Estimated reading time (in minutes)

Social protection Contrasts Simplicity and readability are the key words of the systems offered by Germany, France’s main trading partner across the  Rhine  .

Comparison of social protection systems: France and Germany: –

Simplicity and readability are the key words of the systems offered by Germany, France’s main trading partner across the Rhine. A recent report by the General Directorate of the Treasury compares the social protection system of France and Germany, with the aim of improving the French systems. The financing of social protection, health insurance, long-term care insurance, family policy, social minima, the pension system, retirement savings schemes, employment policies and partial  unemployment  are scrutinized.

Contrasting approaches: the strengths of France and the simplicity of Germany: –

The DGT observes that “the socio-fiscal system protects better in France against the risk of poverty (13.3% in France against 15.6% in Germany in 2009), mainly thanks to the system of levies and social protection since the rates of poverty – tax transfers are comparable (around 24% in both countries)”. With regard to family policy, while France and Germany devote a comparable share of their budget, we note that “France is distinguished by a much more dynamic birth rate and a much higher employment rate for mothers” .

On the other hand, and unsurprisingly, the German system appears to be “simpler” in certain respects. The report considers that the general point-based retirement system is more suitable and that the social systems are more legible because there are fewer of them (for example fewer social minima, simpler partial unemployment system). Supporting the President of the Republic’s proposal to increase the human and financial resources of Pôle Emploi, the report considers that “the resources allocated to the support and follow-up of German job seekers are greater in Germany”, which must contribute to the fact that unemployment compensation is less.

Finally, financial management “more demanding in Germany” is acclaimed (such as the obligation to pay the health insurance balance, the regulation of the supply of care, or even the non-indexation of certain benefits). This indicates that the German system emphasizes stricter financial regulations and greater efficiency. The report highlights these aspects as areas where France could draw inspiration from its German counterpart to improve its social protection systems and gain in simplicity and efficiency.

DAMY Law Firm