Like every first of the month in France, a laundry list of new changes will come into force on 1st March. Here’s what to expect.
From energy to food and housing, there will be some changes to the daily lives of French residents starting 1st March. Some will be beneficial, some not-so-much, but all will be in effect when the clock strikes midnight.
First up is the announcement that Total Energies will cap the cost of diesel and SP95 at €1.99. This may come as a relief to the populace, with roughly four out of 10 stations currently displaying fuel prices over the €2 per litre mark, making filling the tank a struggle for many vehicle owners. 3,400 stations will be affected, and the cap will remain in place all of 2023.
This next change may partly offset the benefits of the last, with the decision to make March the last month for people to claim monthly government fuel allowances up to €100. This one-off payment has been paid out to workers in the first five income bands who need to use a vehicle to get to work.
As of 13th February, the government said that almost half of the 10 million households eligible for this benefit had yet to claim it. To check eligibility, visit here.
Navigo passholders who have had a pass for at least three months over the last four months of 2022, for example between September and December, can request a refund of half a month of their subscription, a saving of €37.60 until 14th April. Some RER B and RER D users may be eligible for a full month’s reimbursement due to service issues. A Navigo pass number or proof of payment will be needed to receive the refunds.
On another note, say goodbye to those annoying weekend and public holiday phone sales calls. From 1st March, cold calling rules will change, limiting the callers to Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 8pm. Additionally, the caller cannot ring the same person more than four times in a month. If the sellers violate these rules, they can be fined between €75,000 and €375,000; an excellent deterrent for rule-breakers.
Consumers should brace themselves for some price rises in March starting with the supermarkets. Popularly being touted as “Red March”, this month sees distributors and suppliers negotiate on the wholesale prices of goods sold on shelves. This year, the costs of items are expected to go up by 10%, making the cost of food significantly more expensive.
In addition, interest rates are set to increase for the Action Logement loan scheme holders from 0.5% to 1.5%. The financial aid package for real estate project financing is capped at €40,000.
Meal vouchers, which expire at the end of February, can be exchanged free of charge for new ones until 15th March. For those with cards, funds will need to be transferred from 2022 to be used this year.
Finally, for companies with 50 or more employees, equality indexes must be made public, as every year, by 1st March. The tool must reflect gender equality in a business, calculated by a set score out of 100. Since 2022, depending on the score obtained, companies must act. Below 75, they must publish corrective and catch-up measures. If the score is below 85, companies are asked to set and publish progress goals.
For the full breakdown of changes, click here.
Photo source: Christian Dubovan on Unsplash