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France at a Glance
- Currency: Euro, EUR (€)
- Population: 68.1 million
- Economy/GDP: $2.6 trillion (7th largest)
- Top Sectors: Machinery, chemicals, automobiles, aircraft, electronics, food processing, and tourism
- Ease of Doing Business: Ranks 33 in the world, according to the World Bank’s latest Doing Business report from 2019
- Languages: 100% (official) in French and 57% reasonably proficient in English
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Grow Your Team in France
Velocity Global’s Employer of Record solution makes it simple for companies of all sizes to hire a distributed team in France. Our Global Work Platform™ and team of experts handle everything from onboarding and compliance to taxes and payroll. Confidently grow your team and your business in France with the help of Velocity Global.
Benefits of hiring in France
- France is one of the world’s most modern countries, and it’s a leader among European nations. The country is the world’s seventh-largest economy as of 2020 and the second-largest economy in the European Union after Germany.
- France is one of the easiest countries in which to do business, according to the World Bank’s latest Doing Business report from 2019.
- France is one of the most promising markets for tech firms considering global expansion, according to Velocity Global’s 2020 State of Global Expansion™ Report’s Global Expansion Tech Index™.
Challenges of hiring in France
- The French legal framework is protective of employees. An employee can only be dismissed in very specific circumstances and after the completion of a regulated process.
- The Corporate Income Tax rate for businesses in France is 25%. The French government gradually reduced the Corporate Income Tax rate for businesses from 33.3% in 2017 to 25% in 2022. Foreign companies must pay a limited tax liability on their source income from the country.
- The French Competition Authority may need to be notified of certain mergers and acquisitions, as anticompetitive practices are punishable offenses.
Cultural nuances and must-knows of doing business in France
- Use gendered titles and last names to greet clients and only use first names when invited to do so. French professionals expect formal speech etiquette. For example, “Bonjour Madame Dubois,” or, “Au revoir Monsieur Monet.”
- Business introductions and meetings often begin and end with a firm handshake accompanied by an appropriate salutation.
- The French appreciate when visitors show respect for their culture and language by learning basic French phrases or greetings and using them whenever possible.
- The French appreciate passionate and deep conversations during business discussions; this is a common practice in France. Small talk is seen as a waste of time.
- The French do not take a quick lunch break at their desk or alone in their office. Sharing lunch together as coworkers, as a team, is seen as very important. The lunch break is usually several hours.
- Work-life balance is highly revered and is considered sacred. Most employees often have an email signature that states, “If this email is sent outside of office hours, please do not reply immediately, unless it’s an emergency.” It can be considered a Human Resources violation of moral harassment to send emails past working hours, during the weekend, or during an employee’s vacation time.
Wages and Salaries in France
- As of May 1, 2022, the minimum wage in France is €1,645.58 per month or €11.75 per hour on a 35-hour working week. This minimum wage is one of the highest in the European Union.
- In France, probationary periods help mitigate risk in hiring. Employees can be subject to a probationary period that enables the employer to assess employees’ skills. Unless an employee’s collective bargaining agreement outlines increased protections, the contract can be terminated during the probationary period without cause and at no additional cost to the employer, outside of providing the mandatory notice.
- This probationary period is not automatic and must be provided in the employment contract. The French Labor Code provides that the probationary period can be for two to four months (depending on the employee’s position). Standard probation periods are two months for office and blue-collar workers (“employés et ouvriers”), three months for supervisors and technicians (“agents de maîtrise et techniciens”) and four months for executive employees (“cadres”).
- Bonuses in France are not mandatory unless it is part of a collective bargaining agreement; however, most companies offer some type of bonus pay. Many French employers pay their employees a bonus in December, known as the 13th month’s salary.
- When employing an individual in France, the following formalities must be adhered to:
- The employer must fill out a pre-hiring declaration form for newly hired employees (“déclaration préalable à l’embauche”)
- When hiring its first employee, the employer must inform the French Labor Administration (“Inspection du travail”)
- The employer has to register the company with the complementary pension funds (“retraite complémentaire”)
- The company has to acquire healthcare insurance (for medical expenses) and a provident insurance (for the risk of death, invalidity, and incapacity) that complies with the specific provisions of French law and of the applicable collective bargaining agreement (if any)
- The full names of all employees have to be recorded in the staff register (“registre du personnel”)
- When hiring a non-French employee (excluding European nationals), the necessary immigration formalities must be completed
Termination and notice periods
- An employer must give notice before dismissing an employee, except in cases of serious misconduct or negligence. The notice period depends on the employee’s length of service; however, it is usually one or two months. Different notice period durations may also be provided for by the employee’s collective bargaining agreement. A company may release the employee from working during the notice period and pay out severance in lieu of notice. Severance pay depends on the employee’s length of service and the relevant collective bargaining unit provisions. It is generally calculated on the basis of an employee’s average salary during the last twelve months of employment.
Leave Entitlements in France
- Employees are entitled to a minimum of five weeks paid vacation time a year and public holidays.
- As of July 1, 2021, maternity leave includes 16 weeks leave (in principle, six weeks before the expected date of childbirth and ten weeks after). Mothers are required to take at least eight weeks’ leave. Six weeks are taken right after delivery, and they may be granted two additional weeks before the birth of the child in the event of a pathological pregnancy. If the birth leads to health complications, mothers can take up to four additional weeks after the birth.
- Paternity leave includes 25 consecutive days or 32 consecutive days in the event of multiple births.
- Adoption leave is set at 10 weeks for one child or 22 weeks in the case of adopting more than one child.
- The amount of daily maternity, paternity, or adoption leave allowance is calculated from the average income over the last three months which leads up to the pre-natal leave. In January 2021, the allowance amount was set between €9.66 and €89.03 per day.
- Employees absent due to illness or injury receive daily indemnities from the social security system for a maximum of three years. Emergency provisions for sick leave pay have been implemented as a result of COVID-19.
National and regional holidays
- France has the following public holidays, which are not included in the minimum holiday entitlement by the French Labor Code. However, employers generally give their employees all of France’s public holidays off of work. Furthermore, collective bargaining agreements may dictate that employees get these days off of work:
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Easter Monday (March/April, this fluctuates each year)
- Labor Day (May 1)
- Victory in Europe Day/End of World War II (May 1)
- Ascension Day (May/June, this fluctuates each year)
- Whit Monday (May/June, this fluctuates each year)
- Bastille Day/National Day (July 14)
- Assumption of Mary (August 15)
- All Saints’ Day (November 1)
- Veterans Day/Armistice Day/Remembrance Day: End of World War I (November 11)
- Christmas Day (December 25)
Benefits in France
- Social Security (“Sécurité Sociale”) is the French public health insurance system that covers all life risks for residents of France. Employees and their families are fully eligible for France’s comprehensive social security system, which includes:
- Health, maternity, paternity, disability, and death insurance
- Occupational accident and illness insurance
- Government pension contributions
- Family allowances
- Unemployment benefits
Tax and Social Security in France
- Non-French citizens categorized as French tax residents are taxed as French citizens on their salary and social security contributions. French tax residents are defined by having one of the following characteristics apply to them:
- They live in France, or they have their main residence in France.
- They mainly work in France.
- They mainly have their economic affairs and interests in France.
- If a non-French citizen is not a French tax resident and works in France, a withholding tax at a progressive rate of 0%, 12%, or 20% is imposed on salary payments unless a double taxation treaty provides otherwise.
- There is a tax deduction of 10% for a professional expenses allowance which is limited to €12,652 per year.
- All workers are required to register for French Social Security. This system covers workers in case of injury, illness, maternity, paternity, disability, and death.
- The French Social Security system provides universal health coverage, called PUMA, which ensures anyone who works for an employer in France will have their medical expenses covered from the day they start working. A worker’s family can also benefit from this coverage. The medical expenses which are covered in full or in part include:
- Medical and paramedical expenses.
- Prescription medication expenses.
- Hospital expenses.
- Transportation expenses when covered by a prescription.
- PUMA is also accessible to all individuals, regardless of employment status, who have been residents in France for at least three months.
- The required age to apply for a retirement pension is 62 years for anyone born after 1955.
- The amount of the retirement pension paid by the French Social Security system depends on a worker’s duration of insurance and the average annual income of their career’s 25 most advantageous years. Retirees are entitled to draw between the minimum rate set at 37.5% and the full rate set at 50% of their average annual income from their career’s 25 most advantageous years.
Payroll in France
- The French tax year follows the calendar year: January 1 to December 31. Tax return deadlines vary slightly each year and are announced in late spring of the same year the taxes are due. In order to avoid online congestion, the deadlines to file a French tax return online vary between France’s départements (101 regions in total). In 2022, the deadlines are as follows:
- May 19: Paper form (in-person) filing deadline for all residents and non-residents
- May 24: Online filing deadline for non-residents
- May 24: Online filing deadline for residents in départements 1–19
- May 31: Online filing deadline for residents in départements 20–54 (including 2A and 2B)
- June 8: Online filing deadline for residents in départements 55–101 and those residing in French territories overseas
- The payroll cycle in France is generally a monthly cycle, with wages paid by the last working day of each month.
- Working hours are generally Monday to Friday from 8 am or 9 am to 5 pm, with a several-hour lunch break in between. Usually, employees work 35 hours per week. In addition, employees must not work more than:
- An average of 44 hours a week during any 12 consecutive weeks
- 48 hours during any given week
- 10 hours a day
- 220 hours of overtime a year (subject to applicable collective bargaining agreements or company collective agreements)
- Compared to other countries, overtime is less common in France. However, employers can agree to a longer working week with their employees. Employers must pay any time worked over 35 hours a week by 25% more per hour for the first 8 hours of overtime. After that, employees earn 50% more per hour.
- Employees are entitled to at least a 20-minute break for every 6 hours of work. Collective bargaining agreements may place other stipulations on the number of hours employees can work and on overtime pay.
Why Work in France?
France is one of the world’s top economic superpowers. Its minimum wage is one of the highest in the European Union, and the French legal framework is protective of employees. As an employer, France is one of the world’s easiest countries in which to do business, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report.
Those searching for reasons to work and live in France can count on a relaxed pace of life, with long meal times meant for socialization and a strong emphasis on personal and family life.
French culture favors a work-life balance, with flexible hours prioritized and personal life is seen as highly important. Those working in France benefit from a 35-hour working week, meaning French workers have above-average leisure time every day to soak in the country’s bountiful culture.
Explore France’s abundant history, with its world-famous food and wine, classic architecture, distinguished art and museums, and prominent fashion and shopping.
Most of France lies in the southern part of the temperate zone. The entire country is considered to be under oceanic influences, moderated by the North Atlantic Drift on the west and the Mediterranean Sea on the south. Each region of France has its own climate where in the north and west, there are moderate temperature differences and rain is frequent; in the east the climate is continental, and in the south, the climate is Mediterranean. Public transport is reasonably priced and efficient, with trains and buses supporting the whole country, even extending to many rural areas.
France is revered around the globe, and it’s one of the most popular destinations for tourists all year round. If you’re thinking of working in Europe, France may be the place for you.