New regulation encourages the use of cleaner means of transportation to reduce pollution and home/workplace commute-related traffic congestion.

A recent law called “Loi d’orientation des mobilités” (“Law of orientation of mobilities”) and dated December 24th, 2019, introduces new provisions which aim to reduce pollution and traffic congestion. In this context, the law provides for new measures in favour of the use of cleaner transportations like clean vehicles, bicycles (including electric bicycles), and, generally speaking, any means of transportation with at least two wheels and which are human-powered. Car pooling and other shared mobility services to be defined by a Decree are also concerned by this new law. 

– Encouraged use of clean transportation and vehicles –

Regulation from February 2016 already provided for the possibility, for Companies, to bear all or part of the cost paid by the employees using a human-powered transportation or using car pooling to come to work, in the form of a mileage allowance. As per January 1st, 2020, this system is replaced by a flat allowance, in order to simplify the payment process by the employer, no longer requiring proof of the distance travelled by the employee in order to determine the amount due. Employers can therefore choose to pay a flat allowance to any employees who travel by such means of transportation between their usual place of residence and their workplace. Employees using public transportation can also benefit from this flat allowance if they don’t already receive a financial contribution from their employer related to a public transportation pass.

The recent law of December 2019 also provides that employers can bear all or part of the cost of the fuel/power supply for employees traveling between their usual place of residence and their work place with an electric, hydrogen or hybrid vehicle. To benefit from this financial support, there should be no available regular public transportation around the living place of the employee or his/her work place, or the employee’s residence or workplace should not be included in the scope of a compulsory mobility plan in application of the transport code (in principle, such plan is mandatory for agglomerations with more than 100,000 inhabitants). It is also possible to benefit from this financial support when the use of a personal vehicle is necessary because of special working hour conditions preventing the use of public transportation. 

The amount, terms and criteria to benefit from this advantage are to be specified by a collective agreement reached at the level of the company or at a broader level (inter-company/branch of activity). It being indicated that in the absence of a collective agreement, such provisions can be decided by the employer through a written unilateral decision after consultation with the Employee Representatives if they exist.

– A new mobility voucher –

In order to facilitate the financial support from the employer in the context detailed above, the law of December 2019 also provides for a new payment solution called “titre mobilité” in French (“mobility voucher”). The mobility voucher is introduced as a specific, dematerialized and prepaid solution provided by a third-party company after payment of the vouchers’ value by the employer who wishes to use this payment solution.

A forthcoming decree will provide more details concerning these new vouchers, including their conditions of use and their conditions of reimbursement.

– A favorable social and tax system –

To encourage the employers bearing at least part of the personal “clean” transportations costs of their employees, the law of December 2019 provides for an exemption of employee income tax, as well as for an exemption of employer and employee social contributions on amounts up to €400 per year per employee, including a maximum of €200 for fuel costs.

French regulations already provided for an obligation for employers to bear 50% of the public transportation pass of their employees using public transportation to commute to work. The advantage resulting from the possible combination of this financial support with the benefit of the recent provisions introduced above cannot exceed a maximum amount of €400 per year per employee or the amount of the financial support for public transportation pass if higher.

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