Expand your business into France, with or without a French entity
France is a world economic power, with a varied economy, a well-educated population, and strong ties with Europe as well as the wider world, making it a great place to expand any business. However, France’s unique set of employment laws, the language barrier, and its complex administrative procedures also make expansion there a potentially long and confusing process.
New Horizons provides a full suite of targeted outsourcing solutions to assist organizations of all kinds with their expansion into France. We offer comprehensive professional employer organization (France PEO), employer of record, and payroll services to help you expand faster and more successfully into France, without the hassle. In addition, our dedicated in-house recruitment branch can also help you to source, hire, and onboard new workers locally, even if you don’t have an entity in France.
Our services give you everything you need to start operating in the French market, potentially saving you thousands of Euros in expansion costs and getting you up and running faster.
Our France PEO simplifies your expansion
New Horizons enables your business to expand its operations into France, without setting up a legal subsidiary.
Employment & Labour Laws in France
Employment contracts in France
France requires all employers to provide a compliant employment contract that states the employee’s compensation, benefits, and termination requirements.
France has particularly strong and motivated trade unions, which means employers regularly need to negotiate with them and may have to enter collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with multiple unions. These factors add to the complexity of French business expansion, so it’s critical that you understand the procedures.
A formal and written contract of employment is required in France. Any contracts should include all the relevant details of employment, such as salary/wage, benefits, terms of termination and severance, and so on.
Contracts should also be provided in the French language, using the local Euro currency.
By partnering with our France PEO & Employer of Record, New Horizons’ team of local experts can provide assistance for drafting strong employment contracts that are compliant with local regulations.
Working hours in France
French workers cannot work over 44 hours per week (averaged over 12 weeks), and the normal working week is around 35 hours. In one day, workers cannot work for more than 10 hours, and in one week they cannot work for more than 48 hours.
Overtime is variable, with the first eight hours (hours 36-44 in a working week) being paid at 125% of normal rate, and any further hours paid at 150%.
Rest days (known as RTT days) can be accrued when overtime is worked, acting as extra paid vacation days.
These limits can vary, but depend on specific CBAs.
Public holidays in France
Several national public holidays are followed throughout France. Only Labor Day is mandatory, but almost most employees receive several other days as holidays:
New Year’s Day
All Saints’ Day
St. Stephen’s Day
France vacation leave
Every employee in France is legally entitled to paid leave from employment, and the mandatory minimum is five weeks. In some cases, specific CBAs can result in some employees receiving more than this, for example when employees need to work for more than the usual maximum of 35 hours per week.
Unused vacation days are paid out as a benefit if an employee’s contract is terminated.
ommend being clear with the employee during the employment contract phase so the employee is aware of the bonus stipulations regarding their annual salary and bonus structure.
France sick leave
Paid sick leave is not commonly used in France, due to the country’s generous vacation allowance and RTT day accrual.
However, employees do have legal protections relating to sick leave. In case of absence through sickness, an employee must provide a medical note as proof within 48 hours. Under most circumstances, an employee on sick leave can’t be terminated.
The precise amount of sick pay provided to employees is dependent on individual CBAs.
Maternity and paternity leave in France
In France, workers who have been employed for more than one year can take parental leave. One parent can choose to take up to two years, and the other parent can take up to one year, both of which must be completed by the time the child is three years old, and the leave may still include part-time work in some cases.
Parental leave must be renewed each year, and workers must apply for it at least one month in advance, but employers are legally obliged to accept. Employees cannot be fired throughout their pregnancy, parental leave, or within ten weeks of returning to work.
Compensation from employers during parental leave (if any) is determined by specific CBAs, and employees receive a state-funded benefit as standard.
There are further differences to the parental leave laws for different situations, such as the birth of twins or triplets, so you should always ensure you fully understand the law.
Employee severance and terminations in France
Probationary periods for new employees are important in France, as severance pay is usually significantly lower if you need to terminate an employee during this time.
For terminations within the probation period, notice of between one day and one month must be provided, depending on how long an employee has been with the organization. For terminations after probation, notice of between one and three months is required. The length of this notice period is determined by length of employment and CBAs (which may even extend the period beyond three months).
Severance pay is usually necessary for terminations after one year of employment, and the statutory rate is 20% of monthly pay for each of the first ten years of employment, then one-third of monthly pay for every following year.
Terminations and severance in France can be very complex and depend on many different factors. If the procedure becomes too difficult to navigate, it’s common to advise legal counsel and agree on a severance payment out of court with the employee.
At New Horizons, our experts on French employment can take care of everything for you, helping you to stay compliant and keep negotiations as straightforward as possible.
Navigating employee terminations and handling severance packages can be complicated for companies expanding overseas for the first time. New Horizons’ France PEO can mitigate risk for foreign companies and provide guidance through this process.
Taxation in France
France has a progressive tax system, where employees pay more tax at higher levels of earnings. The rates are between 0% and 45%, and vary depending on whether several factors such as whether they are individuals or part of a married couple, and how many children they have.
There is also a surcharge tax of 3% on earnings over 250,000 EUR, and 4% on earnings over 500,000 EUR, and this is also affected by marriage status and number of children.
There are also various social security contributions that cover all kinds of state benefits, such as healthcare, pensions, unemployment benefits, and more. Employers generally need to contribute around 45% of salaries to these causes, and employee contributions total around 22%.
Health coverage in France
French healthcare is state-run, and employees must pay toward a health insurance program. These contributions are automatically deducted from their pay. Healthcare costs are reimbursed either partially or in full, depending on the type of care.
Additionally, there is now a requirement for employers to contribute to a private insurance fund to combine with the state healthcare reimbursements. The contribution is decided by CBA.
France compensations & benefits
Compensation Laws in France
The minimum wage in France is 1539.42 EUR per month as of 2020. This rate can be higher, or additional benefits could be included, if stated in a CBA.
Benefit management in France
Establishing a French benefits system for employees can be a long and difficult process. With a different language and complicated employment laws, ensuring a robust and compliant system can take a lot of time and cost your organization a great deal of money.
At New Horizons, we specialize in running the setup and management of France Employer of Record & PEO employee benefits systems so you don’t have to. We’ll take care of everything, using our knowledge and experience to ensure you are compliant and ready to hire in France.