Employing a worker in France

Its mature market, diversified industries, and excellent transport links to the rest of Europe are some reasons why businesses are expanding into France. In this post, we provide information on employing a worker in France.

Capital GES created our postcard series to help businesses that are considering expansion and employing global staff. In this postcard series, members of our sales and business development team provide helpful tips on international employment. Below, we discuss the rules for employing a worker in France.

France Overview

For businesses looking to enter the European market, France is a great place to start.

As the seventh-largest economic power in the world, France is an attractive option for businesses and investors alike. Its mature market, diversified industries, and excellent transport links to the rest of Europe are some reasons why businesses have decided to expand there. As well as being Europe’s largest agricultural producer (meat, dairy, cereals, and wine), France offers many investment opportunities in a number of sectors including aerospace, automobile, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, technology, and luxury goods.

Employing a worker in France – Employment Laws to know

However, expanding into an unfamiliar country can be challenging, and France is no different. Therefore, it is vital to have local knowledge when expanding a business and employing workers in France. Below, we discuss the most common questions asked by clients regarding employing a worker in France.

1. Contracts

Can I trial a worker using a fixed-term employment contract, as I am not sure whether it will work out in the long term?

Fixed-term contracts are available. However, fixed-term contracts are only permitted in limited circumstances. The employer must have a reason that justifies the use of a fixed-term contract.

In France, fixed-term contracts have different limits for various reasons. It is important to note that fixed-term contracts cannot be terminated early by the employer.

To ensure your worker stays fully compliant in France, it is best to discuss your contract options with a local partner.

2. Termination Rules and Costs

What do I need to know about termination and severance pay in France?

Terminations in France are often complex and should be considered with local experts before any notice is  issued. France does  not  allow  at-will  termination  of  employment  for  employers;  contracts  may  be terminated by mutual agreement or unilaterally for due cause (serious cause, unfit for the role, extinction of the role). Employees can appeal to a court if they consider the dismissal unjustified. As a result of this complexity, terminations are often a negotiated process.

Severance Pay

Severance pay is due to employees with at least one year’s seniority (if the employer terminates the contract). Severance pay is calculated as 1/5 of a monthly salary for each year of seniority, plus 2/15 of a monthly salary for seniority of ten years and over.

3. Statutory Benefits

What are the statutory employee benefits in France?

Statutory paid holiday

In France, the amount of paid holiday entitlement corresponds to the worker’s week. Employees who work six days a week receive 30 days of holiday leave. Workers who work five days a week receive 25 days. Public holidays are not included.Collective  bargaining  agreements  often  provide  for  an additional holiday bonus related to seniority.

Parental Leave


In France, mothers are entitled to 16 weeks paid maternity leave. Normally, workers take six weeks before birth and ten weeks post-natal. However, workers can decrease the pre-natal leave period by up to three weeks so that the post-natal period can be increased. Mothers who have multiple births are entitled to maximum 24 weeks before childbirth and 22 weeks after childbirth. Collective agreements may grant additional maternity leave.

During maternity leave, employees receive a maternity benefit from the social security authorities if certain conditions are met. The benefit corresponds to the average basic pay of the preceding three months, up to a ceiling of €89.03 (for 2020). Whilst employers are not required to pay salary  during maternity leave according to statutory provisions, some collective agreements may bind the employer to do so.


In France, fathers can take a minimum of 11  consecutive days paternity leave and up  to 18 days  in  case  of multiple childbirths. Paternity leave is taken within four months following the birth. Fathers receive a daily allowance from the social  security  authorities  and  the  employer is not obliged to maintain the employee’s remuneration during leave, although some collective agreements may require the employer to do so.


In France, parents can share parental leave. This leave is unpaid and can last between one and three years. Depending on the circumstances, such as multiple births, the leave may be extended to six years. Initially granted for one year, parental leave may be extended twice –until the child turns three. In order to take parental leave, the employee must have at least one year of seniority in the organization at the date of birth of the child. Similar parental leave rights apply in the case of adoption.

Alternatively, if not taking parental leave, an employee may opt to work part-time (minimum of 16 hours per week) for the same period (between one and three years).

Sick Pay

Employee remuneration must be maintained during sick leave for a certain length of time depending on the employee’s seniority.

In France, employees must submit a medical certificate and a document called the ‘work stoppage notice’ to be entitled to pay during sick leave. The first three days are unpaid and from the fourth day, a social security benefit is paid if the employee has at least one year of service and meets minimum requirements relating to contribution. Sick leave benefit corresponds to 50% of the employee’s normal basic pay. From the eighth day until the 38th day, the employer must top up the social security benefit to 90% of normal earnings and then to 66.66% for the following 30 days. The 30-day payment period is increased by ten days for every five complete years of service up to a maximum of 90 days.

How Capital GES Can Help You Expand and Employ Workers in France

If you are a business that is looking to expand internationally and employ workers in France, Capital GES can help.

To establish what services you require, contact our sales team at sales@capital-ges.com, phone +41 32 732 9700 or fill in the form below.

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