The lunch voucher in the French payroll

As you know the social contribution on a French payroll are non-negligible.

Most of the benefits provided to the employees are taxable.

However, some are not.

The lunch vouchers are one of those benefits.

What is a lunch voucher?

A lunch voucher is a ticket with which the employee can pay for his food in most restaurants and food stores.

Then what is the difference with direct cash?

The difference is that the employer pays part of the face value of the voucher.

What are the condition for the exemption of social contributions?

As the employer pays part of the value of the voucher, this is a benefit provided to the employees.

This benefit it exempted from social contribution if the employer complies with 3 conditions:

  • The employer part must not exceed the indexed limit on the income tax scale. In 2017 that limit is of 5.38€
  • The employer part must be between 50% and 60% of the voucher value

How many lunch voucher can I give to my employees?

An employer can only give one voucher per employee per lunch break within the daily working schedule.

This means that you can only give one lunch voucher per day.

This also indirectly means that if the lunch of a specific lunch break is already paid, you cannot provide a lunch voucher.

For example:

You provide 22 lunch voucher to an employee for his 22 days of work during the month.

At the end of the month, the employee provides you with and expense for inviting a client to lunch.

In this case, the lunch is paid twice, by the expense and by the voucher. In case of an URSSAF audit, the URSSAF will consider the expense as the normal lunch payment and the lunch voucher as a benefit fully subject to contributions.

Best practice

The best way to make sure you provide your employees with the correct number of lunch voucher is to provide them with one month delay.

For example, the number of lunch voucher given to an employee in the beginning of April will be the number of days worked in March.

You also must make sure that the employee signed a receipt each time he receives his vouchers from the company. To make things simpler dematerialised vouchers now exists. It the best way to insure the receipt of the voucher as well as their safe keeping.





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