Conjoint collaborateur: working with your partner in a business

By Valérie Aston on 17 January 2009 · Viewed 5602 times · Questions

You plan to start or have a business in France, and would like your partner to take part in the business with or without payment - is this legal? The answer is no unless they are registered. Whether you are an artisan, commercant or profession libérale, your partner has the choice between three options:

  1. Employee
  2. Conjoint collaborator
  3. Conjoint associé


The first option is to employ your partner. This can work whatever your marital status or company type. It offers the highest level of protection, as the employee is entitled to all the benefit of the employment law, such as pension, paid holidays, ongoing training, etc. Unfortunately, this option is also the most expensive one for the company.

Conjoint collaborateur

Many small businesses such as artisans and commeçants opt for the second option entitled conjoint collaborateur. Being a conjoint collaborateur enables you to make individual pension contributions. You will not be required to make health insurance contributions as you will be covered as a beneficiary of your spouse’s contribution. You will also be entitled to medical cover as well as maternity allowance.

What are the criteria to become a conjoint collaborateur? This status applies to owners of an enterprise individuelle, as well as managing directors or majority shareholders of a limited company with less than 20 employees (SARL and EURL). You will have to be married or in a civil partnership (PACS) and will need to participate in an effective and regular way in the business. For instance by handling the accountancy, customers estimates, orders and invoicing, etc. You will not be entitled to a salary, but could still carry another activity elsewhere such as self employed or employee.

Becoming a conjoint collaborateur will have a impact on the business, in that you will be charged a minimum of 2700 euros per year in social charges.

Conjoint associé

Your last option is to become a conjoint associé within a limited company. In order to be eligible for this status, you will need to invest in the company’s capital in cash or in kind by bringing some asset. As a conjoint associé, you will be individually affiliated to the independent workers’ social security regime - RSI (Regime Social des Indépendants) and entitled to the same benefits as your spouse. The downside of becoming an associate is that you will become liable for the company’s debts up to the value of your contribution.

Meeting an accountant will help you estimate the amount of the social charges contributions for each option and assess which one works best for you.

Valerie Lemiere: Start Business in France

About the author: Valérie Aston

I've been helping people who want to start or already have a small business set up in France since 2009. After graduating from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, I worked as a senior marketing consultant in the UK and France for various International companies. I worked as a conseillère en création d'entreprises (senior business advisor) for BGE here in France and run this independent business on a daily basis.