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Employment Conditions in France

Terms & Conditions of Employment in France

Probation period

Trial periods vary according to the role and the collective agreement, as follows:

  • For employees and workers: 2 months
  • For supervisors and technicians: 3 months
  • For executives: 4 months

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).

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Non-compete & exclusivity

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.

Time tracking

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.

Business transfer

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.

Intellectual property


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.

Restrictive covenant

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:

  • Devote all of their attention to the company's business
  • Not take part in any other professional activity, whether compensated or not (except for part-time employees)

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:

  • Be essential in protecting the company's legitimate interests
  • Apply over a specific period (two years is the limit generally upheld by the courts) and to a defined geographic area
  • Considering whether the employee's position is specialised (that is, the clause must not prevent employees from continuing to work in their professional field)
  • Impose a duty on the employer to pay the employee financial compensation (this is usually at least 30% of the employee's former salary throughout the period during which the clause applies).

Non-compete clauses that do not meet all four conditions are invalid. Collective bargaining agreements can also provide for non-compete clauses.

Activity reports (compte rendu d’activité)

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.

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