The common type of employment contract is an open-ended contract. It does not have to be in writing.
Undefined Agreement: Employees can have 1 or 2 month’s probation period, and this can be extended once, so effectively 2 or 4 month. Executives can have a 3 month probation period with an additional 3 month extension. Defined Agreement: the probation period for employees is minimum 1month calculated at 1 day per week agreed (so if fixed agreement is 40 weeks, the probation period is 40 days).


Salaries are paid on monthly basis for work between the first to last day of the month. Paydays are at the end of each month.

HR & Labor

Working Hours: Full time employee works 35 hours per week. Working day can be 10 hour maximum. Total hours an employee can work per week is 48 hours. Overtime is paid 125% of regular wages for the first 8 hours and 150% for every hour worked after the first 8 hours. There are 13th and 14th month salaries paid as bonuses during the year.
Minimum age: Official minimum age is 16. However, some type of employment is available for employees under 16, there are strict rules that apply.


If the employee is a non-EEA national, the must obtain work permit through a French employer first. For EEA nationals, they do not require a work permit.


Some companies cover transportation costs, give lunch vouchers if there are no cafeterias available at the office and health insurance.

2018 Updates

Limitations have been removed from fixed term contracts. Previously, fixed term contracts could only be for a period of 18 months with up to two renewals.

The social security ceiling has been raised to 39,732 EUR annually (from 29,228 EUR), and 3,311 EUR monthly (from 3,269 EUR).

Minimum wage has been raised from 9.76 EUR hourly to 9.88 EUR hourly.

For the beginning of 2018, employee unemployment contributions are lowered to 0.95%, and in October will be removed all together. Additionally, employee health insurance contributions are removed in 2018.

This lowers the overall employee social security contribution rate by 3.15%.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage is 9.88 EUR hourly.

Public Holidays

August 15: Assumption Day
November 01: All Saints Day
November 11: Armistice Day
December 24: Christmas Eve
December 25: Christmas Day
December 26: St Stephens Day (regional holiday)
December 31: New Years Eve

January 01: New Years Day
March 30: Good Friday
April 01: Easter
April 02: Easter Monday
May 01: Labor Day/May Day
May 08: V-E Day
May 10: Ascension Day
May 20: Whit Sunday
May 21: Whit Monday
July 14: Bastille Day
August 15: Assumption of Mary
November 01: All Saints Day
November 11: Armistice Day
December 24: Christmas Eve
December 25: Christmas Day
December 26: St Stephens Day
December 31: New Years Eve

Pension Fund

Employers contribute 8.5% of regular wages.

Employees contribute 6.90% of regular wages with salary ceiling of 3,218 EUR per month.

Severance Payments

If the employee is dismissed for non economic reasons and has been working in the company for 2 years but less than 10 years, they will receive 1/10 of regular monthly salary for each year of employment. If its over 10 years, they will receive 1/5 of regular monthly salary. If the employee was dismissed due to economic reasons, and has been working at least 2 years but less than 10 years, then they will receive 2/10 of the regular monthly salary for each year they worked in the company. And for over 10 years of employment, they will receive 2/5 of regular monthly salary for each year they worked in the company.

Advance Notice

To end an open ended contract, employee must give an advance notice to the employer. The length of the notice is decided between the parties.

Termination Procedure

During probation period the termination period is 1-2 days. No reason needs to be stated by employer.

Defined Agreement: effectively no termination (if you do terminate, you end up in labor court and you very most likely will lose).

Undefined Agreement: same as probation period 1-2 months for employee and 3 months for executive. However, a reason must be given, and it better be a very good one, else the employee likely will take you to the labor court. If justifiable cause can be proven, then for employee 1-2 months and executive 3 months.

10% Bonus on Defined agreement: This is always payable on the actual gross salary paid out during the employment. So, if terminated early, employer still needs to pay all wages and the 10% bonus over all wages. If agreement expired as agreed, the employer pays the bonus of 10% over total gross wages paid. If employee is fired in probation period, the employer pays 10% over the actual gross wages.

Sick Days

There is no official number of sick days that an employee is granted. However a doctor’s note must be sent in 48 hours after the employee becomes sick to the employer and French Health Insurance Fund. The period of paid sick leave is decided depending on the years of employment in the company and how many days the employee will be absent.

Vacation Days

Employees who worked a full year receive five weeks of paid holidays. Less than a year, they get 2.5 working days off for each month they work.

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is provided depending on the number of children.
* Single birth, bringing mothers number of children to one or two: 16 weeks (6 before birth, and 10 after)
* Single birth, bringing mothers number of children to three or more: 26 weeks (8 before birth, 18 after)
* Birth of twins: 34 weeks (12 weeks before, 22 weeks after)
* Birth of triplets or more: 46 weeks (24 weeks before, 22 weeks after)

*** If the mother suffers an illness during pregnancy, she is entitled to two additional weeks before birth, and four additional weeks after birth.

Paternity Leave

Male employees are entitled to three days leave on the birth or adoption of a child. They are also entitled to 11 consecutive days paternity leave (18 if there are multiple births or adoptions), which must be taken within the four months following birth or adoption.

Parental Leave

Employees who have worked for at least one year before the date of their child's birth, or before welcoming a child no older than 16 years to their home with a view to adoption, can take parental leave or work part-time. This right lasts until the child's third birthday, unless the child was aged between three and 16 on arrival, in which case the adoptive parent can take one year's parental leave from the date of arrival.

If employees take parental leave, their employment contract is suspended and the employer does not have to pay compensation. However, the employees can receive certain indemnities from the social security system.

Parents can also benefit from additional leave when their child is sick, which usually amounts to between three and five days depending on the child's age and the parent's number of children. However, if the child suffers from a serious illness or disability, or an accident, which requires continuous parental presence or constraining care, the parents can take a specific leave of 310 days over three years.

Additional Employee Withholdings

1. Family Benefits-Employer contributes 3.45%
2. Health/Sickness- Employer contributes 13.14%
3. Social Charges- Employer contributes 0%
4. Accident at Work- Employer contributes 3%
5. Unemployment - Employer contributes 4.0% with monthly salary ceiling of 12,872 EUR
6. Complementary Pension- Employer contributes 12.15%

1. Family Benefits- Employee contributes 0%
2. Health/Sickness- Employee contributes 0.75%
3. Social Charges - Employee contributes 7.50%
4. Accident at Work- Employee contributes 0%
5. Unemployment - Employee contributes 2.40%
6. Complementary Pension- Employee contributes 8.10%


VAT is 20% standard rate.