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Employment Terms and ConditionsBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
France - Employment Terms and Conditions
All workers have the right to paid leave but only when they have worked for at least one month. The year for leave runs from the 1st June to the 31st May. Workers are then entitled to a minimum of 2 and a half days for each month that they work. Only those periods during which the worker has been in work count although the contract of employment may stipulate that maternity leave and sick leave may count towards the holiday entitlement.
Other types of leave include sick leave. In order to be paid for sick leave an employee must have made a minimum amount of contributions. Maternity leave is available for 16 weeks, where the mother is permitted 6 weeks before the birth of the child and 10 weeks afterwards. Paternity leave is available for 11 consecutive calendar days for one child or 18 days for twins or more. In addition fathers are entitled to 3 days leave when the child is born. These two can be taken consecutively. A parent can also request child-rearing leave of up to three years. Sabbaticals can be granted for between 6 or 11 months. Long periods of leave are often unpaid. There are 10 days public holiday in France. Most of these are only paid if they fall on a standard working day.
Nobody is permitted to work more than 10 hours in one day and the legal limit for the working week is 35 hours. After working for 4 and a half hours a worker must take a break. If your employment falls under a collective agreement your working day could be extended to 12 hours. Nobody is permitted to work more than 48 hours a week and if your weekly average is more than 44 hours over a period of 12 weeks then your hours need to be adjusted. A break should be granted at least once every 6 hours and it should last for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Overtime is paid at a rate of 1.25 for the first 8 hours and then at 1.50 for all hours after that. Employers may want to negotiate time off in lieu instead. Night work cannot exceed 8 hours each night and no more than 4 hours in on e week. Pregnant women who work nights must be given day time jobs for the duration of their pregnancy.
There are always representatives on the staff who can negotiate in the event of a dispute. There are also labour inspectors in the local area as well as the industrial tribunals if the dispute cannot be dealt with in house. The right to strike is guaranteed in France. Workers are not guaranteed to be paid for the time they spend out on strike. In some sectors, unions must give adequate notice of strike action. Nobody is penalised for joining a union. The only sectors which are not permitted to strike are the police force, prison workers and some ministries. Those in the health sector and transport must ensure that minimum service is provided at the time of a strike.
It is estimated that in the private sector trade union membership stands only at 5%. They can negotiate on behalf of a worker and take a main role in pay negotiations, dispute resolution and other issues.
In order to terminate a contract of employment a worker needs to do so in writing. Notice periods as laid out in the contract must be adhered to strictly, but if you need to give less notice then it may be possible to negotiate with the employer.
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