Top 10 things to know about employment law in France

10 facts about employment law that are essential to know when employing workers within France. To discuss further contact our PEO team on enquiries@leap29.com, +44 (0) 1625 537 555.

1 - The use of the French language is mandatory

Employment documents must be prepared in French. Exceptions to this principle are extremely limited, and courts are very strict when inspecting compliance with this principle.

2 - Garden leave does not exist

Employees can either be asked to work during their notice period or be released from working. In the event of this, they should receive their full remuneration, under the same conditions as if they had continued working (including any benefit in kind such as a company car).

3 - Pay during illness

In the French law it is not essential for employers to pay workers during the first three days of sick leave, although a collective bargaining agreement can provide otherwise. After the third day, an employee on sick leave receives 59 percent to 66.6 percent of his or her pay, which will come from the French social security system. On the seventh day of sick leave, employers must supply the social security pay so that an employee receives at least 90 percent of his or her full pay for the next 30 days and 66 percent for the following 30 days after.

4 - Minimum Wage Laws

The minimum hourly gross wage in France is €11.07, therefore representing a monthly salary of €1,678.95 based off the standard 35-hour work week in France although this can be increased to 48 hours in certain circumstances.

5 - Different types of employment

There are 4 categories of French employment contracts. Including a ‘CDI’ also known as a permanent contract, a ‘CDD’ which can be referred to as a fixed term contract, a ‘professional’ or ‘apprenticeship’ contract and finally a single term contract. Which contract to use will depend on the term and nature of employment.

6 - PEO in France

Due to France’s position as a significant global trade partner and its stable economy, France is a very popular destination for growing business. French employment laws are heavily favoured towards employees and as such employers must be wary when it comes to employment laws.

A PEO would provide an in-depth knowledge of The French Labour Code alongside compliant management of employment contracts, taxes, benefits, insurances, visa applications and payroll which could be extremely beneficial to a business looking to expand into France.

7 - The right to Disconnect

Employees in France have the right to disconnect from their work once they are off duty. Employers are prohibited from contacting employees outside of their work hours in order to respect the employee’s private life.

Arrangements can be made to establish availability periods where the employer can contact the employee outside of work hours, outside of these timeslots the employee is under no obligation to be in contact with their employer over any work-related questions/ issues.

8 - Protection from discrimination

It is illegal to discriminate throughout the whole employment relationship from the recruitment process to the end of employment. It is illegal to discriminate for any of these factors:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Religious beliefs
  • Family name
  • Physical appearance
  • Place of residence
  • Sexual orientation
  • Trade union activities
  • Pregnancy

In addition, businesses can’t dismiss employees for striking.

9 - Minimum employee entitlement through employment law in France 

If a company is seeking to hire employees in France, they must follow certain employee entitlements to comply with the French labour code which include the following:

  • The national minimum wage
  • Overtime pays
  • A safe and healthy workplace
  • Termination rights and a period of notice
  • A workplace free from discrimination and harassment
  • National holidays and leave
  • A safe and healthy workplace

10 - Employee dismissal and contract termination 

The French labour code (code du travail) is complicated and tends to favour the employee over the employer.

In France terminated employees are entitled to an employment law notice before being dismissed. The timeframe of this depends on what the employee and employer agreed on in their employment contact. One to three months being the typical timeframe unless gross misconduct has occurred where immediate termination may be possible.

In France and employer which seeks to terminate an employee needs to show just cause (réelle et sérieuse) and follow dismissal procedures. Grounds for dismissal of an employee must be substantial with the most common reasons being termination due to misconduct or worker inadequacy e.g., theft, incompetence, disciplinary issues or failing to show up to work.

Employees may also be terminated due to economic reasons in response to hardship which the company is facing e.g., loss of business, considerable changes in technology or transfer of personnel.

If you want to find out more about French employment law or how a PEO partner could support your business’ expansion into France, contact our PEO team on enquiries@leap29.com or +44 (0) 1625 537 555.