The employment structure that Boundless operates in France is called Portage Salarial. This is a designation unique to France that sits somewhere between independent contracting and full employment and provides a compliant structure for a company not based in France to benefit from the work of a French resident worker. The mechanics involve a three-party arrangement between the worker (salarié porté), the portage (Boundless) and you as the business benefiting from the work performed. That arrangement comes with two separate agreements - an employment one between the worker and the portage and a commercial one between the portage and the business.
Portage salarial affords full statutory employment rights to the worker including paid time off, access to unemployment benefits, workload revision meetings, right to disconnect, various forms of paid leave, and a host of protections. It also aligns taxation with regular full-time employment in France. The portage company makes social security, health insurance, and compulsory pension contributions on behalf of the worker.
All standard end of employment rules apply when working under Portage salarial, including the mutually agreed termination (rupture conventionnelle) that gives the worker access to unemployment benefits. This requires a 45 day notice period.
Portage salarial comes with a minimum salary requirement of €38,460 annually.
As the portage, we establish and maintain the legal employment relationship with the worker, while a level of independence exists between you and them. Depending on your preference, we sign either an ongoing employment agreement (Contract Duration Indeterminée) or a temporary employment agreement (Contract Duration Determinée) with the worker. The duration of either can be a maximum of 36 months. Non-disclosure agreements and other employment conditions can be accommodated in the standard terms and conditions.
We then register the worker to mandatory social insurance (URSSAF), income protection (prevoyance) and complementary health insurance (mutuelle) providers.
Tracking of the working hours and time off, taking any necessary disciplinary actions, and ending of employment all happen through us. If at any point there is a point of contention, you need to contact us and cannot directly penalise or terminate the employment agreement with the worker.
Every month we calculate the payroll, deduct all mandatory contributions, and provide the worker with a payslip and detailed cost breakdown that includes:
We file all necessary taxes and pay mandatory contributions to respective authorities.
As part of the monthly activities, we also collect a financial reserve of 10% of the worker's pay. This reserve is built to guarantee the employee an income for periods where they do not have "missions" with clients.
You sign our standard commercial agreement that we use for most of the countries we are in, which you can end with one month notice. You continue your working relationship with the worker for ongoing assignments. After the 36 months of employment through Portage salarial expire, French authorities could ask you to move to direct employment with the worker as a foreign employer.
Once a month, the worker sends us a report of their hours, time off, etc which they fill out directly on our platform. If they want to cease providing services to you at any point, they will ask us to cease the commercial contract with you following the terms of the agreement. At the end of the employment relationship with Boundless, the worker receives their financial reserve one-off payment.
While Portage Salarial matches all statutory benefits and rights extended to any French employee, there are a few optional ones, which are not available through this model. Those include profit-sharing schemes, staff representatives or redeployment leave, which only become available at certain company size thresholds.
Also since the employment happens through the Portage Salarial model, it is regulated by the Portage Salarial collective bargaining agreement (CBA) rather than the one your company would fall under (each industry has their own CBAs).
France does not recognise termination at will and has strict laws that make ending employment more bureaucratic than most countries. There are a few situations where an employer is permitted to dismiss an employee, however, they require severe cause:
Companies that are having economic difficulties can terminate employment or make employees redundant based on economic grounds. They must either try to redeploy and retrain employees to avoid the dismissal or obtain their consent and provide them redundancy compensation and compensation for the notice period not served and unused vacation days. Before proceeding with the termination, the employer must invite the employee for an interview to discuss the situation with them and inform them of their rights, such as the reclassification leave if the company employs more than 1,000 people or the professional security contract (CSP).
The termination procedure includes an at-risk meeting (a meeting specifically for people at risk of termination due to the economic situation of the company ) with the employee.
Employers may end the employment of an employee who doesn't respect the company's rules or commits gross misconduct. This type of dismissal requires culpable behaviour by the employee. Employers must notify the employee of the discharge and explain the reasons behind it. The employee, in turn, must give notice as indicated on the employment contract or CBA.
Employers can choose to let employees go without serving their notice as long as they are reimbursed for it. In severe and gross misconduct cases, the employment is ended upon the dismissal notice's delivery and does not require compensation.
Employees are entitled to severance, except in the cases of serious and gross misconduct.
The employer and the employee must strictly follow these steps for mutual consent to be valid:
Companies can exempt employees from working their notice period if they compensate them for it.
During termination, the employer must provide employees with the following documents:
If the employment contract has a non-competition clause, the financial compensation is also due at termination unless the clause is waived. The employer must also propose the continuance of the welfare and health insurance benefits and complete the forms and send them back to the insurer. The purpose is to maintain them for a certain period according to the employment contract's duration, at most for one year.
Apart from termination due to serious and gross misconduct, employees are entitled to a severance package that consists of dismissal indemnity, paid notice period and paid holidays indemnity (for unused accrued leave). Collective bargaining agreements often set higher severance compensation.
If a company fails to comply with the dismissal procedure or dismisses an employee without a genuine cause, a judge may challenge the dismissal. If they then rule that the dismissal is null and void (a breach in the employee's fundamental right), the employee can ask to be reinstated and compensated for the wage not received during the time of dismissal. If the employee refuses to be reinstated, the employer must compensate the employee with at least six monthly salaries.
If a judge overrules a termination because it lacks a genuine cause, the employee can seek a damages award. The compensation varies according to the employee's seniority and the number of employees in the company; the government provides an online compensation calculator.
If the judge finds that the termination process was not complied with but that there is a cause for termination, they can grant the employee compensation, which cannot exceed one month's salary.
Employers must follow a standard grievance procedure, the goal of which should be to avoid dismissing an employee:
Certain employees benefit from additional dismissal protection, making it more challenging to terminate employment during the protection period, as follows:
Before any collective economic dismissal, the employer must consult the social and economic committee (CSE) and DIRECCTE on the reasons and conditions of the dismissals. Failure to comply with these obligations will bring about a right to compensation.
Whatever the size of the company, the employer must implement all measures to avoid redundancy. This means offering better adaptation or redeployment to another job.
When a redundancy meets the CSP scheme conditions, employees made redundant who have been employed for at least one year can register for enhanced unemployment services. This way, they will receive 75% of their average salary for one year and redeployment support. Employers bear part of the unemployment services cost by paying the equivalent of the notice period (and applicable social security contributions) to the French state.
Employees who would like to resign either during or after their probation period must inform the employer by letter (hand-delivered or registered post) of their clear and unequivocal desire to resign. Once the employer receives the letter, they must date it on reception and sign it. The notice period in the employment contract or applicable collective agreement must be complied with unless otherwise agreed by the parties. Employees who resign are not entitled to unemployment benefits (unless in specific cases). Resignation letter template
The notice period varies according to the length of employment and the applicable collective bargaining agreement. The notice period provided by law/practice is as follows:
Employees on permanent contracts who are terminated and have worked for the company for at least eight months are entitled to severance pay. Pay varies according to the length of service and is calculated based on the employee's average salary over the past 3 or 12 months, whichever is higher. The severance is as follows:
The collective bargaining agreement can include more favourable severance rights. The employer must calculate severance rights according to the provisions provided by statute and those included in the CBA and apply whichever is the most advantageous for the employee.
For employees on fix-term contracts, the severance pay equals 10% of the salary earned to date.
The first €82,272 of the severance pay is exempt from social security, and the first €246,816 is exempt from income tax contributions.Severance calculator.
To receive the unemployment benefit, the person must fulfil the following criteria:
The government provides a calculator to estimate how much unemployment allowance a person is entitled to.
The daily unemployment allowance includes:
The net amount of the allowance cannot be less than €29.38 daily. People can receive this allowance for up to 730 days (24 months) if they haven't found a job yet, depending on how long they were employed. For employees aged 53 or 54, unemployment benefits can extend to 913 days (30 months). Employees aged 55 years and over are entitled to a maximum of 1,095 days of unemployment benefits (36 months).
Employees are entitled to 30 days of annual leave (working days – jours ouvrables). They acquire the days at a rate of 2.5 vacation days per month, but employers may agree to anticipate the days. The holiday calendar runs from June 1st to May 31st.
Workers on paid leave, leave to compensate for overtime, leave for family reasons, absence from work due to occupational accidents or illnesses, maternity or paternity leave, adoption leave, training leave, and military service periods accumulate days off while taking them.
The employment law establishes that employees should not take more than 24 working days off at once, and they must take at least 12 consecutive working days of the leading vacation at one time. If an employee gets sick during the holiday leave, they are not entitled to additional days.
Some companies give additional vacation days depending on how many years the employee has been with the company. Some collective agreements provide extra days off for Christmas or Easter holidays.
Employers and employees can agree to carry unused holidays to the next year if the collective agreement permits it. However, this is not mandatory, and the employee may lose any days they didn't take by May 31st (provided the reason for not taking them was heavy workload).
The 30 days holiday entitlement is an employee right based on a 35-hour workweek. In cases where employees need to work beyond the legal 35 hours, certain companies and CBAs may offer reduced working time (RTT) of up to two days per month to compensate for the extended working hours. RTT is calculated by taking the working days in the year and subtracting the contracted days. Employees cannot carry RTT days to the following year.
There are 11 public holidays in France, but only Labour Day (May 1st) is a statutory paid holiday. However, most employers grant all public holidays as paid time off (part of the employment agreement or CBA).
Employees who work on Labour Day are entitled to a premium pay of 200%, while other public holidays don't trigger a pay increase for those who work during these dates (unless specified on the CBA or employment contract).
Public holidays that fall on weekends do not move to the next working day.
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An employee's absence due to illness suspends the work contract and the employer's obligation to compensate the employee fully. The Social Security Health System pays out a daily benefit to employees on sick leave. The employer may be required to top up the pay depending on the applicable collective bargaining agreement's provisions.
Employees are entitled to sick leave paid by Social Security for six months if they have either:
After the 6th month of illness, employees must satisfy the following criteria to extend the leave to up to one year:
Social Security covers up to 50% of the employee's daily earnings, capped at €46 per day, from the fourth day of illness onwards.
The employer must provide a salary certificate to social security authorities to enable the employee to receive social security benefits.
In Alsace-Moselle, the employer is responsible for paying the benefit from the 1st to the 3rd day of illness.
The benefit payment is raised to 90% of the employee's gross income for the first 30 days of illness if they:
The amount is lowered to 67% for a maximum of 6 months. This additional compensation only kicks in after the 8th day of absence due to illness.
The sick leave is considered unjustified if the employee doesn't present a doctor's note, even if sick for only one day.
Employment agreements or collective agreements may stipulate full compensation, topped up by the employer.
In case of severe or prolonged illness, the benefit can be extended for up to three years. Employers are allowed to terminate the employment contract if:
Mothers are entitled to a minimum of 16 weeks of paid maternity leave if the employee:
Pregnant employees can take up to 6 weeks off before the child's birth and the remainder after it (minimum of 8 weeks). During the leave, the employee's contract is suspended, and the employer does not have to pay the employee an allowance unless stated by the CBA.
Employees may be granted a 15-day antenatal leave prescribed by their doctor before maternity or even a supplementary postnatal leave. During maternity leave, employees are entitled to an allowance by the Social Security equal to their average income over the last three months preceding the prenatal leave, capped at €89.03 per day. Many collective agreements guarantee full salary, while others guarantee the employer's continuity of salary payments during maternity leave.
The employer must provide a salary certificate to the social security to enable the employee receiving the social security benefits. Pregnant employees are protected from being terminated during pregnancy and up to 10 weeks after their actual return to work.
After the third child, the employee receives a longer maternity leave: 8 weeks before birth and 18 after (for a total of 26 weeks). If the actual day of giving birth happens after the estimated date, the prenatal leave is automatically extended. However, the postnatal leave entitlement remains the same.
If the mother suffers an illness during pregnancy, she is entitled to two additional weeks before birth and four additional weeks after birth.
Fathers are entitled to 3 days leave for the birth or adoption of a child (full salary paid by the employer) and 25 days of paternity leave (paid by Social Security). That is extended to 32 days in case of multiple births. They must take paternal leave on consecutive days, within four months of the birth.
They must inform the employer at least one month in advance. Employers must provide a salary certificate to Social Security so that the employee can receive an allowance, capped at €89.03 per day. Employers can choose to top up the benefit.
Employees adopting a child are entitled to paid adoption leave. Its length depends on existing children in the household and those being adopted:
When two parents split the adoption leave, they can only do so into two maximum periods, the shortest of which is at least equal to 11 days (or 18 days in the event of multiple adoptions). These two periods can follow each other or be taken simultaneously.
For the leave to be paid by Social Security, the parents must meet the same criteria as specified under the maternity leave section. The salary taken into account for the allowance is capped at €3,428 per month, and the benefit is capped at €89.03 per day.
The leave begins on the date of the child's arrival at the home. However, it can start earlier, within the limit of 7 consecutive days preceding the child's arrival at the home.
The employment contract is suspended during this leave, but the employee still benefits from protection against dismissal.
Parents are entitled to unpaid parental leave or part-time arrangements at the end of the maternity and paternity leave. The leave is available between six months and three years (if the parent has more than one child) after birth. The leave lasts for one year, but can be extended until the child's third birthday and divided between both parents. It can be taken simultaneously or alternately by the parents.
Employers cannot refuse an employee's request to take parental leave if they have been with the company for at least one year before the child's birth. During this leave, the employment contract is suspended, and the employer does not have to pay the employee. Some parents may benefit from Social Security allowances.
If the child has a serious illness or disability, the parents are entitled to an additional 310 days off over three years.
Parents are entitled to unpaid time off to care for a sick or injured child under 16, regardless of how long they have been employed. Employees are entitled to three days off a year to care for their sick children (5 days if the child is younger than one or if the parent has three or more children). Employees must present their employers with a medical certificate.
Employees are also entitled to unpaid leave to care for a disabled relative or relative suffering from a severe loss of autonomy. The person in need of help must be a French resident. The leave duration is often listed on the CBA, but in the absence of a contractual clause, the maximum period of leave is three months, with the option of renewal for up to 1 year.
Employees must request such leave one month in advance. During the leave, the employment contract is suspended. Even though the leave is unpaid, some CBA might provide for it, or the employee may qualify for a daily caregiver allowance (AJPA) by the government. AJPA allowance is limited to 66 days a year (22 per month). For an employee living as a couple, the daily pay is €43.83 (€52.08 if single).
Employees are entitled to time off, paid by the employer, in the following life events:
Employees are entitled to take additional time off, paid by the employer, for the following life events:
The collective bargaining agreement can provide additional days to those specified by law and outlined above.
Employees starting or taking over a business are entitled to take unpaid leave or go part-time to take care of their business. The leave lasts for up to one year and can be renewed once. To be eligible, the employee must have been with the company for at least 24 months.
The employee must request the leave two months in advance. Employers have the right to postpone (up to 6 months if the leave is detrimental to the company) or refuse it (if employing less than 300 employees and the leave will harm the company's operations). If the employer doesn't respond within 30 days, the leave is considered granted.
Employees who have been working for the same company for at least 36 months (and six years for their entire professional career) can request an unpaid sabbatical leave. The leave may last between 6 and 11 months, and the request must be submitted three months in advance.
Employers may postpone it for up to 9 months or refuse it if they employ less than 300 people and can prove that the employee's absence would impact business operations. During the leave, the employment contract is suspended.
In 2021, the statutory gross national minimum wage is €10.25 gross per hour.
For full-time employees, this amounts to €1554,58 per month for a 35-hour workweek. However, CBAs often provide more generous compensation than the required minimum.
Salaries must be paid at least once a month.
There is no fixed date, but commonly, employees are paid on the last day of the month. Some collective agreements may impose a specific payday.
It is not mandatory to make payments to employees or the French authorities from a local bank account.
The French working hours are usually 8 or 9 AM to 4 or 5 PM, with 1 hour of unpaid lunch break. This will, however, vary depending on the business and company agreements.
The weekly working hours are 35 (7 hours a day, five days a week). Hours worked beyond this quota are compulsory paid as overtime.
French law is very strict with limiting employee's working hours. Employees cannot work more than 10 hours a day, 44 hours a week (on average of 12 weeks), unless specified on the collective agreement.
Employees are not allowed to opt-out of the maximum working hours.
However, working time arrangements in days enable avoiding the monitoring of working time in hours – subject to complying with minimum rest periods (11 consecutive hours of daily rest, 35 consecutive hours of weekly rest).
Overtime is work done beyond the established weekly limit of 35 hours. When there is an agreement in place, overtime pay is no less than 110% of the regular wages. If there is no agreement in place, overtime pay should be 125% of the regular pay for the first eight hours and 150% thereafter.
Employers may choose to compensate employees with time off instead of remuneration for overtime (in whole or in part).
A compensatory rest is mandatory for any hours performed over the annual quota of overtime (220 hours/year subject to different quotas provided in company/branch level agreement).
In the absence of more favourable provisions provided by an agreement, the premium is set at:
Every employee is entitled to:
Working on Sundays is strictly forbidden in France, except in exceptional industries where there's the need to fulfil the public's demands, such as restaurants, food manufacturing and entertainment.
Night work is performed between the hours of 9 PM and 6 AM and is authorised by a collective bargaining agreement, which provides financial consideration and/or paid leave for night work performed. Its duration is limited to 8 hours per 24-hour period and a maximum weekly average (over 12 weeks) of 40 hours.
The Loi Macron authorises goods or services retail businesses located in international tourist zones to stay open from 9 PM to 12 AM. Employees working such hours receive at least double compensation for the work performed in the evening and are provided with special transportation when leaving work.
The French law distinguishes hourly to salaried (days worked per year) employees in regards to time tracking obligations. For hourly employees, there is no obligation to record the working hours of employees if they are established collectively. Employers must either record employees' start and end times or total daily hours if hours are not collectively set. The total number of hours weekly must also be recorded.
For salaried employees, employers must monitor the number and date of days or half days worked. They must also ensure working time and workload are reasonable, comply with minimum rest periods and respect the maximum working hours and work-life balance. The employer must have an annual meeting with the employee to go over these topics and summarise the number of days or half-days worked by each employee.
Companies are free to implement whichever tracking system they see fit - from clock-in and out to individual employee declarations. Companies are not required to track the hours of senior executives (Cadre dirigeant).
An employer who cannot provide written evidence of hours worked by employees will not be complying with French law on working time. Penalties for noncompliance can go up to €2,000 per employee per breach.
Remote work or telework is work carried out wholly or partially outside the company's premises, either from home or remotely. Details can be set up through a collective agreement, a charter drawn by the employer or individually agreed on terms between the employer and the employee.
Employees in roles that allow them to carry their tasks out at a distance can request to work from home. They can inform their employer of their intention either verbally or in writing, and the employer who refuses must justify their reason. Employers do not need to make changes to the employment contract to allow an employee to telework.
Employers must specify the following elements when allowing some or all employees to work from home:
Employers allowing workers to work remotely have the following obligations:
Employers are responsible for accidents at home during telework performance, just like they are in the office premises. Therefore, employers must treat home offices as an extension of the company's office and address risk assessment and prevention and inform employees of risks they might be exposed to when working from home, both physically and mentally.
Since the employer's access to the employee's home office is limited, it's the employee responsibility to comply with the provisions and instructions relating to health and safety at work and immediately inform the company in the event of an accident. The employer or the SEC may have access to the home office to ensure health and safety with prior consent and employee notification. The employee can also request an inspection visit.
Employers are responsible for their employee's data security, including when it is stored in data centers where they have no physical or legal control.
The National Commission of Informatics and Freedom (CNIL) lists the best practices for remote workers to protect the exchange of company and personal data at work:
Employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure the employee's workstation is correctly set up, safe, comfortable and easy to use to reduce potential injuries as indicated in the health and safety measures. In turn, employees must care for their health and safety and follow any reasonable policies or directions their employer gives them.
An appropriate workstation will include the following:
Employees working from home must enjoy the same individual and collective rights as all employees. This includes access to training, respect for their private lives, health and safety at work, access to the company's social activities, union information, and social benefits, such as restaurant vouchers.
Employers must first inform employees if they want to set up a monitoring system for employees working from home, consult the Works Council (CSE), and meet the requirements imposed on personal data processing. A permanent monitoring of employees through constant surveillance or screen sharing and requiring employees to prove their presence behind the screen constantly is prohibited.
The 35 working hours per week must also be respected and daily and weekly resting hours, and overtime worked (overtime worked at the employer's request only).
Recommendations for employees working from home:
Trial periods vary according to the role and the collective agreement, as follows:
The probation period can be renewed provided that the employment contract and the applicable collective bargaining agreement specifies this.
An employer may end employment during this period without additional compensation, but they must respect the notice period (or pay it in lieu).
It is impossible to include an exclusivity clause or a non-compete clause in the employment contract unless such provisions are included in a services agreement provision.
Employees have a right to receive a monthly document, often attached to their payslip, breaking down the total number of overtime hours worked during the year, the number of compensatory replacement rest hours acquired, and the number of compensatory rest hours actually taken during the month.
Employers must monitor the number and date of days or half days worked for employees where working time is calculated in days over the year. They must also ensure working time and workload are reasonable, comply with minimum rest periods and respect the maximum working hours and work-life balance.
Provided the conditions are met for a TUPE transfer, employees are automatically transferred to the new company during a business transfer and can carry over their continuous service period. Employment terms and conditions should not be modified after the transfer unless the employee agrees to it.
Employers are not allowed to dismiss employees before undertaking a business transfer unless the employer implements a social plan (plan de sauvegarde de l'emploi) to safeguard some of the jobs that are at risk. In this case, only the jobs remaining after the social plan has been implemented are automatically transferred to the acquiring entity. Dismissals executed by the transferee after the transfer are subject to the usual rules on dismissals.
Employees' collective employment rights are not maintained, except for a limited period (usually 15 months), as collective agreements are not transferred to the transferee. The new employer must negotiate a new collective agreement (accord de transition ou d'adaption) that defines the transferred employees' collective rights.
Inventions created by an employee during employment, related to the company's business, using company knowledge, data and technology are property of the employer. Employees are entitled to receive fair additional compensation for them, which can be part of their salary.
The author of an intellectual work owns, with effect from the date of creation, its exclusive IP rights, which are enforceable against all persons. Ownership of the copyright can be assigned to the employer by written agreement (employment contract). Employees always retain the moral rights to their work. They are not entitled to any additional compensation for a transfer of copyright ownership.
Employees are bound by a duty of loyalty towards their employer, which prevents them from engaging in any activity against their employer's interest. Employment contracts can also set out more specific non-compete provisions. During employment, employees can be required to:
Non-compete clauses after termination are valid if they are included in the employment contract or in an amendment to it. In addition, the non-compete clause must satisfy all of the following criteria:
Non-compete clauses that do not meet all four conditions are invalid. Collective bargaining agreements can also provide for non-compete clauses.
Employees are required to disclose monthly activity reports, which enable the monitoring and controlling of the workload. As part of this monthly timesheet, the employee provides information on the number of days worked in the completed month, the positioning or qualification of rest days as weekly rest, paid leave, or other leave. The employee activity report must be approved by the employer and include the dates of the days and half-days worked. Using the activity report, employers analyse and ensure that the employee's workload is reasonable and organise an annual meeting to discuss the workload.
The activity report must include details surrounding the employee's working periods, such as providing services, prospection, sick leave, holiday, training, staff representative activities.
Employers must provide employees with an employment contract that meets the local standards. There are two types of contract in France: fixed-term contract (CDD) and permanent contract (CDI).
Contracts are recognised only if in French. Employers may attach a translation version, if necessary. Employees may request a translation of the agreement in their native language at the employer's expense. The contract should include the following:
Employers must provide employees with an itemised payslip monthly, breaking down the overtime pay, bonuses, paid vacation, illness, gross salary, net salary, social security contributions, complementary pensions and unemployment insurance. The payslip should also include the annual leave accrued. Employees have a right to request copies of their salary and time records, breaking down information such as days or hours worked by the employee, the wage paid weekly or monthly and the method of calculating the compensation.
Employees in roles that allow them to carry their tasks remotely can request to work from home. They can inform their employer of their intention either verbally or in writing, and the employer must justify any refusal. Employers do not need to make changes to the employment contract to allow telework, but a work from home supplement helps set rules and expectations.
Employees working remotely benefit from the same rights as employees who go to the office. Additionally, employees who do not have a dedicated office space on company premises are entitled to a work from home allowance, which compensates them for using their private space as a working area. If an employee has a dedicated office space and requests to work from home, they are not entitled to the allowance. The allowance is usually €50 to €60 per month and is exempt from tax.
Employers also have an absolute contractual duty to protect their employees' safety, and they can be held criminally liable for breaches of health and safety rules. Therefore, employers must strictly follow all legal provisions concerning safety in the workplace, evaluate, prevent, and record risks to protect employee's health. Employers are responsible for employee's welfare regarding occupational accidents, physical and psychological dangers and should provide employees with information and training on preventing risks. Premises should be clean and clear of clutter, facilities and technical and safety devices should be maintained and checked regularly. Employees should have sufficient light and be protected against smoking and loud noises.
The employer must also keep an employee record for those exposed to a dangerous working environment, intensive working schedules, or other multiple professional risks. The employer should share that record with the occupational doctor.
Companies with more than 300 employees are required to establish a Health and Safety Commission.
Failure to record in writing or update the risk assessment results annually is punishable by fines of up to €10,000.
Employees who suffer work-related accidents are compensated by a lump-sum indemnity paid by the social security system, which seeks reimbursement for it from the employer in the event of gross negligence.
Employees working from home are entitled to a yearly meeting with their managers to discuss their current workload and possible solutions. Moreover, employees have a right (employers should inform them of that) and can request to have a secondary meeting in case of an increase in the workload.
Following the meetings, the employer must take all the necessary measures to protect the employee's health and safety. They should draft a report, which both employer and employee sign.
Employees in France have the right to disconnect from work after working hours. Employers are prohibited from contacting employees out of those work hours. To respect an employee's private life, the work from home arrangement must establish availability periods where an employer can contact an employee by phone. Outside of the timeslots, the employee is under no obligation to respond to requests from their employer.
France has stringent laws when it comes to terminating an employee. Employers can only terminate an employee when there's a genuine cause, and they must follow a termination procedure.
Employers can dismiss employees for personal or economic reasons. The termination on personal grounds can be disciplinary (misconduct) or not (poor performance, unfitness to work).
Before an employer ends employment, they must invite the employee for a pre-dismissal meeting at least five full business days in advance to discuss the situation and allow commenting or providing an explanation. Employees may be accompanied by another staff member or, if the company has no staff representative bodies, by an external employee advisor.
For disciplinary issues, the employer must inform the employee in writing of their final decision within 30 days of the meeting. If the employer decides to proceed with the termination, they must explain each reason behind their decision.
Certain employees benefit from additional dismissal protection, making it more difficult to terminate employment during the protection period. The following employees are entitled to the extra protection:
Employers cannot discriminate against employees throughout the employment relationship - from the recruitment process to the ending of the employment - on the following grounds:
In addition, following legal provisions, employers cannot dismiss employees for going on strike.
Discrimination is a criminal offence, which is punishable by a fine of up to €225,000, the prohibition to undertake activities for a certain period, and up to three years imprisonment to the company's legal representative.
Employees are protected from sexual and psychological harassment as well as from sexist behaviours. Harassment is a criminal offence punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a maximum fine of €30,000.
Employers are liable for their employees' mental health and must ensure that they work in a safe environment. Employers must display the text of the Criminal Code on harassment at the workplace. Staff representatives can alert the company (droit d'alerte) on the matter.
Companies with more than 50 employees must set up a whistleblowing procedure, inform employees of the process and explain how their identity and other information remains anonymous.
The dismissal of a good-faith whistleblower for revealing facts that could amount to an offence or a crime is void. That allows the employee to ask for their reinstatement. If the employee abuses the procedure, the employer can take disciplinary measures against them.
Among all the other GDPR requirements, employers must handle employees' data with care and security. Personal data is defined as any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual. Specific provisions aim to protect employees' data. Employees have a right to:
Employers, as data controllers, need to follow six data protection principles when collecting, processing and storing employees' data:
Employers will be responsible and must be able to demonstrate compliance with these principles on an ongoing basis and at any time. They must implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk.
Except where otherwise provided by law, companies are prohibited from recording and storing the following information on employees:
Beyond the sanctions provided through GDPR, any breach of this rule is punishable by five years imprisonment and a fine of up to €300,000.
Employees dismissed from their jobs are entitled to receive an unemployment allowance from the government if they fulfil the criteria.
Employees working beyond the 35-hour workweek are entitled to overtime pay. Before an employer can ask an employee to work overtime, the two must be previously agreed to it in writing. The extra pay should follow the statutory requirements.
Applies to companies with 1,000 or more employees in EC and EEA member states that employ a minimum of 150 people in at least two member states.
Companies that make employees redundant due to economic reasons must offer them a redeployment leave. Its purpose is to provide the employee benefit from training and job search programs. The redeployment leave is granted for a minimum of four and a maximum of 12 months (up to 24 for months if the employee undertakes training for a career change) and takes place during the notice period, which the employee is not required to perform.
If the redeployment leave period exceeds the notice period's length, employment termination is postponed until the end of the redeployment leave. During that excess period, the employer must continue to pay the employee an amount equal to 65% of the average monthly gross remuneration that the employee received over the preceding 12 months.
All employers with at least 11 employees must put a work council in place, known as Comité Social et Economique (CSE). Employees are elected for a 4-year term of office and benefit from additional termination protection. The size and attributes of the CSE depend on the number of employees in the company.
Depending on the company's size and the nature of the envisaged project, companies must inform and consult the CSE before making any decisions that impact the business's running and working conditions and provide period information about the business to the council. The CSE is entitled to be part of the board and shareholders' meeting. For companies with more than 1,000 employees, the CSE representatives on the board gain voting rights.
The health care system in France is primarily financed by the government national health insurance, and its health care system is considered one of the best in the world. The government tends to refund patients 70% of health care costs, which goes up to 100% in case of costly or long-term ailments.
All French residents pay health insurance the premiums for which are automatically deducted from their salaries.
Employers must provide private health insurance (mutuelle) to all employees, which complements the healthcare reimbursements of French Social Security. The amounts are determined by the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA) branch.
Under the SYNTEC CBA, which applies to consulting & technology companies, for example, the employer is responsible for 50% (or €23.50) of €47 per month base coverage, while the employee pays the rest.
The cost covers dependent children but does not include coverage for an unemployed spouse or partner.
Employees can add higher levels of cover and/or cover for spouse/partner at the cost of up to €77 per month, which is deducted from their net pay (the additional cost is the employee's sole responsibility).
Employees can refuse the cover in one of three cases:
Apart from the government old-age insurance that both the employer and the employees contribute to, companies must also provide a supplementary pension. The appropriate pension fund is determined by a business identifier code (APE) provided by the business startup centre (CFE). If no pension fund is allocated based on the APE, the one assigned will depend on the business location declared at company formation.
Provident insurance (prévoyance) is widespread life insurance in France, which covers people for accidents that may result in injury or death. Companies are required to extend provident insurance to all managers. If a manager passes away and the company hadn't provided the insurance, they have to pay out the family three times the annual Social Security ceiling.
Depending on the industry and the applicable CBA branch, implementing the Provident insurance for all employee categories may be mandatory.
The employer's contribution to the cost of public transportation is mandatory. The employer must cover 50% of the employee's public transport expenses for the commute to work.
Employers need to make contributions based on the total assessed cost of employee insurance. That is calculated through the evaluated degree of risk for the activity, which increases as a company reports more work-related injuries.
Depending on the industry and the applicable collective bargaining agreement, the French Labour Code requires a profit-sharing plan when employing more than 50 people.
Employers are required to provide employees with regular medical examinations through the company's local occupational health centre (centre de médecine du travail). This aims to ensure they are fit for work, suggest any job adaptions required, and educate employees on their rights and prevent any risks.
When hiring new employees, companies must ensure that all new hires go through an information and prevention visit (VIP) within the first three months of employment. Only exceptions are made if the following conditions are met:
Employees exposed to high risk in specific industries, pregnant employees and those returning from a long illness (30 days or more) must undergo a more extensive medical examination.
Employees must go through regular medical checks every five years, which is decreased to three years for workers exposed to high risk at work or as stipulated by the occupational doctor. The timeframe also considers age, state of health, working conditions of the employee and any risks they are exposed to.
The medical examination must be scheduled during the employee's working hours, and the visit is accounted for and paid for as regular work. Moreover, the employer takes care of the transportation time and the costs accrued from the visit and examinations. Employees may request a visit to the occupational doctor whenever they see fit without disclosing the reason behind the request. In contrast, employers can request it when there's a workstation change and deem the visit necessary.
In cases where the National Inter-Professional Agreement (ANI) applies, companies must continue to provide benefits to employees after their employment ends through reserves or insurance.
Termination indemnities are paid as a fraction of employee salary, based on the length of service (with at least eight months stature). Other benefits might apply depending on the type of agreement in force and applicable CBA.
The payable indemnity is divided the following way:
Companies must keep covering employees for up to 12 months after the employment ends for health, life and health and disability insurance unless the employee opts out of the benefits.
Most tech startups offer some form of work from home flexibility. That could be in the form of a hybrid model that involves a couple of days of work from the office, an option to work from the office as desired, or a more strict office presence only for the start of employment. Fully remote organisations are also on the rise.
Most tech companies offer employees professional development and learning opportunities, from covering attendance at top tech conferences and seminars to hackathons and mentorship programs with or without certification.
Most tech companies offer employees private health insurance that also covers dependents. Adding dental and vision to those is less common.
Many tech startups offer incentives in the form of BSPCE scheme stock options to employees.
Providing subsidised meal tickets or free meals to employees in one way or another is a widespread benefit in the tech industry.
Some companies provide employees with daily breakfast, coffee and snacks, while others take it a bit further by providing daily lunch and weekly drinks.
Lunch vouchers, also called ticket restaurant, are very common in France. These vouchers allow employees to pay for meals with the employer’s partial contribution, valid within the year. Employers are free to decide how much they’d like to contribute to funding the voucher, capped at 60%. The part paid by the employer is exempt from social security contributions, capped at €5.55 per voucher (any amount beyond that is subject to social contributions).
Some tech companies pay for employee’s relocation costs when taking the job offer.
Most tech companies try to offer unique perks to employees to attract and retain talent. Some unique wellness benefits offered include free language lessons, Coursera access, video game credit, massages and an employee assistance programme.
More and more tech companies are implementing flexible working hours for a better work-life balance of employees.
Some tech companies subsidise or reimburse employees for their gym memberships.
Some companies reimburse employees for public transportation costs to commute to work daily. Commonly, employers reimburse 100% for a second-class transportation card.
Although not mandatory, some employment agreements or collective agreements may include “bonus plans”, such as 13th-month pay, year-end or performance-based bonuses. For employees who work at companies with more than 50 employees, the French Labour Code requires negotiating a profit-sharing plan as part of the collective bargaining agreement.
Some tech companies give employees the choice of Mac or Windows hardware when joining the company.
Some tech companies offer foreign employees a visa sponsorship.
France has a very generous statutory holiday and Reduction du temps de travail (RTT) allowance. However, some tech companies top that with up to 10 more days off or unlimited time off.
Some companies offer additional child care and parental leave to employees who have children - ranging from a few extra paid days off to an entire month.
Although not very common, a few companies provide employees with additional retirement benefits. Contributions do not trigger income and social security taxes.
The French social security system is complex and includes a wide range of employee benefit schemes that include basic social security coverage, unemployment benefits, compulsory complementary retirement plans, complementary death and disability coverage, and complementary health coverage.
Employers and employees share contributions to the social security system. The employer's contributions depend on the business type, size and location, but on average, they are 40% of the employee's gross salary. The employer withholds the employer's and employee's share of French social security charges.
The monthly social security ceiling value in 2020 is €3,428 and the daily value is €189, for a total annual ceiling at €41,136. The unemployment and health contributions are gradually being eliminated, while the CSG contributions are being increased to compensate for their elimination.
|BENEFIT||% OF EMPLOYEE'S GROSS SALARY|
|Health, maternity, invalidity, death insurance*||13%|
|Old age insurance**||8.55%|
|Family allowances||3.45% or 5.25%|
|Autonomy Solidarity Contribution (CSA)||0.3%|
|AGS (Wage Guarentee Insurance)**||0.15%|
|Social dialogue contribution||0.016%|
|Fnal||0.5% if more than 50 employees; 0.1% if less|
Rate of 7% for employees whose remuneration does not exceed 2.5 times the amount of the minimum wage calculated over one year.
** Ceiling of €3,428.
*** Celling of €13,712.
On top of the social security contribution “health, maternity, invalidity, death insurance”, employers must make additional contribution to a private health insurance (mutuelle) for all employees. The cost of the insurance varies depending on the benefits and the insurance provider. The Company is required to pay for at least half of the cost.
Besides the government-mandated old-age insurance that both employers and employees contribute to, companies must also provide employees with a supplementary pension. Contributions are 1.9% of gross salary for pension insurance without a monthly ceiling.
Provident insurance (prévoyance) is a widespread life insurance in France, which covers people for accidents that may result in injury or death. Companies are required to extend provident insurance to all managers. If a manager passes away and the company hadn't provided the insurance, they have to pay out the family three times the annual Social Security ceiling.
Depending on the industry and the applicable CBA branch, implementing the Provident insurance for all employee categories may be mandatory.
The rate varies according to industry, risk and company size. Employers need to make contributions based on the total assessed cost of employee insurance, which considers the evaluated degree of risk. The French Pension and Occupational Health Insurance Fund notifies employers of their rates annually, which averages at 2.22% for office-based workers and 1.90% for employees working from home.
The following remunerations do not require a social package tax contribution from employers:
Companies in certain industries must pay an additional tax of 0.68% and contribute 0.55% (if employing less than 11 people) or 1% (if employing 11+) to the training tax.
This tax is applicable for companies with 11 or more employees based in the Île-de-France region (Paris and its surroundings) or within the scope of a transport organising authority (AOT) where mobility payments are subject to a contribution. This contribution finances public transport and is capped at 2.95% in Paris. The collection of this contribution depends on company size and location.
All private companies who employ workers must declare the number of disabled workers within the company. The workforce of companies with 20+ employees should be comprised of at least 6% employees with disabilities. There is a broad definition of a disability which covers any degradation of at least one physical, sensory, mental or psychic function that diminishes the possibility of obtaining or keeping a job. A company not fulfilling this employment obligation must pay a financial contribution to Agefiph equal to €4,060 per missing employee. Calculator to simulate the contribution.
Companies that do not respect the declaration deadline risk penalties of up to €15,225, increased by 25% per missing employee.
French residents pay tax on their worldwide income, while non-residents do so only on their income earned in France. To be considered a French resident, an individual's home must be in France; their principal place of abode must be France; they should carry on the professional activity in France, or France must be the centre of economic interests.
Personal income tax is assessed using the household's total income – it is not calculated per individual. The calculation is adjusted to personal circumstances through an income splitting system and by applying tax credits for some personal expenses. Income splitting allows for dependents to be taken into account. It also allows for cushioning progressive taxation effects by applying the progressive rate to only the taxable income part.
Income that is subject to income tax:
Employers withhold income tax directly from the employees' salary after most social security contributions have been deducted. It's then sent to the French tax administration ("Direction Générale des Finances Publiques").
|GROSS INCOME||PROGRESSIVE TAX RATE (%)|
|Up to €10,084||0|
|€10,084 - €25,710||11|
|€25,710 - €73,516||30|
|€73,516 - €158,122||41|
|More than €158,122||45|
Married individuals file a joint tax return, with no option to file separately after the year of marriage or before the year of divorce.
An additional 3% contribution applies to income that exceeds €250,000 (single) and €500,000 for married couples, and 4% for income exceeding €500,000 (single) and €1,000,000 for married couples.
An allowance equal to 10% of the taxable employment income and capped at €12,652 per year is available to employees to cover professional expenses. An employee may elect to deduct the actual professional expenses incurred instead of the 10% standard deduction. In this case, all expenses that the employer reimburses must be added back to the taxable salary.
Qualifying professional expenses include certain commuting expenses, meals taken while away from home, and professional documentation. Professional advice should be sought before choosing any option to deduct actual costs since various conditions must be met to ensure deductibility.
In contrast to most European countries, where the social security system is financed through general taxation, the system in France is funded through social security contributions, which are divided between employers and employees. Every employee contributes to old age insurance, pension and what are known as contributions sociales that include Contribution Sociale Généralisée (CSG) and Contribution au Remboursement de la Dette Sociale (CRDS). These charges are technically not a social security contribution, as they do not generate an entitlement to social security benefits, although CSG goes towards funding health care in France. Employers hold and send to the authorities the employee’s contribution when doing payroll.
|BENEFIT||% OF EMPLOYEE'S GROSS SALARY|
|Generalized social contribution (CSG)||9.2%|
|Old age insurance*||6.9%|
|Contribution for the reimbursement of social debt (CRDS)||0.5%|
*Ceiling of €3,428.
Employees in non-managerial positions must contribute a minimum of 3.1% and a maximum of 8.1% of their gross income to supplement their pension. Employees in managerial positions contribute between 3.1% and 7.8%.
Established in 2019, CEG (Contribution d’Equilibre Général) is part of the balanced contributions to the supplementary pension scheme. The contribution is 1.29% up to the ceiling, 1.62% between one and eight times the ceiling for managers and non-managers. In the table above, CEG is combined with the rates for supplemental pension.
The market value of benefits in kind is added to the total taxable income except the following: