Have questions? Ask us!

Employment in France

French employment law may appear complex and confusing. However, in some ways there are many similarities to other countries. As the following only aim to act as a guide in the broadest sense, it is still recommended that professional legal advice be sought when employing in France.

Key points on employment in France

There are several key areas to be aware of within France’s employment regulatory framework, especially for companies that plan to initiate a full local office and human resources department.  These challenges can be mitigated by use of a locally sourced payroll provider who is familiar with all of the local laws and rules for both local employees as well as foreign nationals.

Employee Entitlements

Information Explanation
Working on Sundays ?

Sunday working is not allowed by law but there are some exceptions: for example, where there is a
need for production to fulfill the demands of the public (e.g. in food manufacturing, entertainment,
restaurants, etc.)

There are also some situations in which it is possible for businesses to gain a temporary exemption, such as:

  • if the outlet is in a tourist area;
  • if the outlet is located within an ‘area of exceptional consumption’;
  • if the Prefect of the region authorises the opening on economic grounds
Time Off Work ?

Employee annual leave is calculated from 1st June of the previous year until 31st May of the current year. All employees are entitled to two and a half days of paid leave per month worked. This gives basically 5 full weeks of vacation a year (because Saturdays are considered in the calculation as ‘working days’. Sundays and public holidays are not included. Employees in France will begin earning their annual leave from the moment they start working. Traditionally, holidays are taken in August. In France this month is ‘sacred’ and the country practically comes to a halt. Some companies officially close and many small shops, restaurants and local service providers shut.

Medical Leave ?

There are two categories of sick leave: work related sick leave and non-work related sick leave. Work related sick leave is defined as any injury or illness that occurs either within the work place, travelling to or from work
and professional illnesses.

Employees are not usually paid for taking sick leave, however in certain circumstances regarding a collective agreement or law, employees may be entitled to receive payment for part of or all of the leave taken.

The French Labour Code provides that an employee shall be paid for sick leave, whether work related or not, if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The employee has at least one year of service on the first day of his/her sick leave;
  • Justification of the sick leave is given within 48 hours and supported by a medical certificate and, if necessary, by another medical certificate issued from a second medical exam requested by the employer;
  • The illness is covered by French social security; and
  • Medical care was provided in France or another country of the European Union or the European Community.

If all of these conditions are met, the employee’s salary for sick leave taken is paid by the French social security.

Employment Termination

Information Explanation
Termination of Employment ?

When an employee’s employment contract is terminated and they leave the business, there are no documents given.

Outsourcing Employment Through a GEO Employer of Record Service

Compliance with local employment requirements is just one of the issues foreign companies face when employing staff in France. For companies which intend to employ their staff directly through their incorporated France entity, professional legal advice is recommended. Shield GEO provides an alternative path for companies to outsource the employment of their staff in France.

As a Global Employer Organization (GEO), Shield GEO acts as the Employer of Record and ensures the employment is compliant with host country regulations regarding employment. In addition Shield GEO will handle payroll processing, tax and immigration. Using Shield GEO is the fastest and most cost effective way to deploy local and foreign workers into France.

The Shield GEO solution is an attractive alternative where

– the company is looking to employ staff quickly

– the company doesn’t have an appropriately incorporated entity in France

– the company wants to work within a defined budget

– the company wants to limit its initial commitment in France

– the company needs help with tax, employment, immigration and payroll compliance in France

Shield GEO can contract directly with the company to employ and payroll their staff in France. Shield GEO supplies local employment contracts for the staff, which ensure that local statutory requirements are met covering issues such as termination, probation periods, leave entitlements and statutory benefits.  Shield GEO is able to advise companies how to cover local employment regulations whilst still providing consistent global employment policies. Understand more about outsourced employment through Shield GEO.



  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Join over 1,000 professionals!

Subscribe to our monthly Global Mobility newsletter