Sure, France is known for its bon vivant lifestyle. But that’s just part of its appeal.
Among France’s diverse epicurean population is a highly educated labor force—one that includes the largest number of science graduates per thousand workers in Europe—making the country an attractive option for companies looking to grow their global presence. For employees, France’s strong labor laws and protections make it an attractive place to work.
If expanding to and employing workers in France is on your radar, it’s important to consider how labor laws and cultural norms can affect your growth and workforce strategy. Here are a few factors to weigh:
- Working hours: For nonmanagerial positions, a 35-hour workweek in France is standard, and employees must be granted 11 consecutive hours of rest away from work per day. Additionally, nonmanagerial employees cannot work more than six days per week, and Sunday work must be authorized either by law (for specific sectors, such as retail, or geographical areas, like tourist zones) or by the Labor Administration.
- Minimum wage: Although the monthly minimum wage in France is currently 1,521.22 euros, collective bargaining agreements provide many workers more generous compensation than the required minimum. The minimum wage rate is adjusted annually.
- Vacation: Employees are entitled to five weeks of annual leave, and collective bargaining agreements may grant additional days off. At least 12 consecutive days of leave must be taken between May 1 and October 31.
- Holidays: France observes 11 public holidays, and collective bargaining agreements largely determine whether the observed holidays are paid—although in most cases, they are. For employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements, only Labor Day (May 1) is a guaranteed paid holiday.
- Equality: Employers are required to provide men and women equal pay for equal work. Companies with more than 50 employees must complete an annual equality report comparing the average monthly salary of men and women in each professional category.
- Lifestyle: In France, regulations don’t just protect employees; they protect the gourmet culture as well. Take the appellation d’origine protégée—it certifies that French wine and cheese, among other products, are made in a specific region and meet a rigorous set of clearly defined standards. So you can count on a high quality of wine or cheese in France when this designation is used. Joie de vivre, indeed.
Whether you’re just beginning to explore growing your workforce in France, or you already have contractors in country and are looking to expand their roles compliantly, we can help you navigate the employment laws and cultural considerations that come into play.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our global solutions experts.