Employer of
Record & Payroll

France Employer of Record & Payroll

COVID-19 status update

As the situation in France continues to develop, Safeguard Global will be providing in-country intellect to our clients regarding legislative changes affecting employees and impacting businesses, as well as government recommendations on how to keep employees safe and healthy. You can access that information in our COVID-19 Resource Center.

As of today, we have not identified any disruption that will impact our ability to provide the service our clients expect.

France employer of record and payroll

If expanding to and employing workers in France is on your radar, it’s important to consider how labor laws and cultural norms affect your growth and workforce strategy.

Here you can learn about the payroll, benefits, tax and compliance requirements for your workers in France. Safeguard Global provides employer of record, sometimes known as a global PEO, and payroll services to emerging and established multinationals in France. If you have additional questions, please reach out―our team is here to assist you.

Hiring in France

The French Office of Immigration and Integration requires applicants for long-stay visas (including students, spouses of French nationals and employees) pay residency fees when they submit their applications.

European nationals: Citizens of European Union member states, with the exceptions of Bulgaria and Romania, do not require a visa or work permit to enter France. Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino also do not require a work permit or visa to work in France. 

A Schengen visa allows short-term visitors the ability to move freely among the Schengen Agreement states, including: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Non-European nationals: All other nationalities are required to possess a work permit, unless otherwise noted in a treaty with France. Several countries have secured bilateral agreements with France on migration and occupational mobility issues.

Other skilled workers: Visas for non-EU skilled workers are divided into four categories:

  • Skills and Talent Visa: This three-year status is for candidates whose skills are uniquely suited to a project’s success. This status requires a fee paid by the employee. Spouses joining the employee also are required to pay a fee. The employer is not required to pay a fee.
  • Employee-on-Assignment Visa: This status is designed for nationals of non-EU countries working for non-French companies who have been seconded to France for at least three months, retain a salary of at least 1.5 times the minimum wage, and bring a set of skills necessary to the success of the project abroad. Employers and employees are both responsible for paying fees on this permit based on the length of stay and the level of pay.
  • Scientific-Research Visa: This status applies to people with higher education attempting to conduct all or part of their research in France. Employers and employees are both responsible for paying fees on this permit based on the length of stay and the level of pay. If an employee works in the public sector, then the employer is not required to pay this fee.
  • Artistic and Cultural Profession Visa: An employer must demonstrate an unsuccessful candidate search among French workers. The employee must have signed a work agreement for at least three months with the employer. Employers and employees are both responsible for paying fees on this permit based on the length of stay and the level of pay.

EU Blue Card: The Blue Card is a work permit intended to permit highly educated non-EU citizens to work and live in the EU. The card is intended to be equivalent to the U.S. Green Card and encourages long-term residency in an EU country. 

Workers must meet three criteria:

  • Diploma representing at least three years of higher education issued by a higher education institution recognized by the country in which it is located, or five years of professional experience comparable level
  • Employment contract for one year or long covered by the Foreign Workforce Department
  • Monthly salary of at least 1.5 times the average gross fixed reference year as established by the Minister of Immigration

In return, the recipient is granted a one-track permit process valid for two years and additional rights tailored to family reunification.

Labor and employment laws in France
Labor laws in France are complex and largely favor the employee over the employer. The French Labor Code regulates the length of the workweek, payment for overtime, entitlement to vacation and personal leave, and termination of employment.

Unions are less popular in France compared with the rest of Europe, but French labor law provides an extensive institutional role for organized labor. In addition to the Labor Code, judicial precedent is important in French labor law.

Restrictions on hiring in France
Employers in France may not hire employees younger than 16. 

Any company with more than 20 employees is required to hire people with disabilities for at least 6% of its workforce.

Employers wishing to hire a foreign worker must first prove they have tried, without success, to recruit a French candidate.

Nondiscrimination in France
Under the Labor Code, employers may not discriminate against employees or employment candidates on the basis of origin, sex, lifestyle, sexual orientation, age, family situation or pregnancy, genetic characteristics, ethnicity, nationality or race, political beliefs, trade union activities, religious beliefs, physical appearance, surname, state of health or disability.

The ban on discrimination extends throughout a person’s working life and covers recruitment, sanctions, termination, compensation (including profit-sharing and stock options), training, redeployment within a company, posting, qualifications, job classification, promotion, transfer from one workplace to another and renewal of contract.

In addition to damages awarded an employee subject to discrimination, an employer may face criminal sanctions that include a maximum fine of 45,000 euros and up to three years in prison.

French unions and collective bargaining
The French Labor Code gives employees the right to organize in unions, and the constitution gives them the right to strike.

Work councils: Although French employees are not widely unionized, personnel delegates and union representatives have significant powers within French companies. Employers are required to consult these works councils on all major corporate decisions but are not required to accept their recommendations.

Companies with 11 or more employees must have personnel delegates who are elected by co-workers for four-year terms, and management is required to meet with delegates at least monthly. Personnel delegates’ duties include:

  • Presenting claims and grievances about working conditions to company management
  • Informing government labor inspectors of any complaints under the labor law
  • Consulting with management on revisions of rules governing the workweek

Employers with 50 or more employees must have a joint works council with both management and employees. Employee representatives are elected for four-year terms and must be consulted on all major corporate decisions; however, they have no veto power. The works council must also be provided with the same information made available to shareholders. 

Companies with 50 or more employees must also establish employee-staffed health and safety committees.

Employee representatives must be provided with office space and paid representation hours, usually 20 hours per month, and have special protections against discrimination.

Dispute resolution: Discipline must be imposed within two months of the employer learning of the infraction, and employee disciplinary sanctions, such as warning, temporary suspension, transfer, demotion or dismissal, must be specified in the employer’s regulations.

Fines and financial sanctions, as well as sanctions based on discrimination, are illegal.

Employers who don’t comply with French labor laws and regulations face both civil and criminal repercussions. Individual disputes between an employer and the employee are heard by the Labor Tribunal. Collective disputes are heard by the Tribunal of First Instance. However, before going to court, the parties may seek to resolve their dispute through conciliation, mediation or arbitration.

Strikes and lockouts: The right to strike is established by the French constitution, which mandates that employees can go on strike only within the framework set by the country’s labor laws. When on strike employees are legally required to stop working. 

While a strike is ongoing, the employment contract is suspended and the employees on strike are protected against any disciplinary sanction, including dismissal. This protection does not apply when the strike is unlawful.

Slowdowns and lockouts are deemed unlawful by the French Supreme Court.  

Successorship clauses: Under the French Labor Code, when a change occurs in the legal structure of an employer (through sale, merger, acquisition, transformation or incorporation) all existing employment agreements remain effective and are transferred to the new employer. The transfer of the organization itself cannot be reason to terminate employment contracts. However, the new employer may amend or terminate these contracts if an economic and financial situation requires.

Privacy in France
In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) superseded the Data Protection Directive as the primary law governing data privacy in the EU. The GDPR establishes minimum requirements for processing and retaining employee data and allows EU member nations to introduce more restrictive local legislation. Stricter requirements can also be established in collective bargaining agreements or work contracts.

Companies that retain employe data for longer than necessary are subject to:

  • Five-year prison term and a fine of up to 300,000 euros levied against the legal representative of the company
  • Fine up to 1.5 million euros for the company

Employers may not require background checks of job applicants unless it is linked to the open position and aimed at assessing the applicant’s professional skills.

Criminal record checks are permitted for specific positions, such as security staff, people working with vulnerable individuals, or regulated roles in the financial sector.

Employee monitoring and surveillance: CCTV cameras are generally justified by the necessity to maintain security or to preserve evidence of any thefts or damage on the premises. Covert surveillance without informing employees is prohibited. Before installing cameras in a workplace, a company must consult the works council and inform it about the purpose of the cameras. The employer must post a notice on the premises where the cameras are placed to inform employees and visitors of the use of CCTV cameras.

Employers may observe employee emails and internet usage to ensure network security and limit risks of abuse. Records relating to an employee’s internet usage must not be retained for more than six months.

Employers may install GPS in company vehicles for limited purposes, including monitoring working time when this cannot be achieved by other means.

Employment contracts in France
French employment contracts may be written or verbal agreements. A written work contract is not mandatory except in certain situations, such as fixed term or part-time employment. However, a written contract can reduce the risk of litigation. Documents pertaining to hiring must be retained for two years.

Written contracts must be written in French, although foreign employees are entitled to ask for the document to be translated into their language. In case of conflict, the foreign version would then prevail.

The employment contract must contain:

  • Work to be performed by the employee
  • Compensation to be paid by the employer
  • Legal subordination of the employee to the employer

Legal subordination distinguishes the employee; for example, directors, agency-obtained temporary workers, volunteers and subcontractors.

Indeterminate-term contracts: This is the standard form of employment contract. There is no time limit and each party may end the contract at any time, provided any agreed upon notice period is respected.

Fixed-term contracts: A short-term contract may only be used for the following reasons: 

  • To replace an employee who is temporarily absent
  • To deal with a temporary increase in business activity
  • Seasonal work
  • In business sectors where fixed term contracts are traditional, such as tourism, entertainment
  • For trainees or apprentices

A fixed-term contract, or an initial contract and the one allowable renewal, can last for 18 months. In some cases, this duration may be reduced to nine months or increased to 24 months.

If the duration of the fixed-term contract cannot be determined (for example, when it is signed for the replacement of a sick employee), it must provide a minimum duration. In this case, there is no maximum duration.

If the fixed-term contract does not comply with mandatory formal or legal conditions, the employee may claim damages or ask for the contract to be changed to indeterminate status.

Temporary workers: French law strictly regulates the hiring of temporary workers. Temporary workers can be hired for up to 36 months and must be given the same rights as permanent employees. Temporary agencies must pay the temporary employee a special indemnity (10% of the gross salary paid during the assignment).

Mobility clause: An employer may transfer employees between workplaces without the employee’s consent, provided that the contract specifies a limited geographical scope and that the transfer is necessary for the company and implemented fairly by the employer.

Effective July 30, 2020, employees posted to France for temporary reassignment of up to 12 months must be given equal pay (i.e., base salary and all benefits) as compared with employees of companies of the same branch of activity established in France. The employer of the seconded (or reassigned) employee must also refund the professional expenses incurred by the employee relating to transportation, meals and accommodation.

Amending the employment contract: An employer may not modify the contract in any essential way, including changing the employee duties, salary, workplace or working hours, without the employee’s consent, even if the modification is more favorable to the employee. The employer may, however, unilaterally change the employee’s working conditions, and an employee’s refusal to accept such modification is grounds for dismissal.

Probation periods in France
During the probationary period, either party may terminate the employment contract at any time without compensation. Unless otherwise provided in a collective agreement or by professional custom, the legal duration of a probationary period is:

  • Two months for rank-and-file employees
  • Three months for middle managers and technicians
  • Four months for executives

The probationary period may be extended if allowed by the employment contract or the collective bargaining agreement. The maximum combined duration of the probationary period and any extensions is:

  • Four months for rank-and-file employees
  • Six months for middle managers and technicians
  • Eight months for executives

If an employer plans to terminate an employee during their probationary period, the employer is required by law to notify the employee between one day and one month (depending on the planned duration of the probation) before termination.

Compensation in France

France has a standard minimum wage, subject to annual adjustment, that applies throughout France, France’s overseas departments and regions, except Mayotte, and the overseas collectivities of St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, and St. Pierre and Miquelon. 

Effective in 2020, France’s standard minimum wage is 10.15 euros per hour or 1,539.42 euros per month. France’s Mayotte has a lower minimum wage than France’s standard minimum wage of 7.66 euros per hour or 1,161.77 euros per month. Employers may establish higher salaries and pay year-end bonuses, and collective bargaining agreements often provide more generous compensation than the statutory minimum.

Compensation for overtime is calculated using percentages (125%-150%) of the normal hourly wages based upon the number of hours that are worked over the standard 35-hour workweek. Higher rates may be stipulated in collective agreements; overtime pay may also be replaced, if agreed to in a collective agreement, by compensatory time off.

Gender pay equality in France
Employers must provide men and women equal pay for equal work. Companies with more than 50 employees must complete an annual equality report that compares the average monthly salary of men and women in each professional category. 

Employers with 50 to 250 employees are required to:

  • Ensure that one of their objectives is to remove any pay gaps between male and female employees
  • Publish data each year identifying any pay gaps and actions that will be taken to remove them
  • Ensure they comply with equal pay provisions that will be set forth by decree

Companies with more than 300 employees must provide additional information, including the number of women who are in the top 10 in salary in the company.

Payroll in France
Payment of salary is required to be once per month, unless the employee’s occupation is classified as seasonal, temporary, intermittent or work-from-home. Employees not receiving a monthly payment must be compensated at least two times per month, and an employer cannot exceed 16 days between payments.

Employers must provide payslips to employees whenever they are paid. They generally must be provided to employees electronically, although employers need to allow employees to have the opportunity to opt out of receiving payslips electronically and instead receive paper payslips. The opportunity to opt out of electronic receipt of pay must be provided to employees on their date of hire, or one month before they receive their first payment.

Employers must keep payslips for five years, and they must include a message encouraging employees to indefinitely keep them.

Bonuses in France
It is customary, though not mandatory, for employees to receive a 13th-month bonus at the end of December.

Profit-sharing: There are various incentive plans in the French Labor Code, including profit-sharing, stock options and free allotment of shares.

Companies with more than 50 employees are required to offer a profit-sharing plan negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement. Unless a minimum seniority condition applies, all employees are plan participants. Rights are allocated based on salary, although ceilings may be set to ensure a larger share is available to lesser paid employees. Employees may choose to invest their funds in company stock or bonds, or in accredited investment funds. Depending on plan design, employee access to funds is blocked for three to five years. Amounts credited to the plan are deductible by employers for tax purposes and generally not subject to social security contributions, while for employees profit-sharing sums are exempt from income tax.

Professional expenses: The employer must reimburse professional expenses if substantiated and within the limits set by the company. The employer may pay additional compensation for food, lodging and transportation, although this additional compensation is only partially exempt from social security contributions.

Public transport: All employers are required to contribute to employee public transport or bicycle costs, provided that the employee uses public transport or public bicycle rentals for their work commutes.

Termination and severance in France

Termination by employer: An employer may terminate an employment contract unilaterally only if there is a real and serious cause. Dismissal without cause is considered abusive treatment and can result in damages for the employee of up to two years’ salary. Any claims arising out of the termination of an employment contract are subject to a one-year statute of limitation. Collective bargaining agreements often set higher severance compensation.

Just cause for dismissal can be personal or economic: 

  • Personal reasons include disobedience, violence or verbal abuse, theft, repeated unauthorized leave, inappropriate behavior in the workplace, sexual/moral harassment, professional inadequacy or failure to achieve objectives.
  • Economic reasons include abolition or transformation of positions due to financial difficulties, restructuring in order to protect the company’s competitiveness, or closing of the business.

Certain employees are accorded “protected” status, making it more difficult for an employer to terminate them. Before terminating these employees, an employer must consult with employee representatives and obtain a dismissal authorization from the local labor inspector. These employees include:

  • Elected employee representatives
  • Appointed union representatives
  • Employee or union representative candidates
  • Former elected representatives
  • Lay judges with the Industrial Tribunal

Under French law, there is a formal termination process, and deviating from the process can make the employer liable for damages to the employee. The procedure for dismissals includes:

  • Inviting the employee to a pre-dismissal meeting by sending the employee a notice by registered letter or hand delivery at least five days before the meeting
  • Conducting a pre-dismissal meeting
  • Sending the employee a registered letter explaining the reasons for the dismissal at least two days (longer if on economic grounds) after the pre-dismissal meeting

Termination by employee: Employees may unilaterally terminate their work contracts without cause if they clearly and expressly provide notice of the resignation and abide by any notice period established by the employer, which is generally one and three months. Voluntary termination of the contract does not entitle the employee to unemployment benefits.

Plant closings and mass layoffs: Dismissals can be considered mass layoffs when two or more employees are at risk of dismissal over the course of 30 days. The procedures that employers must follow will depend on the number of people in the company and the number of employees at risk of dismissal. In general, mass layoffs are allowed if they result from an employer’s economic difficulties, from significant changes in technology, or from the employer’s need to restructure to remain competitive. The definition of “economic difficulties” applies only to the employer’s operations in France.

If an employer has at least 50 employees and seeks to dismiss 10 or more within 30 days, they must draft a plan that limits as much as possible the number of employees to be laid off. The plan must include the employer’s efforts to find alternative positions for employees who will be dismissed and establish criteria for determining which employees will be laid off.

The employer must consult the works council and shop committees to outline the employer’s efforts to find alternative positions for employees, establish criteria for determining which employees will be laid off, and create a timetable for the dismissals. The French labor authorities must also be informed of the proposed layoffs.

If the employer does not establish and follow a plan for a mass layoff or if a court finds the plan insufficient, all layoffs are voided, and dismissed employees must be given their jobs back.

Payment on termination: Employees with eight months of seniority or more for the same employer on an open-ended contract are legally entitled to severance compensation in case of dismissal on economic grounds or for personal reasons. However, employees are not eligible for severance compensation if they are terminated due to misconduct or negligence. Additionally, employees under a fixed-term contract do not benefit from termination pay, but they can receive an allowance for precariousness at the end of the contract period.

Even though regulated, French law only establishes a minimum threshold for severance payments. This payment is calculated based upon a percentage, tied to the years of service, of the gross monthly salary before the termination of the employment contract. Although termination pay is generally subject to income taxes, in specific cases, termination pay can be exempt from income tax.

Working hours in France

Under French law, the standard workweek for non-management positions is 35 hours, although collective bargaining agreements may set a different standard. Non-managerial employees cannot work more than six days per week, with the weekly day of rest, generally Sunday.

Employees must be granted 11 consecutive hours of rest away from work per day, and 35 consecutive hours of rest once per week. 

Overtime in France
The law or applicable collective bargaining agreement sets an annual quota of overtime per employee, usually 220 hours. However, employees may not work more than 44 hours a week on average over the course of 12 weeks, nor are they allowed to work more than 48 hours a week or 10 hours a day.

These rules do not apply to senior management, including executives, officers, sales representatives (VRP), caretakers of individual residential services, servants and caregivers for children.

Day of Solidarity
Employees are required to annually work for seven hours without pay and beyond their normal compensated working time. In return for these seven hours of labor, the employer must make a contribution of 0.3% of employees’ wages to the National Solidarity Fund. The fund provides for services for the elderly and people with disabilities.

According to collective bargaining agreements, the Day of Solidarity is freely negotiated in the form of a day, week or even seven hours across the year, whichever is best for both employee and employer. The one caveat is that it is not May 1 or infringe on days of annual leave. Certain departments and regions of France have other excluded holidays that may not be used as Day of Solidarity. Additionally, the Day of Solidarity does not have to be the same for all employees in a company.

Noncompete agreements in France

Any noncompete clause in French employment contracts must be limited to two years and is only applicable in a French territory. Collective bargaining agreements may also apply restrictions on noncompetition agreements. The company can waive the noncompete clause if allowed by employment contract (or the collective bargaining agreement) and if notification is provided to the employee within one or two weeks of termination. 

The implementation of the noncompete clause must be fair and necessary to protect the company’s interests. Trade secret law in France protects company information that:

  • Is not generally known
  • Has economic value
  • Has been the subject of adequate efforts by the company to keep the information secret

Anyone found to have unlawfully acquired, used or disclosed a trade secret may be held civilly liable. All rights and actions concerning the protection of trade secrets are subject to a five-year statute of limitations.

The contract must specify a payment to the employee in compensation for the temporary loss of employment freedom, usually between 20% and 40% of the employee’s salary at termination, paid during the entire prohibition period. This cannot be reduced because of the reason for termination, such as poor performance or misconduct.

Unemployment insurance: The amount and duration of unemployment benefit payments depend on how long the claimant has contributed to the scheme and their total contributions paid. Employers contribute 4% of covered payroll wages, as well as an additional 0.15% of covered payroll to finance a salary guarantee for employees should the employer become bankrupt.

Benefits in France

Social Security, pension, health insurance plans
The legal retirement age in France is 67 years old. Employers and employees pay contributions to health insurance (including sickness, maternity, disability and death), the national pension scheme and unemployment insurance.

Workers’ compensation
Benefits for accidents at work and occupational diseases are paid by the local Health Insurance Fund. Any accident at work must be reported to the employer within 24 hours. In turn, the employer must report the accident to the Health Insurance Fund within 48 hours. The injured worker is entitled to their full wage for the day of the accident, which is paid by the employer. Thereafter, the worker is paid a daily allowance by the Health Insurance Fund.

Leave in France

French employees are entitled to paid leave once they have worked at least one month during the reference period (which runs from June 1  to May 31). Employees accrue five weeks of annual leave at a rate of 2.08 days per month for a five-day workweek. At least 12 consecutive days of leave must be taken between May 1 and October 31.

An employee is entitled to vacation pay equivalent to 10% of gross compensation earned during the reference period and can in no case be paid less than what would have been earned had the employee worked during that leave period.

Sick leave
The Center for European and International Social Security Liaisons pays an employee on sick leave a daily benefit and the employer is required to make up the difference between that benefit and the employee’s normal compensation. 

Employees with at least one year of service are eligible for the statutory sickness allowance (after a waiting period of seven days of sick leave). An employee’s absence due to illness suspends the work contract and the employer’s obligation to fully compensate the employee. If sick leave lasts longer than 30 days, the employee must undergo a medical examination before returning to work.

Family leave
Any employee may take paid family leave of: 

  • Three days following the birth or adoption of a child
  • Four days for their own wedding
  • One day for their child’s wedding
  • One day for the death of a close relative (father, mother, parents-in-law and siblings)

An employee may take unpaid family leave of: 

  • Three to five days per year for a sick child
  • Six weeks for adoption of a child abroad
  • Three months to take care of a relative with a terminal illness or severe handicap
  • One to three years of parental leave to raise a child under 3 years old
  • One year to set up a business
  • Up to 11 months of sabbatical leave (subject to the employer’s agreement)
  • Six months to take part in a humanitarian association abroad

Collective bargaining agreements may provide more generous benefits.

Maternity and paternity leave
Employees are required to take maternity leave, and employers are required to compensate the leave. Maternity leave guidelines include:

  • One child (with one child preexisting) grants the mother six weeks of prenatal leave, plus 10 weeks of postnatal leave.
  • One child (with two or more children preexisting) grants the mother eight weeks of prenatal leave, plus 18 weeks of postnatal leave.
  • Twins grant the mother 12 prenatal weeks and 22 postnatal weeks; triplets grant 24 prenatal weeks and 22 postnatal weeks. 
  • Medical complications will grant two additional prenatal weeks and four additional postnatal weeks.

Male employees are entitled to paternity leave of 11 days within the four months following a child’s birth.

Adoption leave
On the day of the child’s arrival, a parent is eligible for 10 weeks of leave. If a home has two preexisting children, a parent is eligible for 18 weeks of leave. If two or more children are adopted simultaneously, a parent is eligible for 22 weeks of leave. Additional time between 11 and 18 additional days may be granted for parents who split their leave eligibility between them.

Public holidays
France law only guarantees employees Labor Day (May 1) as a paid holiday. An employee required to work on Labor Day is entitled to an extra day’s worth of pay. Whether other holidays are nonworking days and whether employees receive paid leave for holidays is determined by the employer or a collective bargaining agreement. However, it is customary for employers to provide employees working in France with paid leave for some or all of the national holidays.

 France’s national public holidays are:

  • New Year’s Day, celebrating the start of a new Gregorian Calendar year (January 1)
  • Easter Monday, the Monday immediately after Easter Sunday
  • Labor Day (May 1)
  • Victory in Europe Day (May 8)
  • Ascension (39 days after Easter Sunday)
  • Whit Monday (50 days after Easter Sunday)
  • Bastille Day (July 14)
  • Assumption Day (August 15)
  • All Saints’ Day (November 1)
  • Armistice Day (November 11)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Metropolitan France’s departments of Moselle, Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin have two additional public holidays:

  • Good Friday
  • St. Stephen’s Day (December 26)

Each of France’s overseas departments and regions has an additional public holiday marking the abolition of slavery in each department. The holidays are as follows:

  • April 27 in Mayotte
  • May 22 in Martinique
  • May 27 in Guadeloupe
  • June 10 in French Guiana
  • Dec. 20 in Réunion

Holidays do not move if they fall on weekends.

French taxes

Opening an entity within France

Corporate tax: France has begun a gradual reduction of its corporate tax; currently it is 28% for all profits, and in 2021, it will fall to 26.5%.

Consumption taxes/VAT: All goods and services are subject to a 20% consumption tax in France, although there are several reduced VAT rates for items including unprocessed agricultural products, housing improvement work, passenger transport, food products, gas and electricity supply, press publications and certain medicines.

Territorial economic contributions: This tax is composed of the Cotisation Foncière des Entreprises tax rate, which varies from one municipality to another and is based on the rental value of the business premises occupied by the employer, as well as the Cotisation sur la Valeur Ajoutée des Entreprises (CVAE) tax, which is due by companies with a revenue of more than 500,000 euros. Its maximum tax rate is 1.5% of value added when the revenue exceeds 50 million euros.

Employing within France

Income tax: Residents are taxed on personal income at progressive rates on their worldwide income, and nonresidents are taxed on their French-source income only. Taxable income includes salaries, wages and gross proceeds, including benefits in kind.

France has a multifaceted social insurance system that is financed by both employee and employer contributions based on total wages. French social benefits financed by social insurance taxes encompass the following services:

  • Wages or earnings
  • Holiday pay
  • Amount of employee contributions
  • Benefits
  • Bonuses and allowances
  • All other benefits in cash and in kind, such as food, housing and vehicles, as well as amounts received directly or through a third party as a tip
  • Compensation paid in the event of dismissal or retirement (up to the fraction of these benefits subject to income tax)

In addition, France has two types of social contribution taxes levied on tax-resident individuals unattached to any benefits. 

Payroll tax: Paid by the employer, with a rate ranging from 4.25% to 13.60% of the gross annual amount of remuneration paid. 

Apprenticeship tax: This tax is payable by all employers except those whose workforce includes apprentices. The tax rate is set at 0.68% of the payroll.

The information provided on or through this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Safeguard Global expressly disclaims any liability with respect to warranty or representation concerning the information contained herein, including the lost essence, interpretation, accuracy and/or completeness of the information in transit and language translation.

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