France

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Country Snapshot

The GPS Country Snapshot includes 25 sections of information about labor law compliance in France. See a sample of popular sections below.

Termination of Employment

Under the employment law of France, the termination of an employment agreement by either of the parties must be preceded by a notice period during which the contract remains in effect and binding on both parties. The requirement of prior notice is provided by the law, particularly in cases of resignation, dismissal (except in cases of gross and willful misconduct of the employee), or voluntary and involuntary retirement.

Except in instances of gross misconduct (which may permit an immediate dismissal), the employer must comply with applicable notice periods.

  • For a period of continuous employment of less than 6 months, the duration of the notice is determined by the law (where some specific text exists), the collective convention, or, failing that, by the practices practiced in the locality and the profession;
  • For a period of continuous employment between 6 months and 2 years, the statutory minimum notice is 1 month.
  • For a period of continuous employment of more than 2 years, the statutory minimum notice is 2 months.

Any applicable collective bargaining agreement or employment contract may increase the statutory minimum. During the notice period, an employee continues to work. The employer may waive this obligation but must pay the employee's salary and holiday pay on up to the end of the notice period.

Work Permits

Per the laws of France, EU citizens do not need a work or residence permit if they hold a passport or other ID, proving their EU citizenship. All non-EU citizens are required to obtain a work permit for employment in France. The relevant préfecture will consider the employment situation within its territory or department when deciding whether to grant a work permit. Persons entering France to exercise a salaried activity for a duration less than or equal to three months in sports, seminars, entertainment, modeling, artistic, personal services, teaching, etc. do not require a work permit. 

The work permit issued in a French department, a community, or an overseas territory is valid only in that department, community or territory. Persons who hold such authorization and wish to work in France must obtain a new work permit. On the other hand, a person does not need to get a new work permit if they hold:

  • A resident card
  • A residence card, private and family life
  • A European Blue Card stay card

In these cases, a person must report the change of address to the prefecture.

Paid Annual Leave

In France, workers are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave and may choose to take 6 weeks of leave before the delivery and 10 weeks after the delivery. 8 weeks of maternity leave are compulsory, of which at least 6 weeks must be taken after childbirth. Maternity leave may be extended on medical grounds arising out of the pregnancy by a maximum of 2 weeks before and 4 weeks after the birth. Maternity leave is increased to 34 weeks for twin births and 46 weeks for triplet or more births. From third and subsequent births, the maternity leave is increased to 26 weeks: 8 before and 18 after childbirth.

During the term of maternity leave, employees are paid a maternity allowance which is equal to the average daily wage (100%) of the three-month period preceding prenatal leave up to a ceiling of EUR 3,428 (Euros) a month after deduction of the employee's share of statutory social security contributions and taxes. The maximum amount of the daily maternity allowance is EUR 89.03 per day. Maternity leave is treated as an actual working period for determining the duration of paid leave and for legal or conventional rights acquired by the employee with respect to her seniority in the company.

Dismissal is prohibited during pregnancy, during maternity leave (whether or not the worker uses the right to take the leave), 10 weeks after a miscarriage of a 14th week or later pregnancy, as well as four weeks after the end of maternity leave. 

Working Hours

The statutory working hours are 35 hours per calendar week or 7 hours per day. Employees are permitted to work overtime on either a one-off basis or regularly. Employers should be cautious when employees work more than 39 hours a week because the maximum amount of overtime an employee may work is 220 hours per year.

There are more flexible systems for autonomous employees and those employed as executives, but the employer must track the hours worked accurately. Furthermore, an exemption from most working time and rest-related regulations is allowed for “managing executives,” but this is exceptional and rarely accepted by employees. The hours worked by a nighttime employee cannot exceed 8 per day (or 40 per week), except under certain circumstances authorized by a labor inspector. 

Maternity Leave

In France, workers are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave and may choose to take 6 weeks of leave before the delivery and 10 weeks after the delivery. 8 weeks of maternity leave are compulsory, of which at least 6 weeks must be taken after childbirth. Maternity leave may be extended on medical grounds arising out of the pregnancy by a maximum of 2 weeks before and 4 weeks after the birth. Maternity leave is increased to 34 weeks for twin births and 46 weeks for triplet or more births. From third and subsequent births, the maternity leave is increased to 26 weeks: 8 before and 18 after childbirth.

During the term of maternity leave, employees are paid a maternity allowance which is equal to the average daily wage (100%) of the three-month period preceding prenatal leave up to a ceiling of EUR 3,428 (Euros) a month after deduction of the employee's share of statutory social security contributions and taxes. The maximum amount of the daily maternity allowance is EUR 89.03 per day. Maternity leave is treated as an actual working period for determining the duration of paid leave and for legal or conventional rights acquired by the employee with respect to her seniority in the company.

Dismissal is prohibited during pregnancy, during maternity leave (whether or not the worker uses the right to take the leave), 10 weeks after a miscarriage of a 14th week or later pregnancy, as well as four weeks after the end of maternity leave. 

Minimum Wage

The French minimum wage (salaire minimum de croissance or SMIC) is adjusted every year on January 1. The current hourly minimum wage for adult employees is EUR 11.65 (Euros). This amount equates to EUR 1,766.92 per month based on a legal workweek of 35 hours and an annual minimum wage of EUR 21,203. When accounting for the deduction of employee contributions, the net minimum wage is EUR 9.23 per hour, EUR 1,398.70 per month, and EUR 16,784.32 per year.

Country Profile

The GPS Country Profile contains detailed information on over 60 topics related to labor law compliance within France.
  • Type of Employment Relationship
  • Permanent Employment
  • Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts
  • Temporary Employment Contracts
  • Part-time Employment
  • Young Worker Employment
  • Vendors and Independent Contractors
  • Types of Contracts
  • Probationary Period
  • Termination of the Contract of Employment
  • Grounds for Termination
  • Notice of Dismissal
  • Fair Dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Suspension of Contract of Employment
  • Severance Benefits
  • Hours of Work
  • Work Week and Timekeeping
  • Night Work and Shift Work
  • Overtime
  • Remote Work
  • Required Time Off
  • Public Holidays
  • Annual Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Maternity
  • Other Forms of Leave
  • Social Insurance and Retirement
  • Social Security Contribution
  • National Retirement Scheme
  • Dependents’/Survivors Benefit
  • Life and Disability Insurance/Benefit
  • Statutory Allowances
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Minimum Wage (Basic Wage)
  • Bonuses, Profit Sharing and Other Compensation
  • Medical Insurance
  • Work Environment
  • Workplace Safety and Health
  • Prohibition of Discrimination
  • Prohibition of Harassment
  • Data Protection and Privacy
  • Whistleblowers and Retaliation
  • Workers’ representation in the organization
  • Freedom of Association
  • Registration and Recognition of Unions
  • Trade Union Personality
  • Collective Bargaining and Agreements
  • Disputes and Settlements
  • Strikes and Lockouts
  • Unfair Labor Practices
  • Taxation of Compensation and Benefits
  • Income Tax
  • Taxation of Employee Benefits
  • Tax Filing and Payment Procedures
  • Double Tax Relief and Tax Treaties
  • Visas and Work Permits
  • Visas
  • Work Permits and Residence Permits

 Country Snapshot

Get the full Country Snapshot with 25 sections of information about labor law in France.