How To Hire And Pay Employees In France

Emerald Technology's guide to hiring employees in France.

CURRENCY

Euro is the official currency of France. Its currency symbol is €, EUR.

CAPITAL CITY

Paris, France's capital is a major European city as it a global centre for art, fashion and culture.

LANGUAGE

French is the official and national language of France and  has over 79 million native speakers.

POPULATION The current population of France  is 67.40 Million in 2020 based on World bank numbers.
PAYROLL FREQUENCY The payroll frequency in France is generally monthly and is paid by the last working day of each month. France also has a 13th month salary.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS France has 11 official public holidays. The Alsace region and Moselle department observe 2 additional days.

GROW YOUR TEAM IN FRANCE

NO ENTITY, NO PROBLEM

To start growing your team in France, you must establish a local entity- including an account with a local bank, a local office and an address registered as a subsidiary. This allows you to manage payroll, tax, benefits and compliance for your employees, but can take several months. 

Emerald can hire and payroll your workers, quickly and compliantly with their ready to go entity. Make growing your team simple with Emerald as a global partner.

PROS AND CONS OF HIRING IN FRANCE

Its important to understand the pros and cons before deciding to whether to hire employees in France. Here we’ll have a look at both sides of the issue:

France has a reputation for having a well-educated workforce and being business friendly. It has many incentives and tax breaks designed to help new start-ups get off the ground, such as low corporate taxes and reduced payroll costs through employee benefits programs like leave days (six weeks per year) or even childcare allowances.

However, foreign nationals can only legally work in France if they have been granted a work permit. This process is often complicated, time-consuming and expensive for employers.

Many foreigners do not speak French well enough to get by on a daily basis, especially when communicating with customers or clients who aren’t proficient in English or another foreign language. 

WHY FRANCE IS GOOD FOR REMOTE WORKERS

There is a growth in the shift towards remote working, with more employees expressing their interest in remote working. 

France is well known amongst the remote working community for its flexible work-life balance, therefore, makes it a popular destination for remote workers. It attracts those who want to experience the authentic French lifestyle. 

Paris is popular amongst digital nomads and remote workers, although it is more expensive than other parts of the country, it benefits from speed of wifi, co-working spaces and it's remote community. 

START GROWING YOUR REMOTE WORKFORCE NOW

WORKING TIME AND OVERTIME IN FRANCE

French labour law dictates that the standard working week in France is 35 hours (Temps de travail). However, this can vary depending on the industry and any collective bargaining agreements.

Working days are typically Monday to Friday, depending on industry.

Employees working more than 6 hours are entitled to a 20 minute break. Employees must be given at least 11 hours of resting time between two working days. Overtime payments are usually fixed by collective agreement, but they have to be paid with at least 25% extra/hour. Some managerial staff classified as “autonome” work more than 35 hours a week, are given additional holiday days.

In 2017, France also implemented a “right to disconnect” mandate, which legally entitles employees to not respond to business correspondence after working hours.

ANNUAL LEAVE AND FRANCE'S PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

Full-time employees in France are entitled to 2.5 days of annual leave for each month worked. This gives employees 5 weeks annual leave each year.

Annual leave is accrued from 1st June to 31st May to then be taken in the following period. This is pro-rated for part time employees and employees who have not worked the full previous 12 months.

Employees are required to take 12 days annual leave as their main vacation period.

There are 11 days public holidays.

January 1st: New Year's Day
April 18th: Easter Monday 
May 1st: Labour Day
May 8th: Armistice World War II
May 26th: Ascension Day
June 6th: Whit Monday 
July 14th: Bastille Day
August 15th: Assumption of Mary
November 1st: All Saint's Day
November 11th: Armistice World War I
December 25th: Christmas Day

PROBATION PERIOD IN FRANCE

A probation period in France is typically between 1 - 4 months. The more senior the position the longer the probation period. Fixed term contracts with a duration over 6 months can include a probation period of 1 month.

RESIGNATION AND DISMISSAL IN FRANCE

The employee may unilaterally terminate the employment contract by giving the employer a notice in writing. Notice periods will vary depending on the contract of employment and if the employee is still within the probation period.

Termination from the employers side during probation is;

  • 24 hours notice during the first 7 days of employment
  •  48 hours during the rest of the first month
  • 2 weeks during the second and third month
  • one month after the third month of probation until the end.

France has strict rules and protocols around termination after probation. A significant file needs to be created to prove that the employer has made all possible efforts to prevent the dismissal. Termination procedures can be lengthy. Employers can dismiss an employee on either personal or economic. Different rules and procedures apply to the type of dismissal.

Personal reasons may apply to matters such as conduct, competence, incapacity and refusal to accept changes to a contract of employment. An employer must have genuine and substantive grounds cause to dismiss an employee with an indefinite-term employment contract for personal reasons. The specific reasons must be recognised by French Law or French case law.

Dismissal on the grounds of misconduct cannot take place unless the proper disciplinary procedure has been completed. Before an employer decides to dismiss an employee for personal reasons, it must summon the employee to a pre-dismissal interview. At the interview, the employer must explain its reasons for considering dismissal and ask the employee for explanations. The employer must then write to the employee within one month and no less than two days after confirming dismissal. The notice period will then begin.

Notice is not required for gross or serious misconduct. Any dismissal for economic reasons must be justified by a real and serious cause. The economic motive is defined by the Labour Code as a reason not relating to the employees person.

Dismissals for economic reasons are subject to the same procedure as they apply to dismissals for personal reasons, involving an interview, a dismissal letter to the employee. In the case of economic dismissals, the letter cannot be sent until at least seven working days after the interview (15 days in the case of managers and professional staff).

Employees on permanent contracts are entitled to a severance payment (indemnité de licenciement) if they are dismissed, if they have at least eight months service with the employer.

READY TO HIRE YOUR EMPLOYEES IN FRANCE?

CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT IN FRANCE

Contracts of employment must be in French but can be translated to an employees native language. The contract should include job title, salary, bonus, location, holidays, probation period, termination procedures.

There are two main types of contracts in France, permanent employment contract (contrat de travail à durée indéterminée – CDI) and fixed-term contract (contrat de travail à durée déterminée – CDD).

FRANCE'S MATERNITY LEAVE

Expectant mothers in France are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave (congé maternité). This is usually taken 6 weeks before the expected due date and 10 weeks after the birth. Mothers do not have to take the full 16 weeks but must take at least 8 weeks.

To be entitled to maternity leave payments the mother must have been making social security payments for at least 10 months, worked at least 150 hours in the last 3 months or 600 hours in the last 12 months if the work has been intermittent. M

Maternity leave is usually calculated based on the last 3 salary payments. From July 2021 paternity leave was being increased to 28 calendar days.

SICKNESS LEAVE IN FRANCE

If an employee is unable to work due to illness, they are required to provide their employer with a sick note from a health professional such as a doctor.

Employees can then claim sick pay from the social security system after the fourth day sick. Employees will usually receive half of their salary based on the last three salary payments.

SOCIAL SECURITY IN FRANCE

The social security system (sécurité sociale) enrolment is required for all employees in France. This will cover employees for example in sickness benefit, maternity and paternity leave, family benefit, accidents and unemployment.

HEALTHCARE AND INSURANCE

French law stipulates that all residents of France must have health insurance. This can be through the public healthcare system or a private scheme.

 

The social security system generally covers over 70% of treatment costs. To qualify for health benefits the employee must have been employed for 600 hours in the last six months, 200 hours in the last quarter or 120 hours in the last month.

 

If an employee has a health card (Carte vitale), they won’t need to make upfront payments. However, patients without a card will have to pay the appropriate medical fees at the point of service. A reimbursement will be received between five and ten business days later.

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FOREIGN NATIONALS IN FRANCE

All foreign citizens require a work visa to work in France It has different types of work visas, which you can discover more about here.
Salary Taxes

MINIMUM WAGE IN FRANCE

The minimum wage in France from January 2022 is €10.57 per hour. This is usually increased on an annual basis.

FRANCE'S INCOME TAX

The French tax year runs from January to December. It is the employers responsibility to ensure taxes are deducted from an employees salary ahead of payment. Employee tax liability can also depend on personal circumstances, such as number of dependants and number of people in the household that pay tax.  

SALARY PAYMENTS IN FRANCE

Employees in France are generally paid on a monthly basis, towards the end of the month. Some companies operate a 13th salary which is usually paid at the end of the year or split between June and December.

SOCIAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTIONS IN FRANCE

Social security contributions in France are the responsibility of the employer to deduct from an employees salary before payment.

France has some of the highest contribution rates in Europe for both employees and employers. They are mandatory contributions to be made by both employee and employer. The social security system is divided into five branches.

  • The sickness, maternity, paternity, disability and death branch
  • The occupational accidents and diseases branch, managed by the French National Health Insurance Fund (CNAM) (Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Maladie)
  • The old-age branch, managed by the French National Old-Age Insurance Fund (CNAV) (Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Vieillesse)
  • The family branch, managed by the French National Family Allowance Fund (CNAF); (Caisse Nationale d’Allocations Familiales)
  • The contributions and collection branch, managed by the Central Agency of Social Security Bodies (ACOSS) (Agence Centrale des Organismes de Sécurité Sociale)

Some contributions are capped or enter a different percentage from €40,524.00 per annum.

WORKER MISCLASSIFICATION IN FRANCE

Similar to other countries, France has strict rules on classifying individual contractors and full-time employees differently. Misclassifying your workers can put your business at risk of fines.

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