Engage In France

Table of Contents

About France

Capital City

Paris

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of France is 64.7 million.

Currency

The currency in France is the Euro (EUR). The currency symbol is €.

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Overview

France, one of Europe’s largest countries, is a nation rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Bordered by six countries including Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain, France occupies a central position in Western Europe. The United Kingdom is also connected to France through the English Channel. Known for its universal values of Freedom, Equality, and Fraternity, France has long been a symbol of liberty and enlightenment. With its elegant lifestyle, exquisite cuisine, and remarkable achievements in various industries, France has had a profound impact on the world. From its agricultural traditions to a successful industrial revolution, France has excelled in areas such as renewable energy, the food industry, communications, and transportation. The country’s notable accomplishments in aeronautics, exemplified by the Airbus, and rail transportation, including the high-speed TGV trains, have further solidified France’s global influence. With a diverse physical landscape and a variety of climates, France attracts millions of tourists each year who come to experience its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

According to the French Labor Code, CDI (Contract à durée Indéterminée; Indeterminate Duration Contract) is a contract with no end date, also known as a permanent employment contract. The indefinite term contract (CDI) may be oral, verbal, or implied. If the agreement is verbal, the employer is obliged to provide the employee a written document containing information contained in the statement addressed to the URSSAF (Unions de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d'Allocations Familiales; the Organizations for the Collection of Social Security and Family Benefit Contributions) while hiring an employee. Permanent employees are entitled to various benefits such as paid maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, sick leave, annual leave, etc. 

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

According to French Labor Law, a Contrat à Durée Déterminée (CDD) is a fixed-term contract for a specific duration of employment. Fixed-term contracts cannot be made to replace permanent jobs in the company. Fixed-term contracts are concluded for a maximum of 18 months, including renewals. CDDs d'usage can only be concluded in specific sectors, such as travel agencies, moving companies, restaurants, professional sports companies, and survey companies. Valid cases for the use of fixed-term contracts are replacement of temporarily absent employees, temporary increase in business activity, seasonal jobs, replacement of a head of a farm or an enterprise, or recruitment of engineers and managers to achieve a defined object for an extended branch agreement.

Temporary Employment Contratcs

According to the French Code of Employment, conditions for a TWA (Contrat de Travail Temporaire ou d'Intérim; a temporary or agency job contract) are almost the same as for a CDD (Contrat à Durée Determinée; a fixed-term contract) The exception for a TWA is that there are three parties involved: the employer, the employee, and the employment agency. A temporary work agency is a natural or legal person providing temporary workers to companies. Companies can use temporary employees only for short-term activities such as: Replacement of absent workers To deal with a temporary surge in activity Seasonal work, or sectors that do not traditionally hire on a permanent basis Replacement of a manager of a craft, industrial or commercial enterprise Replacement of a business owner The setup of a TWA requires specific administrative authorization. At the end of the contract, the employee has the right to a bonus, which should be at least 10% of the total gross salary. In general, labor law in France ensures equal treatment in terms of remuneration and other working conditions. 

Probationary Period

In France, the trial period (as opposed to the "probationary period" which only applies to promoted employees) allows the employer to assess the skills of the employee at work, particularly in view of their experience, and the employee to determine whether the new job suits them. Permanent employment contracts have a trial period with the following maximum limits for different categories of workers (including renewals): 4 months for workers and employees 6 months for supervisors and technicians 8 months for executives Fixed-term contracts cannot have a trial period that exceeds 2 weeks for any contract lasting 6 months or less and 1 month for contracts lasting longer than 6 months. Typically, the trial period is 1 day for each week of the contract’s duration up to the maximum. Temporary workers also have limits on probationary periods: Two days when the contract is signed for 1 month or less Three days when the contract is signed for more than 1 month and maximum 2 months Five days when the contract is signed for more than 2 months Probationary periods longer than 1 week require a notice period.

Working Hours

The statutory working hours are 35 hours per calendar week or 7 hours per day. Employees are permitted to work overtime on either a one-off basis or regularly. Employers should be cautious when employees work more than 39 hours a week because the maximum amount of overtime an employee may work is 220 hours per year. There are more flexible systems for autonomous employees and those employed as executives, but the employer must track the hours worked accurately. Furthermore, an exemption from most working time and rest-related regulations is allowed for “managing executives,” but this is exceptional and rarely accepted by employees. The hours worked by a nighttime employee cannot exceed 8 per day (or 40 per week), except under certain circumstances authorized by a labor inspector. 

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

In France, the following holidays are observed:

  • New Year (Jour de l'An) - January 1
  • Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques) - date subject to change every year
  • Labor Day (Fête du Travail) - May 1
  • Victory Day 1945 (Fête de la Victoire) - May 8
  • Ascension Day (Jour de l'Ascension) - date subject to change every year
  • Whit Sunday (Pentecôte) - date subject to change every year
  • Whit Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte) - date subject to change every year
  • French National Day (Fête Nationale de la France) - July 14
  • Assumption Day (Assomption) - August 15
  • All Saints' Day (Toussaint) - November 1
  • Ceasefire of Compiègne (Armistice 1918) - November 11
  • 1st Christmas Holiday (Noël) - December 25
  • 2nd Christmas Holiday (Lendemain de Noël) - December 26

Only Labor Day (May 1) is a compulsory holiday. All other holidays are defined by a collective bargaining agreement, in the absence of which, it becomes the responsibility of the employer. Employers may also decide to grant a paid holiday on a bridge day (a day preceding or following a public holiday). 

Paid Annual Leave

According to the Employment Code of France, full-time employees earn 2.5 days of annual leave every working month. The total duration of annual leave cannot exceed 30 working days in a year. Employees under 21 years with dependent children are granted two extra days of leave per child. The annual leave in France runs from June 1 to May 31 of the following year, although this can be changed by collective agreements. Annual leave cannot be replaced by compensatory allowance. Employees are paid leave allowance according to their average salary. The duration of the annual leave used at one time cannot exceed 24 working days. Leave of 12 working days or fewer must be continuous.

Sick Leave

Employees are entitled to paid sick leave after working for at least 1 year in France. The Labor Code, however, does not mention a specific number of days of sick leave. If the illness requires an absence from work, an employee's doctor must provide a sick leave certificate (avis d'arrêt de travail), which has to be forwarded to the Social Security authorities and the employer within 48 hours of the original medical appointment; otherwise, the employee may risk losing the right to paid medical leave. Social Security funds the allowance for sick leave, but employers may choose to pay additional sick pay.  The general principle is that an employee with at least one year of service with the company is entitled to paid sick leave in the event of sickness and the provision of a sick leave certificate from the medical officer. The period for which an employee is paid during sick leave varies according to the employee's tenure with the organization and the total duration of absence. In case of an accident at work or an occupational disease, sick leave allowance is paid from the first day of absence. In the case of ordinary illness, non-professional, or commuting accidents, it begins from day eight. This allowance is paid as follows: During the first 30 days, 90% of the daily remuneration of the employee. From day 31, 66% of the daily remuneration of the employee

Maternity Leave

In France, workers are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave and may choose to take 6 weeks of leave before the delivery and 10 weeks after the delivery. 8 weeks of maternity leave are compulsory, of which at least 6 weeks must be taken after childbirth. Maternity leave may be extended on medical grounds arising out of the pregnancy by a maximum of 2 weeks before and 4 weeks after the birth. Maternity leave is increased to 34 weeks for twin births and 46 weeks for triplet or more births. From third and subsequent births, the maternity leave is increased to 26 weeks: 8 before and 18 after childbirth. During the term of maternity leave, employees are paid a maternity allowance which is equal to the average daily wage (100%) of the three-month period preceding prenatal leave up to a ceiling of EUR 3,428 (Euros) a month after deduction of the employee's share of statutory social security contributions and taxes. The maximum amount of the daily maternity allowance is EUR 89.03 per day. Maternity leave is treated as an actual working period for determining the duration of paid leave and for legal or conventional rights acquired by the employee with respect to her seniority in the company. Dismissal is prohibited during pregnancy, during maternity leave (whether or not the worker uses the right to take the leave), 10 weeks after a miscarriage of a 14th week or later pregnancy, as well as four weeks after the end of maternity leave. 

Paternity Leave

Paternity and childcare leave is for a total of 25 calendar days or 32 calendar days in the event of multiple births. This leave consists of 2 periods: A compulsory first period of 4 consecutive days immediately following the birth leave (3 days), which can be extended to up to a maximum of 30 days in case of immediate hospitalization of the child after birth A second period of 21 days, or 28 days in the event of multiple births, which can be split into 2 periods of at least 5 days. It must be taken within 6 months of the birth of the child Employers must pay 100% salary during the first 3 days of birth leave. After that, paternity allowances are paid by social security. During paternity leave, employees are paid a paternity allowance from the state of 100% of earnings, up to a ceiling of EUR 3,428 a month. The maximum amount of the daily allowance paid during paternity and childcare leave is EUR 89.03 per day, from which 21% is deducted for social security contributions. Fathers cannot be dismissed from employment in the 4 weeks following the birth of their child and are also allowed the right to additional paid leave when the mother is pregnant in order to attend three obligatory exams. 

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

Under the employment law of France, the termination of an employment agreement by either of the parties must be preceded by a notice period during which the contract remains in effect and binding on both parties. The requirement of prior notice is provided by the law, particularly in cases of resignation, dismissal (except in cases of gross and willful misconduct of the employee), or voluntary and involuntary retirement. Except in instances of gross misconduct (which may permit an immediate dismissal), the employer must comply with applicable notice periods. For a period of continuous employment of less than 6 months, the duration of the notice is determined by the law (where some specific text exists), the collective convention, or, failing that, by the practices practiced in the locality and the profession; For a period of continuous employment between 6 months and 2 years, the statutory minimum notice is 1 month. For a period of continuous employment of more than 2 years, the statutory minimum notice is 2 months. Any applicable collective bargaining agreement or employment contract may increase the statutory minimum. During the notice period, an employee continues to work. The employer may waive this obligation but must pay the employee's salary and holiday pay on up to the end of the notice period.

Severance Benefits

Under the labor law of France, severance pay is only awarded if: The employer terminates an indefinite-term contract for a reason other than serious or gross negligence The employee has worked in the company for at least eight months Severance pay depends on the employee's length of service and the relevant collective bargaining agreement (CBA) provisions. It is generally calculated based on an employee's average salary (often including bonuses as well as basic salary) during the last year of employment (or the last 3 months if this is more favorable to the employee). Statutory severance pay is calculated as follows: A quarter of a month's salary per year of service for up to 10 years A third of a month's salary per year of service of more than ten years Statutory severance pay is not subject to income tax.

Social Security

Pension

In France, the retirement scheme is based on a statutory scheme and a mandatory complementary scheme. The statutory retirement scheme itself is divided into categories: the general scheme, the plan for agricultural workers, self-employed, civil servants, and a number of "special regimes," ranging from public transport workers to civil aviation flight crews and the Paris Opera employees. The most common complementary retirement scheme is managed by Agirc-Arrco, which is the result of the 2019 merger of the private sector retirement scheme for executives (Agirc), and the retirement scheme for workers (Arrco). The Agirc-Arrco scheme uses a 2-salary-bracket contribution basis. A separate contribution rate applies to each salary bracket and is shared between the employer (60%) and the employees (40%). The employer's rate of contribution ranges from 4.72% to 12.95%. Following the reform enacted in 2023, the general statutory retirement age in France is going to be gradually increased from 62 to 64 (by 2030). In order to qualify for a full pension, individuals must also make an appropriate amount of contributions (contribution trimesters). The basic statutory retirement pension cannot exceed 50% of the Social Security ceiling, which in 2023 is EUR 1,833 (euros) per month. The rate usually ranges between 37.5% and 50%.

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

Invalidity Benefit

In France, the conditions for entitlement to disability benefits differ for occupational and non-occupational accidents or diseases. Eligibility conditions for a disability pension after an accident or a disabling illness which are not work-related are: The person must be under the statutory retirement age in France (currently 62, but this will increase to 64 by 2030). The person’s working capacity or income capacity has to have been reduced by at least two-thirds. The person has to have been registered with the statutory health system for at least 12 months at the time of the acknowledgment of the disability by the statutory health system medical advisor. During the 12 months preceding the acknowledgment of the disability, the person must have worked at least 600 hours or must have paid contributions on at least 2,030 times the hourly minimum wage before going on leave. This disability pension is calculated upon the person’s ten highest average income years. After the occupational accident or disease, the person will get a daily compensation calculated based on the gross salary of the month preceding the accident or the onset of the disease. The amount of daily compensation amounts to 60% of the person’s daily salary with a maximum of EUR 220.14 as of January 1, 2023, for the first 28 days following the day the person stopped working. From the 29th day, the daily compensation goes to 80% of the person’s daily salary, with a maximum of EUR 293.51. This daily compensation will be awarded until the person recovers, is declared to have developed a permanent disability (in which case there is an entitlement to a pension), or dies.

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

Unless excluded by a tax treaty, French residents are generally subject to personal income tax (PIT) on worldwide income. Non-residents are subject to tax only on their income arising in France. The minimum tax rate for this category of taxpayers increased from 20% to 30%. Rates are progressive from 0 – 45%, plus a 3-4% surtax on income exceeding EUR 250,000 – EUR 1 million for certain cases. Investment income (interest, dividends, capital gains) made from January 1, 2018, is generally taxed at a 30% flat rate. The 30% tax covers both income tax and social surtaxes. However, taxpayers may choose to apply the progressive rate of income tax to their investment income as well. Considering the inflationary context, the French government introduced an exceptional purchasing power bonus, allowing companies to award a bonus to their employees. Up to EUR 3,000 (6,000 EUR in some cases), the companies are exonerated from social contributions on this amount, and employees are exempted from income tax on this amount (should they earn less than 3 times the minimum wage). Such premiums will be subject to income tax at the employee level as of 2024.

Immigration

Types of Visas

The type of visa required for entering France depends on the duration of the intended stay and its reasons. Short-stay visa (visa de court séjour) – issued for a maximum of three months and valid in all other Schengen member countries. Long-stay visa (visa de long séjour) – valid for three to 12 months Circulation visa (Visa de circulation) – valid from one to five years and allows stays in France for up to three months every six months. Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa for France: all 28 EU member countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and Switzerland. Citizens from many countries may stay for 90 days without a visa, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, United States, Uruguay, Vatican, and Venezuela. Others need a visa to enter France.

Work Permit

Per the laws of France, EU citizens do not need a work or residence permit if they hold a passport or other ID, proving their EU citizenship. All non-EU citizens are required to obtain a work permit for employment in France. The relevant préfecture will consider the employment situation within its territory or department when deciding whether to grant a work permit. Persons entering France to exercise a salaried activity for a duration less than or equal to three months in sports, seminars, entertainment, modeling, artistic, personal services, teaching, etc. do not require a work permit.  The work permit issued in a French department, a community, or an overseas territory is valid only in that department, community or territory. Persons who hold such authorization and wish to work in France must obtain a new work permit. On the other hand, a person does not need to get a new work permit if they hold: A resident card A residence card, private and family life A European Blue Card stay card In these cases, a person must report the change of address to the prefecture.

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