Before hiring employees in France, there are a few key things you’ll need to know. Firstly, France has strict rules around termination, and not adhering to those can lead to excessive legal costs. Before making a hire in France, it’s important to ensure that you’re fully aware of what the termination process entails, and that you understand the repercussions.
France also introduced a new law in 2017 called the “right to disconnect.” The law requires an organization with more than 50 employees to forbid employees from sending or replying to emails after certain hours. France has a 35 hour work week and the working day may not exceed 10 hours.
We know keeping track of all this might sound overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be. A solution like Oyster eliminates the barriers for you. With Oyster, you can automate compliance across 180+ countries, easily managing HR and payroll—all in one, easy-to-use platform.
Get an overview of what you need to know when hiring in France below.
In France, maximum working hours differ depending on the type of contract you have: worker (salarie) or executive (cadre).
For workers, the legal length of the working week is 35 hours. A work day should not exceed 10 hours, and employees may not work for more than four and a half hours without a break. The maximum working day may be extended to 12 hours under a mutual agreement between employer and employee.
For executive contracts, the minimum amount of rest hours between working days must be 11 hours, and the minimum time off in a week must be 35 hours consecutive (this works out to at least one day off per week). In a year, the maximum number of days they can work is 214. Executive employees are also entitled to a minimum of 15 "RTT" days to compensate for overtime worked. Executives employees also have a statutory notice period of three months.
For all employees in France, the first eight hours of overtime are subject to the payment of a premium of 25% overtime pay. After 43 hours, an employee is subject to an overtime premium of 50%.
Employment contracts should be written in French.
France has a maximum probation period of three months, with a potential to extend by an additional two months if agreed upon by employer and employee.
The notice period in France depends on the classification of the employee. For workers, one month's notice is required for an employment period of six months to two years. Two months’ notice is required for employment over two years or for supervisors. Executives are required to give three months’ notice.
All employees in France are entitled to two and a half days of paid leave per month worked. This equates to about five full weeks of vacation each year. The number of days of leave taken at one time may not exceed 24 working days.
A doctor may prescribe sick leave for an employee by issuing a sick leave form. Payments during periods of sick leave depend on the length of employment with the company and the length of the period of absence.
In France, mothers have the right to a minimum of sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave. During maternity leave, employees receive payments from the social security system.
New fathers have the right to a paternity leave of 28 days.
Employers of French employees are required to pay health tax, autonomy solidarity contributions, old age insurance, family benefits, unemployment insurance, occupational health service tax, and a working from home allowance.
Employees in France are taxed between 0% and 13.6% depending on their income bracket. Old age insurance and social security are taxed on top of this.
France has strict rules around termination, and not adhering to those can lead to excessive legal costs. Employees with eight months of seniority or more for the same employer, on an open-ended contract, are legally entitled to severance compensation in case of dismissal on economic grounds or for personal reasons. However, employees are not eligible for severance compensation in case of dismissal for misconduct or negligence.
For employees with up to 10 years of seniority, severance pay equals 25% of the employee’s gross monthly salary times years of seniority. For employees with 11 years of seniority or more, severance pay is 33% of the employee’s gross monthly salary. If employees are classified as an executive (cadre), they will also receive compensation for any unused annual holiday allowance and RTT.
Setting up a business entity everywhere you want to hire a new employee isn’t scalable—it takes too long and the legal fees are high. At the same time, understanding and adhering to the local labor laws and employee expectations can be complex and time consuming. And it’s hard to find reliable information on up-to-date employment information for all the countries where you’re considering hiring. Not to mention tracking down invoices and managing employee contracts over email and spreadsheets—that gets messy fast.
We can’t afford to take risks when it comes to compliance—we need to make sure we follow the local guidelines, especially when it comes to taxes and legalities.
With Oyster, you can manage HR and payroll, and automate compliance across 180+ countries—all in one, easy-to-use platform.