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Country Introduction – France
Capital – Paris
Currency – Euro
GDP – 2.958 trillion USD (2021)
Language – French
Major Religion – Roman Catholicism
Population – 64,764,811 (as of July 25, 2023)
Introduction to France:
France, located in Western Europe, boasts one of the largest and most advanced economies in the world. With rich history of innovation, cultural influence, and industrial prowess, France has played a significant role in shaping global economic landscapes. As a member of the European Union (EU) and the Eurozone, France has been part of a vast economic bloc that facilitates trade, investment, and collaboration among its member states.
As a member of the European Union and the Eurozone, France enjoys the benefits of a vast single market, facilitating trade, investment, and collaboration with its European counterparts. Its economy is known for its balanced mix of agriculture, industry, and services, with the latter contributing significantly to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The services sector is a cornerstone of the French economy, encompassing finance, insurance, tourism, telecommunications, and more. France’s reputation as a global tourist destination, drawing millions of visitors each year to iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and picturesque regions, contributes significantly to its revenue and job creation.
Overall, France’s business economy thrives on a combination of innovation, established industries, a skilled workforce, and favourable government support. As a result, the nation continues to be an attractive destination for businesses and investors seeking growth opportunities in Europe and beyond.
Contract of Employment
In France, a contract of employment, also known as “Contrat de travail,” is a legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee. The contract must comply with Labour Laws (French Labour Code) to protect workers’ rights. Key elements include identifying the parties, job description, start date, duration (fixed or indefinite), probationary period (if any), working hours, salary and benefits, notice period for termination, termination clauses, and references to collective agreements.
The probation period in France varies based on the job position. For regular employees and workers, it typically lasts for 2 months. For supervisors and technicians, the probation period extends to 3 months. Executives, on the other hand, have a longer probation period of 4 months.
The termination period, or notice period, in France varies depending on the type of employment contract and years of service. Regular employees with indefinite-term contracts usually have a notice period of one to three months, increasing with tenure. Fixed-term contracts do not require notice unless specified. Collective bargaining agreements may also influence the notice period.
Special situations, such as maternity or sick leave, may have unique rules. During the probationary period, both employer and employee can terminate the contract without an extended notice period.
The standard working hours for full-time employees are typically 35 hours per week. This legal standard was introduced in the year 2000 and is known as “La durée légale du travail” (the legal duration of work). However, it’s essential to note that working hours can vary based on the industry, company policies, and individual employment contracts.
The legal maximum of 35 hours per week applies to most full-time employees. This means that employees are generally expected to work 35 hours spread over five days, with seven hours of work per day.
Overtime refers to the hours worked beyond the standard 35 hours per week for full-time employees. The maximum annual limit for overtime is 220 hours, but it can be higher in certain cases. Overtime can be compensated with extra pay or time off in lieu, based on employee preferences and collective agreements.
The rate of overtime pays and rules may vary depending on factors such as salary level and industry-specific regulations. Overtime work is generally voluntary, and employers must ensure compliance with labour laws and protect the well-being of their workforce.
13th Month Pay
A 13th-month pay, or Christmas bonus is not a legal requirement. It is not mandated by law and varies from company to company. Some employers may offer voluntary end-of-year bonuses, but it is at their discretion.
The bonus is typically based on the company’s financial performance, individual performance, or collective bargaining agreements. Eligibility and amount can vary, and employees should check their contracts or inquire with their employers to know if the bonus is provided and under what conditions.
Employees in France are entitled to paid annual leave, typically ranging from 25 to 30 days per year, depending on the length of service.
Sick leave, known as “arrêt maladie,” is an authorized absence from work due to illness or injury. Employees must provide a medical certificate from a licensed healthcare professional. Paid sick leave is generally provided after a three-day waiting period, and social security covers the period after that. Job protection is granted during sick leave, and employees cannot be dismissed due to their illness. Employers and employees should follow legal requirements and procedures related to sick leave to ensure a smooth process.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
Maternity leave in France provides support and protection for expectant mothers. It consists of 16 weeks divided into prenatal leave (6 weeks before childbirth) and postnatal leave (10 weeks after childbirth).
Paternity leave lasts for 11 consecutive days and must be taken within four months of the child’s birth. Eligible fathers or partners receive compensation from the social security system. Additional days may apply for multiple births. Paternity leave can be taken continuously or split into two periods. Job protection is provided during paternity leave. It aims to promote father’s involvement in childcare and enhance work-life balance for families.
VAT / GST
France has multiple VAT rates:
– Standard Rate: 20% – Applies to most goods and services.
– Reduced Rates: 5.5% and 10% – Applied to specific goods and services like food, pharmaceuticals, and transportation.
– Super Reduced Rate: 2.1% – Applied to essential items like some medical products and certain print publications.
Income tax in France is a progressive tax system based on different tax brackets with increasing rates as income rises. As of 2021, tax rates range from 0% to 45%.
|Up to €10,084
|€10,085 – €25,710
|€25,711 – €73,516
|€73,517 – €158,122
Employer / Employee Contributions
In France, both employers and employees make contributions to the social security system to fund various benefits, such as healthcare, pensions, unemployment, and family allowances. Employee contributions are deducted from their salaries, while employers make additional contributions.
The social security contributions support different social welfare programs and are mandatory for all parties. It’s essential for employers and employees to comply with contribution requirements and stay updated on current rates and obligations.
January 1 – New Year’s Day (Jour de l’An)
Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques) – The Monday following Easter Sunday (date varies each year)
May 1 – Labour Day (Fête du Travail)
May 8 – Victory in Europe Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945)
Ascension Day (L’Ascension) – 40 days after Easter Sunday (date varies each year)
Whit Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte) – The Monday following Pentecost (date varies each year)
July 14 – Bastille Day (La Fête nationale)
August 15 – Assumption Day (L’Assomption)
November 1 – All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint)
November 11 – Armistice Day (Armistice 1918)
December 25 – Christmas Day (Noël)
Severance pay in France, known as “indemnité de licenciement,” is a financial compensation given to employees terminated under specific circumstances. Employees with indefinite-term contracts are generally eligible for severance pay if they are terminated by the employer for reasons other than misconduct.
The amount is based on the length of service and is subject to specific caps and minimums. Collective agreements may provide additional arrangements. In cases of voluntary departure, employees may also receive severance pay through mutual agreement. Severance pay is subject to taxation, and both employers and employees should be aware of their rights and obligations under French labour laws.
Work and Residence Permits (Expatriates)
As an expatriate planning to work and reside in France, you will likely need both a work permit and a residence permit to legally live and work in the country. The specific requirements and procedures for obtaining these permits can vary depending on your nationality, the type of work you will be doing, and the duration of your stay. Below are some key points to consider:
Work Permit (Autorisation de Travail):
Non-EU/EEA Citizens: If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, you will generally need a work permit to be able to work in France. Work permits are usually obtained by the employer on your behalf before you enter the country.
EU/EEA Citizens: Citizens of EU/EEA countries do not need a work permit to work in France. They have the right to work and reside in France without a specific permit.
Residence Permit (Titre de Séjour):
Non-EU/EEA Citizens: Non-EU/EEA citizens who wish to stay and work in France for an extended period need to apply for a residence permit (titre de séjour) for work purposes. The specific type of residence permit will depend on the nature of your work and the duration of your contract.
EU/EEA Citizens: Citizens of EU/EEA countries can enter France without a visa and can stay for up to three months without any formalities. For stays longer than three months, EU/EEA citizens need to apply for a residence permit, which is typically a formality for employed individuals.
Long-Stay Visa (Visa de long séjour):
Non-EU/EEA Citizens: Before arriving in France, non-EU/EEA citizens planning to work and stay for more than three months need to apply for a long-stay visa with the relevant work authorization (if required) at the French consulate or embassy in their home country.
Generally, you will need documents such as a valid passport, employment contract, proof of accommodation, and health insurance to apply for work and residence permits in France.
The processing time for work and residence permits can vary from 1 month – 3 months, so it’s advisable to apply well in advance of your intended start date.