hours in total, over about 2 months.
 

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Thanks again for the advice!


Yes, my assistant in America initially advertised it as an internship, but when at our initial meeting to see if he wanted to do the furniture painting, I told him that it would not be an internship, since he is not a student.


I told him in person when he made mistakes, but I was always nice about it. I didn't tell him in writing though, because I didn't realize I needed to and I would have felt like that would seem harsh. It is clear he didn't care about doing a decent job though.

He only worked 38 hours in total, over about 2 months.
I don't understand why you initially advertised it as an internship. And I don't understand the actual contract you entered into.:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It was my assistant's mistake, basically. It was listed as an interior design DIY internship (I have a US-based business).
 

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Someone up thread asked "where is Bev?" but I have to admit I have very limited experience with CESU. Basically limited to having to fill out the forms to pay my mother-in-law's housekeeper after my m-i-l died. My m-i-l kept great records and all I had to do was to follow her example, after doing a quick bit of research about severance entitlements under CESU.

But there are a number of red flags popping up in this discussion. The first one is that the work was ever "advertised" as a "internship" at all. What is known in the US as an "internship" bears little or no resemblance to a French "stage." That may be the first problem.

And as EH says, the fact that you have a US based business is pretty much irrelevant here. French workers have to be paid under French labor law and work to French labor law conditions.

Where, exactly, were the positions "advertised"? This might be the first thing to consider.

Employing anyone for any period of time in France involves a "contract" either implicit or implied. Did you have any sort of written agreement with the folks you employed? Were they working for your US business? Or for you personally?

We've often joked here that countries should provide "users manuals" for newly arrived immigrants/expats. But chances are any users manual for France would be available only in French anyhow. At this point, the best approach might be to see if there is any sort of office for CESU in your area where you can take an appointment to go in and explain your situation and ask for their help in trying to correct the situation. You'll find that the various regulatory agencies have quite a bit of discretion in waiving the worst of the fines or penalties. There tends to be a standard 10% penalty for filing something late in any event, but if you come forward (rather than waiting to be "found out") they may very well be merciful.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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However, if the employment contract was through a business, I suspect that CESU is inapplicable, being essentially for employment à domicile and I believe in a private capacity.
 

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However, if the employment contract was through a business, I suspect that CESU is inapplicable, being essentially for employment à domicile and I believe in a private capacity.
Up until a few posts back, the assumption was that this was "household employment." This idea of an employment listing (as an internship) and "my assistant placed the ad" casts things in a very different light. But a US business has no validity as an "employer" here in France - if this is employment by a business, then probably best to go talk to the local CCI about registering the business and maybe getting the CCI's help in working this through with URSSAF. That's going to be a bit more problematic.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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