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Agency wants proof of 2014 social security payments
Thread poster: John Fossey

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:53
Member (2008)
French to English
Nov 20, 2015

I just received an email from a French agency, saying they have to have an official certificate that I have paid my 2014 social security payments. Is this normal?

First of all, the term "social security" doesn't even exist in Canada, as far as I know - there is different terminology which would need to be defined. Secondly, here in Canada such "social security" payments are calculated as part of the annual income tax return, there is no separate document. It would mean disclosing my personal income tax return and notice of assessment from the tax department. IMO, this is highly confidential. In any case, I don't think it would be comprehensible to them.

Has anyone else encountered this? The agency says they can't do business without it.


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:53
English to German
+ ...
No, Nov 20, 2015

never happened to me. That's even very confidential information.

I wouldn't agree to this.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:53
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I agree Nov 20, 2015

Gudrun Wolfrath wrote:

never happened to me. That's even very confidential information.

I wouldn't agree to this.


I agree. Your social security payments (or lack thereof) are none of their business. They might as well ask you what you have for breakfast in the morning.

[Edited at 2015-11-20 15:57 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:53
French to English
Yes and no Nov 20, 2015

John Fossey wrote:

Has anyone else encountered this? The agency says they can't do business without it.


I've seen it as a requirement for subcontractors in a few contracts I've translated. It's usually a requirement where public procurement is involved ("attestation de fourniture des déclarations sociales"). So it can be a valid request, although only you and the agency can know if it is in your case.

I received a request for one a few years ago, ignored it entirely, and have continued to work with the agency. That said, without checking, it's possible that request was valid & they've just excluded me from similar jobs since then.

I can only suggest you check the qualifying criteria (value of work done, etc.) for the precise request you received, see whether or not you meet those criteria, and take it from there.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:53
Member (2008)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
No such thing Nov 20, 2015

Well, the problem is that an "attestation de fourniture des déclarations sociales" doesn't exist in Canada. For that matter, there are no "déclarations sociales", just calculations of the amounts owing for various programs such as pension plan, medicare, etc., which, together with tax, total up to the amount owed to the government.

 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:53
French to English
Nor here Nov 20, 2015

John Fossey wrote:

Well, the problem is that an "attestation de fourniture des déclarations sociales" doesn't exist in Canada. For that matter, there are no "déclarations sociales", just calculations of the amounts owing for various programs such as pension plan, medicare, etc., which, together with tax, total up to the amount owed to the government.


Our (UK) system is similar to yours, judging from that description. We get one bill with income tax and "national insurance" which covers the pension and health components. It's one of the reasons I chose to ignore the request when I was asked.

The point of my post was not to suggest that you could or should comply. It was merely to counterbalance the first two replies, wrongly claiming they had absolutely no right to ask, because there *are* circumstances under which they are perfectly entitled to ask, and they might therefore think those circumstances apply in your case.

I have no idea whether those circumstances apply to you. If those circumstances do indeed apply to you, I have no idea how willing or able you are to comply. As I say, I just wanted to challenge the erroneous implication from previous responses that the information should never be supplied.

The point of quoting the document name was because that's the one I've seen a few times, and I thought it might help you determine independently whether you meet the criteria or not, before potentially discussing it with the agency. Or not, as I didn't.

Edit to make 2nd para slightly less dogmaticicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2015-11-20 16:52 GMT]


 

DorothyX (X)
France
Local time: 20:53
In France this is normal Nov 20, 2015

If the agency cannot submit proof that their freelance translators are duly registered in their respective countries and pay social security there, the matter can eventually be judged into court which means that they should transform your freelance agreement into a fixed salaried contract over three years + a huuuuge fine ("travail au noir").

So I would say provide them with some kind of proof that you are a duly registered translator in your country.

They will not be interested in your tax papers. But if you have nothing else, you can whiten out the figures on your tax form or balance sheet.

If you don't, they won't be willing and cannot work with you anymore.


 

Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:53
French to English
This exists in France Nov 22, 2015

John Fossey wrote:

I just received an email from a French agency, saying they have to have an official certificate that I have paid my 2014 social security payments.


In France, such certificates are issued by social security authorities. I have never needed to present mine, but I have them somewhere... indeed they might be required to prove that one is indeed an independent contractor and not an employee, or in certain circumstances such as bidding on a tender.

Obviously, other countries don't do the same... I think the agency needs to be reminded that you are not in France, and are not subject to the same obligations. There is no valid reason I can think of for the French agency to require such a certificate from foreign subcontractors. Offer to provide them some type of justification that your company is registered in Canada, or perhaps something that proves you are a tax resident of Canada.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nope Nov 22, 2015

I have French customers and was never asked for this information. I would explain the situation in Canada and politely refuse to give the information.

 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:53
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
Never had that demand (from France neither) Nov 22, 2015

I have French customers as well and have never been asked to furnish that information. That I am registered is visible on my homepage though.

 

Nadjezda (X)  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:53
English to Dutch
+ ...
Have received the exact same request. Nov 22, 2015

"Our company has the obligation to ensure that its translators are in accordance with their country. If we do not receive any documents from you, we will be forced to stop working with you."

I have received the request by e-mail from a client I work for on a daily basis so this might be a problem. Tax income is very confidential information and I am not sure what to think of this. As DorothyX suggested, I could whiten out the figures on my tax form or balance sheet or refuse...

Most of my clients are based in France but I have never received such request before.


 

Maggie WAKEFIELD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:53
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
Seems normal to me Nov 22, 2015

In fact your social security payments or lack of them ARE their businesses, because French 'employers' are legally responsible for ensuring that the freelancers they use are not 'working on the black' - the employer can be prosecuted if they give work to somebody who isn't registered, so some companies particularly larger ones are very twitchy about this. For French freelancers it's not a problem because we automatically receive, or can download, an attestation from URSSAF each year for this specific purpose, to show to clients. Not sure what you're supposed to do if your business is registered in a country where no such attestations are issued. Suggest you politely explain the situation and ask if a statement on your honour will be acceptable - but don't act outraged, because it is a perfectly normal request in France.

 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:53
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Employer? Nov 22, 2015

A freelancer is not an employee, it's a B2B relationship, not labour.
How can a business owner be responsible for another independent business?
Unless there is an exception made in France that equals freelancers to employeees to some degree.


 

Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:53
French to English
Surely this only applies to France though? Nov 22, 2015

MaggieW wrote:

In fact your social security payments or lack of them ARE their businesses, because French 'employers' are legally responsible for ensuring that the freelancers they use are not 'working on the black' - the employer can be prosecuted if they give work to somebody who isn't registered,


I can't imagine that Urssaf would ever care about a freelancer working from another country? If the agency wanted to cover itself against any risk, surely all they need is some proof that the freelance party has a business registered in another country, and/or is a tax resident of that country.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:53
French to English
Slight misconception, perhaps Nov 22, 2015

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

How can a business owner be responsible for another independent business?
Unless there is an exception made in France that equals freelancers to employeees to some degree.


The idea is to ensure, certainly in the field of public procurement, that the chain of sub-contracting that almost inevitably arises does not culminate in some cash-in-hand, black economy, unreported unemployment situation. That everything is legal, legitimate and transparent.

The subcontractor can choose not to provide evidence that it complies with its statutory obligations, and the principal can choose not to use that subcontractor. No-one is forcing anyone to do anything, as far as I can see.


 
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