Whilst this list should not be held to be exhaustive, the following points might be of particular comparative interest to practitioners used to the quite different provisions of many Common Law systems.

  • An employee resident in France, of whatever nationality, must generally have a written service agreement or contract of employment
    The agreement in question must be drafted in the French language, but there is no restriction on a translation thereof being made available although the French version will always prevail.
  • Virtually all contracts of employment are for an open term (“contrats à durée indéterminée”)
    Specific short term contracts (“contrats à durée déterminée”) are subject to stringent conditions and may not be renewed more than once.
  • A major legal distinction exists between “Cadres” (Executive grade employees) and “Employés” (Other lower grades of employees) and it should be noted that the French legal translation of the English word ’employees’ is “salariés” and not “employés”.
  • Employment Law provisions are laid down by codified statute (Code du Travail).
  • Collective bargaining agreements are widespread and in many specific industrial or commercial sectors are very often binding upon employers who were not a party thereto.
    Provisions of Collective Bargaining Agreements or In-House Company regulations, which are in conflict with Statute Law generally, nevertheless prevail if in favour of the employee.
  • Social security and national insurance contributions in France normally constitute:
    • circa 20% of gross salary for the employee and
    • up to 50% for the employer.

    Thus, and very roughly, the total cost to the employer of employing someone in France is circa 150% of the gross salary.

  • The right to switch off smartphones and computers

Since 1 January 2017, companies employing at least 50 people in France should, when having their compulsory annual negotiation on professional equality between women and men and quality of life at work, negotiate an agreement on the terms and conditions of this right to disconnect from work.

If the company employs less than 50 people but has (or has the obligation to put in place) staff representatives or members of the work council, it should prepare a charter on the right to disconnect (after having consulted the works council or staff delegates).
Agreements on individual annualised working time should also contains a clause on the right to disconnect.