European Federation of Journalists

France: Better access to maternity and paternity leave for freelance journalists

Freelance journalists in France (called ‘Pigistes’ in French) will have better access to maternity and paternity leave, sick leave and disability allowance. The national health insurance office (CNAM) gave its green light on 7 October for more freelance journalists to benefit from social security daily allowances. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliates in France (SNJ, SNJ-CGT, CFDT-Journalistes) in welcoming this new step towards more fairness between journalists and the different types of remuneration.

Until now, ‘pigistes’ had to prove that they had earned at least 20,600€ (gross) in the last 12 months in order to be eligible for social security daily allowances. Because freelance journalists in France are paid for work rendered (for example for one article, one page or a radio/TV report), they could not justify the number of hours per month they spent on assignments. They were subject to a different calculation rule, with a threshold 3,4 times higher than that of other employees paid at the minimum wage.

Under the new system starting from 20 October 2020, the threshold will be significantly lowered:

  • For sick leave of up to 6 months and maternity/paternity leave: journalists will have to prove they have earned at least 1500€ in the past 3 months to be entitled to it.
  • For sick leave of more than 6 months and disability pension: journalists will have to prove they have earned at least 6000€ in the past 12 months.

“From now on, the conditions for the opening of rights applicable to freelance journalists are aligned with those applicable to hourly-paid employees,” explained the SNJ.

Co-chair of the EFJ Freelance Expert Group (FREG) and SNJ-CGT representative Pablo Aiquel commented:

“This is a big step for freelance journalists, many of whom are in precarious situations, and especially for women journalists. This achievement consolidates the benefits of the 1974 Cressard law, which recognises the presumption of salaried employment for all freelance journalists. It is a great victory for journalists’ trade union action in France”.