France Employer of Record
If a lack of speed or local expertise are among your top concerns when expanding to or employing workers in France, an employer of record may be the best option for achieving your global growth objectives.
An employer of record, sometimes known as an international PEO, enables you to quickly hire and onboard workers in France―often in as little as two weeks―without having to take on the cost and risk of establishing a local entity.
Learn about the hiring, employment, payroll and benefits requirements for workers in France and how our employer of record service, Global Employment Outsourcing (GEO), and local HR experts can help you manage your international employment needs.
Hiring in France
French labor laws are complex and largely favor the employee over the employer. The French Labor Code, Code du Travail, regulates the length of the workweek, payment for overtime, 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.
Because of the complexity of employment laws in France, compliant employment contracts are an essential business need. As your employer of record and PEO in France, we can ensure that every contract, for every worker, meets all requirements. We can also provide you with guidance about cultural norms and hiring best practices and keep you up-to-date with employment regulations as they change
Employment contracts in France
As you look to hire new employees, it’s important to remember that employment contracts in France must include work to be performed, compensation to be paid and the legal subordination of the employee to the employer. Contracts must be in French, although foreign employees may request a translation. Additionally, be wary of utilizing a fixed-term contract as these are only allowed under special circumstances, such as replacing an employee on temporary leave.
Here are some common regulations you’ll need to know to create a compliant contract, as well as how an employer of record and PEO can provide support for your unique HR needs.
Although the standard workweek in France is 35 hours, collective bargaining agreements may set a different standard. Employees may not work more than six days per week. Additionally, all hours over 35 per week must be compensated as overtime, employees cannot work more than 44 hours per week when averaged over 12 weeks, and they can never work more than 48 hours in a week. Rules governing the workweek do not apply to senior management positions.
As you consider the appropriate salary to offer your French employees, keep in mind:
- Minimum wage rates are adjusted annually, and the current monthly minimum wage is €1,539.42.
- Collective bargaining agreements often provide more generous compensation than the required minimum.
- Wages must be paid at least monthly, and a payslip must be provided.
- For employees required to work beyond the standard 35-hour workweek, overtime pay is generally 125% of the normal hourly wage for the first eight hours and 150% after that.
As your employer of record in France, we can provide you with resources and insights about employee compensation, so you are better equipped to make a competitive employment offer.
It is customary, though not mandatory, for employees to receive a 13th-month bonus at the end of December. For employees who work at companies with more than 50 employees, the French Labor Code requires a profit-sharing plan negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
The probationary period in France is two months for rank-and-file employees, three months for middle managers and technicians, and four months for executives.
During the probationary period, either the employer or employee may terminate the employment contract at any time without compensation. However, if the employer plans to terminate an employee during the probation, they must provide notice to the employee before termination.
Termination and severance
An employee in France may only be terminated if there is a real and serious cause. Just causes for dismissal include:
- Disobedience, violence or verbal abuse, theft, repeated unauthorized leave, inappropriate behavior in the workplace, sexual harassment, professional inadequacy or failure to achieve objectives
- Elimination or transformation of positions due to financial difficulties, restructuring in order to protect the company’s competitiveness, or closing the business
Dismissal without cause is considered abusive treatment, and the employee can be awarded damages of up to two years’ salary. Collective bargaining agreements often set higher severance compensation.
As your employer of record in France, we can work with you to quickly handle the unforeseen event of an employee termination, providing legal guidance and a personalized process that ensures you stay out of labor court.
Employee benefits and paid leave in France
When negotiating terms of an employment contract with a candidate in France, here are some of the statutory benefits and paid leave requirements to keep in mind, as well as how an employer of record can support your company’s benefits strategy.
Employees in France are required to take maternity leave. Maternity leave guidelines include:
- One child (with up to 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 or more grant 24 prenatal weeks and 22 postnatal weeks.
- Medical complications will grant two additional prenatal weeks and four additional postnatal weeks.
Employees in France are entitled to five weeks of annual leave, which is accrued at the rate of 2.5 days per month, from June 1 to May 31 of the following year. Collective bargaining agreements may grant additional days off.
At least 12 consecutive days of leave must be taken between May 1 and Oct. 31, and in most cases, unused leave may not be rolled over.
Employees in France are only entitled to Labor Day as a paid holiday, and any employee required to work on Labor Day receives an extra day’s worth of pay. Whether other holidays are covered as paid leave is determined by the employer or a collective bargaining agreement.
France observes 11 national holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Easter Monday
- Labor Day
- Victory in Europe Day
- Ascension Day
- Whit Monday
- Bastille Day
- Assumption Day
- All Saints’ Day
- Armistice Day
- Christmas Day
Holidays do not move if they fall on weekends nor is time off granted.
When an employee is absent due to illness, this suspends the work contract and the employer’s obligation to fully compensate the employee. The Social Security Health System in France pays an employee on sick leave a daily benefit, and the employer is legally required only to make up the difference between that benefit and the employee’s normal compensation.
If sick leave lasts longer than 30 days, the employee must undergo a medical examination before returning to work.
Employers and employees pay contributions to the mandatory French health insurance system. French healthcare covers hospitals, physicians and long-term care, as well as prescription drugs. Patients are responsible for coinsurance, copayments and balances for physician charges that exceed covered fees. A large majority of French citizens, 95%, have supplemental insurance to help with out-of-pocket costs.
As your employer of record in France, we may be able to provide optional supplementary health coverage for professionals and their dependents at a more cost-effective rate.
In addition to healthcare benefits, the employer and employee tax contributions fund benefits such as the national pension scheme and unemployment insurance.
Employer social costs will cover a large portion of employee benefits in France, but we can consult with you about supplemental coverage options, such as additional pension contributions or life insurance, if needed.
Employee onboarding with an employer of record in France
We write and validate all local employment contracts, streamlining the onboarding process for you and your French employees—all you have to do is provide relevant information and review and approve the employment agreement.
As your employer of record in France, we will:
- Schedule a welcome call to discuss HR and employment information for France, as well as answer any questions
- Prepare a customized employment contract in English and in French (or other local language)
- Share the employment contract and benefits information with the new employee for signature and review
- Gather tax and banking information from the employee to set up payroll
- Provide a local point of contact to the employee to answer any questions regarding their employment, local HR or payroll
The entire onboarding process for the employee can often be completed in as little as two weeks.
Partner with Safeguard Global as your France employer of record and PEO
With over a decade of service, we are the longest-serving employer of record and PEO provider in the international market. Organizations around the world rely on Global Employment Outsourcing (GEO) to expand and hire in over 179 countries around the world, quickly and compliantly.
We’ve seen just about every global employment circumstance imaginable—and with our extensive knowledge of local law and culture, we know what it takes to get employment right in France. We provide written contracts in the local language, salaries in the local currency and HR support in your employees’ time zone.
Additionally, as a global payroll provider we support payroll administration—including payments, filings and other calculations—in more than 150 countries and can accommodate the payroll outsourcing needs of any size organization.
Whether you’re looking to hire as part of a strategic expansion or to meet specific talent needs, our global solutions advisors can walk you through your international hiring options so you can make the right choice for your organization. Contact us today.
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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