Employment in France

Employment Law in France

Updated on Monday 21st November 2022

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France plays an important role in Europe and it is a popular business choice for many foreign investors. The country’s employment and labour laws are binding both the employer and the employee. Before hiring personnel in France, entrepreneurs should be very well aware of the legal provisions regarding important matters, such as employment contracts, wages, working hours and the termination of the employment relationship. Our lawyers in France offer consultancy related to hiring employees and observe all the current regulations for employment contracts.
The French Employment Law is governed by the French Labour Code, known as “Code du Travail”. Other legal sources that govern the employment relationship in France are collective bargaining agreements, the internal rules of the company, EU regulations and the employment contract itself. The French Labour Law applies to all employers and employees in France.

Types of employment contracts in France

There are two types of employment contracts in France - open-term or fixed-term. Any employment contract must be concluded in writing and it must be written in French. Contracts that are not drawn up in French can be translated. In case of conflict between the two versions, the French version prevails.
Fixed-term employment contracts in France can be concluded for temporary work, seasonal work or for a job opening that requires just a temporary filling in the absence of another employee (for example, a maternity leave). Usually, fixed-term contracts in France have a maximum duration of 18 months. This period can be either reduced to nine months or be extended to 24 months under specific circumstances.
Most businesses in France choose to hire employees using an open-term employment contract. Prior to signing the final contract, the parties may go through a probation period which does not have to exceed a certain amount of time, depending on the worker’s qualifications. Individuals who apply for executive positions, such as directors in France, have to enter the employment agreement under specific terms and are entitled to additional retirement plan benefits.
Persons interested in buying a property in France should seek legal advice from our French lawyers. Our specialists can draw up the necessary documents in this process, including the sales-purchase contract. It will include information about the former and current owners, the description of the property, its price, as well as the conditions under which it will be taken over after the sale. So contact us for a free evaluation in this matter.

Working conditions in France

The legal working time per week in France is 35 hours. The number of maximum working hours per day is set at ten and cannot exceed thirteen hours. The maximum working week in France has an average of 44 hours and employees are entitled to breakes. The maximum amount of overtime hours as set by law is 220 hours per employee per year. The rates for overtime compensation can be set according to collective bargaining agreements.
Employers in France must make sure that they observe the legal requirements for the minimum wage in France. Generally, the employer can pay the employees once a month either by check or bank transfer. Employees are entitled to a yearly paid vacation and the number of days the employee is entitled to is calculated according to his/her seniority. Days off are available in France for a number of legal holidays. Special conditions apply for pregnant employees. For more information about maternity pay, maternity leave and paternity leave in France, you may contact our French lawyers.

Termination of the French employment contract

A fixed-term contract in France can be terminated by mutual agreement between the parties, in case of gross misconduct, in case of force majeure or if the employee is hired under an open-term agreement. Employers who do not observe these conditions for termination must pay compensations equivalent to the salaries that the employee would have been entitled to.
When dismissing an employee in France, the employer must have a real and serious reason for his or her action. The cause must be exact, accurate and objective. Dismissal occurs if any events arise that make it impossible for the two parties to continue the employment relationship. Notice periods in France are set according to the seniority of the employee.
Certain provisions apply in France for hiring non-EU employees. In order to be able to work in France, non-EU citizens must obtain short term visas or working visas in France. 
Please contact our law firm in France for more information about the legislation for employment of if you need assistance during the employment procedure.