Hiring an employee

In France, registering employees with the general Social Security scheme is a legal obligation with no exceptions. A private insurance policy can only be supplementary to this.

The Social Security registration process

The registration of the insured person is the operation by which an employee is officially listed as an insured person in France. It is done online, via the pre-employment statement (déclaration préalable à l’embauche - DPAE). Through this registration process, a Social Security number is assigned to the insured throughout his/her career. Although many people already have a Social Security number, the pre-employment statement must be made for any new hires.

Workers subject to France’s general Social Security scheme must be registered and become members. Through membership, the Social Security organizations can track the employee and manage their benefit entitlements.

Once registered, the member is assigned a Social Security number that she/he will keep throughout his/her career.

Through this process, the employee is assigned a health insurance fund (« caisse primaire d’assurance maladie »/ Cpam). This fund registers the employee and pays the following benefits : general health, maternity, disability, death benefits, accidents at work and occupational diseases.

Once an employee joins a Cpam, she/he is also automatically assigned to a pension and occupational health insurance fund (« caisse assurance retraite et de santé au travail »/ Carsat) which in particular manages the employees' pension entitlements. The insured person is usually assigned to the fund that is local to their main residence.

Membership requirements

Any individual living and working in France is required to join the Social Security scheme that covers his/her circumstances : the general employees' scheme, the self-employed scheme, or a special scheme.

What is a « déclaration préalable à l’embauche - DPAE » for ?

A DPAE must be submitted to :

  • give your employee access to all of his/her entitlements ;
  • be insured if your employee should suffer an occupational accident ;
  • be eligible for any possible contribution exemptions ;
  • meet the requirements of the various authorities with oversight over your operations and thereby avoid any punitive measures, particularly those related to undeclared work.

Important information

Through the DPAE, you carry out 5 hiring formalities at once :

  • you register as an employer with the general Social Security system when you hire your first employee (with the first DPAE, Urssaf opens your employer’s account) ;
  • your employee is registered with his/her local health insurance fund ;
  • you are registered as an employer with the unemployment insurance scheme ;
  • you apply to join an occupational health service ;
  • you request a medical examination for your employee as part of the hiring process.


Déclaration préalable à l’embauche. La DPAE remplace la déclaration unique d’embauche (DUE).Cette formalité obligatoire avant toute embauche s’effectue en une seule fois auprès de l’Urssaf. Elle rassemble 6 formalités liées à l’embauche : la déclaration d'une première embauche, immatriculation d'un salarié, affiliation au régime d'assurance chômage, adhésion à un service de santé au travail, visite médicale obligatoire, pré-établissement de la DADS.

Cpam :

Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie. La Cpam est l'organisme de base qui assure le service des prestations d’assurance maladie, maternité, invalidité et décès, accidents du travail et maladies professionnelles. Elle effectue l'immatriculation des assurés sociaux relevant de sa compétence, le contrôle administratif des malades, la mise en œuvre d'une action sanitaire et sociale.

Urssaf :

Les Urssaf collectent et répartissent les cotisations et contributions sociales qui financent l’ensemble du système de Sécurité sociale (financement du système de santé, des aides au logement ou la garde d’enfants, des pensions de retraite…). Les Urssaf accompagnent également les entreprises en difficultés financières, et participent à la lutte contre la fraude et l'évasion sociale.