Guide to employment, payroll and benefits in


Rivermate offers complete payroll, benefits and compliance services for


01. Overview

Last updated: 

August 19, 2021

Ease of doing business
GDP growth

02. Grow your team in


with Rivermate

Payroll, benefits, taxes, and compliance can be difficult to manage in


, particularly if you don't have established local relationships. You can hire employees in


effectively, conveniently, and in full compliance with all relevant labor laws using Rivermate's global employment solution. We handle the responsibilities and legal risks associated with foreign employment so you can concentrate on growing your company.

03. Summary

France, officially the French Republic, is a country in Western Europe that consists of metropolitan France as well as a number of overseas regions and territories. From the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, France's metropolitan area stretches. French Guiana in South America, as well as numerous islands in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, are among the overseas territories. In the northeast, France is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany; in the east, Switzerland, Monaco, and Italy; in the south, Andorra and Spain; and in the Americas, the Netherlands, Suriname, and Brazil. The eighteen integral regions of the country cover a total area of 643,801 km2 and have a population of 67.4 million people. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with Paris as its capital and most important cultural and commercial center. Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille, and Nice are among the other major cities. With a total of twelve time zones, France, including its overseas territories, has the most of any country. The Gauls populated what is now metropolitan France during the Iron Age. In 51 BC, Rome annexed the area, resulting in the creation of a distinct Gallo-Roman culture that laid the groundwork for the French language. In 476, the Germanic Franks arrived and founded the Kingdom of Francia, which became the Carolingian Empire's heartland. The empire was partitioned by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, with West Francia becoming the Kingdom of France in 987. France was a highly decentralized feudal monarchy in the High Middle Ages, with the king's authority hardly felt. King Philip Augustus was a remarkable success in consolidating royal authority and expanding his empire, more than doubling its size and crushing his opponents. By the end of his reign, France had risen to become Europe's most dominant country. The Hundred Years' War saw French monarchs engaged in a series of dynastic wars with their English counterparts in the mid-14th century, from which they eventually emerged victorious. During the Renaissance, there were conflicts with Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. Meanwhile, French culture flourished, and a global colonial empire was created, which would become the world's second largest by the twentieth century. Religious civil wars between Catholics and Protestants dominated the second half of the 16th century, severely weakening the nation. Following the Thirty Years' War, France re-emerged as Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military force in the 17th century under Louis XIV. Despite the country's riches, the kingdom was left in a precarious economic condition by the end of the 18th century due to an insufficient financial model and inequitable taxation structure, as well as endless and expensive wars. The Seven Years' War and the American War of Independence were particularly expensive.

04. Public holidays

05. Types of leave

Paid time off

Employees are entitled to 5 weeks of paid leave after the first month of probation.

Public holidays

France recognizes eleven public holidays.

Sick days

An employee must have worked at least 150 hours in the previous three months or 90 days prior to the leaving, or have contributed based on wages of at least 1,015 times the legal hourly minimum wage in the previous six months.After a three-day waiting period, the insured receives a premium of 50% of his or her regular earnings.

Maternity leave

The number of births determines the duration of maternity leave:A single birth reduces a mother's infant count to one or two: 16-week duration (6 before birth, and 10 after)Birth of a single infant, taking the mother's total number of children to three or more: 26-week duration (8 before birth, 18 after)Twins was born after a 34-week gestation period (12 weeks before, 22 weeks after) * For triplets or more, the gestation period is 46 weeks (24 weeks before, 22 weeks after)Whether the woman was sick during the pregnancy, she is entitled to two extra weeks before delivery and four extra weeks following delivery.

Paternity leave

When an infant is born or adopted, male employers are entitled to three days off. They will have the right to 11 days of parental leave (18 days where there are multiple births or adoptions), which must be taken within four months of the birth or adoption.

Parental leave

Employees who have served for at least a year prior to the birth of their child (or who have welcomed a child no older than 16 years into their household with the intention of adoption) are eligible to take maternity leave or work part-time. This right lasts until the infant is three (unless the child was between the ages of three and sixteen when they arrived, in which case the adoptive parent will take a year off from the date of arrival).Employees' work contracts are suspended while they take maternity leave, and the company is not obligated to compensate them. Employees, on the other hand, could be eligible for some social security benefits.When an infant is ill, parents are entitled to extra leave, which normally lasts between three and five days, depending on the child's age and the number of children the parents have. However, whether the infant is diagnosed with a critical disease or injury, or is involved in an accident that necessitates constant parental involvement or constraining treatment, the parents will take a three-year leave of 310 days.

Other leave

06. Employment termination

Termination process

In France, it is illegal to dismiss someone for violating COVID-19.

Although there is no specific labor regulation governing resignation, it may be made verbally or in writing; however, it is recommended to provide written notice. Although no specific period of notice exists, notice should always be given. The notice time is determined by contract, agreement, or profession-specific practices.

Employers and employees agree on termination criteria for permanent employment contracts when they mutually terminate.

Economic dismissal is a term that refers to employment losses caused by economic or technological advancements.

A preliminary dismissal interview must be scheduled for individual dismissals. Within two days to one month of the employee's termination, the employee must get a letter of dismissal.

Notice period

There will be a one-month notice period for service between six months and two years. There will be a two-month notice period for service of more than two years. There will be a three-month notice period if the employee is an executive.

Severance pay

Severance compensation is calculated based on which payment will result in the most desirable outcome. The following are some severance compensation options: Monthly average of the last 12 months of employment; monthly average of all months preceding dismissal; or 1/3 of the last three months' total income earned.

Probation period

The probation period for blue-collar employees and clerks is 2 months. For technicians and supervisors, the probation period is three months. For managers, probation period lasts for four months.

07. Working hours


The standard workweek is 35 hours, with a weekly maximum of 48 hours, and an average of no more than 44 hours over a 12-week period. Contractual or collective bargaining agreements may allow for an increase in the 12-week average to 46 hours per week. The working day cannot exceed ten hours, although a contract or collective bargaining agreement may allow for an extension to twelve hours. Certain executives and white collar employees are exempt from these restrictions. While the majority of other employees may be required to work more than 35 hours per week, they must be compensated for the additional hours, which is typically done through additional vacation time.

In practice, due to the mid-day break, the standard French workday is actually longer than in many other countries, typically beginning between 8:00 and 9:00 AM and ending at 6:00 PM or later, with an hour-long or longer break between roughly 12:30 and 2:00 PM.

Employees must take a minimum of 35 consecutive hours of rest over a seven-day period.


Overtime is limited to 220 hours per year, and the workweek is limited to 48 hours, including overtime, which is compensated on a percentage of income basis. A collective bargaining agreement may establish a higher or lower rate of overtime.

Night work is defined as work performed between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Night work hours are determined by collective bargaining, but cannot exceed eight hours in a 24-hour period or 40 hours on average over a 12-week period.

Outside of standard office hours, employees in France have the "right to disconnect," which includes not checking, answering, or sending emails.

08. Minimum wage


The monthly minimum wage is 1,554.58 EUR, which equates to 10.25 EUR per hour.

09. Employee benefits


The French health-care system is largely funded by the government's national health insurance, and the country is regarded as having one of the best overall health-care systems in the world.

In general, the government reimburses patients 70% of their health-care costs, and 100% in the case of expensive or long-term illnesses. All residents are required to have health insurance, and the premiums are deducted automatically from employees' pay.

Employers must provide private health insurance to employees beginning January 1, 2016, in addition to the French Social Security healthcare reimbursements. The amounts are determined by the applicable collective bargaining agreement for each branch (CBA).

Prior to 2018, all PEO, consulting, and technology firms were subject to the SYNTEC CBA. This has since been replaced by the portage salarial CBA, under which the employer is responsible for 50% (or €23.50) of the base coverage of €47 per month in 2017 and the employee is responsible for the remaining 50%.

The cost includes coverage for dependent children, but not coverage for an unemployed spouse or partner.

Employees can add higher levels of coverage and/or coverage for their spouse/partner for a monthly fee of up to €77, which will be deducted from their net pay (the additional cost is solely the employee's responsibility).

Employees may refuse coverage if they were employed by the organization prior to January 1, 2016, if they are already covered by their spouse's mandatory coverage and can provide proof of this yearly, or if they are under a fixed-term employment contract for a period of no more than 12 months.

10. Why Rivermate as your Employer of Record / PEO?

Establishing an entity in


to hire a team takes time, money, and effort. The labor law in


has strong worker employment protection, requiring great attention to details and a thorough awareness of local best practices. Rivermate makes expanding into


simple and effortless. We can assist you with hiring your preferred talent, managing HR and payroll, and ensuring compliance with local legislation without the hassle of establishing a foreign branch office or subsidiary. Our PEO and Global Employer of Record solutions in


give you peace of mind so you can focus on running your business.

Please contact us if you'd like to learn more about how Rivermate can help you hire employees in


via our Employer of Record / PEO solution.

Ready to get started? Our friendly staff is ready to assist you with all your questions, let's connect.