Labor Codes in France

France is considered to be one of the best countries to work in across the globe. The labor laws in France are designed to significantly protect their labor force. It is intended to make it difficult for an employer to exploit their workers. If you are familiar with your rights, responsibilities, and French law as an employed worker in France, you can and are encouraged to report any mistreatment by an employer. To better understand employment regulations, here is a closer look at the French Labor Code.

A nod to France’s exceptional labor laws is the “Right To Disconnect” mandate passed in 2017. According to the said clause, all employees have the right to not respond to emails, calls or tend to any work-related issue after work hours are over.

Who Can Work in France?

Foreign nationals are welcome to work in France but most will need a work permit. Those exempt will need to be from a European Union country, European Economic Area, or European Free Trade Area state.

Employment Contracts

France has three types of employment contracts, those are fixed-term, permanent-term, and collective bargaining contracts.

Fixed-Term Employment

A fixed-term contract is drawn when the employment period is clearly defined, from the start date to the end date. Such an agreement may or may not mandate a probationary period for the worker.

Permanent-Term Employment

When someone is hired for an unspecified period of time, they will sign a permanent (or indefinite) term contract with their employer. Indefinite-term employment usually comes with a two-to-four month long probationary period.

An employer can terminate an employee during the probationary period without having to follow any standard termination procedures.

Collective-Bargaining Employment

In this form of employment, the employer and employee negotiate employment terms mutually.

Workers’ Rights in France

The French Labor Code dictates that employees in the country:

  • Are given a minimum wage of €10.25 per hour or €1,554.58 per month
  • Have a 35-hour workweek. Anyone asked to work for more hours is to be compensated at an additional 25% premium on top of the regular pay. If the overtime exceeds 8 hours, the premium becomes 50% on top of the standard pay rate.
  • Are given 20-minute breaks after every 6 hours of work
  • Are given rest days or extra pay if they work at night between 21.00 and 06.00.
  • Are given five weeks as annual leaves, which they cannot take consecutively after 24 days. That is, employees can take 24 days off consecutively but not more than that despite having more off days.
  • Are given sick leaves if they submit a doctor’s note. Sick workers get half of their daily wage, which is borne by the country’s social security system.

Maternity and Paternity Benefits

Pregnant women get anywhere between 8 to 16 weeks of maternity leave. The number of weeks off provided goes up if the pregnancy is high-risk or if the mother is expecting twins or triplets. In the case of twins, pregnant employees can take 36 weeks off, whereas, in the case of triplets, they can take up to 46 weeks off as maternity leave.

If an expectant mother has two or more dependent kids at home, her maternity leave can be 26 weeks. (See also: Maternity Benefits in France)

Fathers also receive a fair amount of paternity leave. New fathers can take up to 28 days of paternity leave after the birth of their child, and up to 32 days if there are multiple births.


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