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Last updated on: June 20th, 2024

Labor Requirements

The Labor Law in France is regulated mainly by the Labor Code (Code du Travail) of 2016 (amended as of 2021). The Labor Code governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, and employment relationships. The employment relationship is also governed by an array of collective bargaining agreements and judicial precedents.

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The actual working time is considered as the time during which the employee is at the employer’s disposal and follows the employer’s direction. The legal working time is 35 hours per week for full-time employees.


The maximum number of hours that an employee may actually work per day is limited to 10 hours and may not exceed 12 hours except in the case of certain specific cases such as a temporary increase in the activities of the organization (inclusive of overtime). The maximum weekly working hours shall not exceed 48 hours (inclusive of overtime). In case of certain exceptional circumstances, the maximum limit of weekly working hours can be increased to a maximum of 60 hours per week.


The weekly working time calculated over any period of 12 consecutive weeks may not exceed 44 hours. However, in certain exceptional cases, such as an arrangement under the agreement, the weekly working time can exceed a maximum of 46 hours over the period of 12 consecutive weeks. In case of the absence of any such kind of agreement, the government authority may also via a decree allow the increase of weekly working hours to a maximum limit of 46 hours.


The working time of employees working permanently in successive shifts in a continuous cycle must not exceed, on average, 35 hours per week over a 1 year period.


In companies whose collective weekly working time is longer than the legal weekly working time of 35 hours, the monthly remuneration due to the employee can be calculated by multiplying the hourly remuneration by the 52/12 of this weekly working time, taking into account salary increases corresponding to overtime worked.


Part-Time Employment

In the absence of an agreement, the minimum working time for a part-time employee is set at 24 hours per week or, where applicable, at the monthly equivalent of this duration or the equivalent calculated over the period provided for by a collective agreement.


Also, in the absence of an agreement, the number of additional hours completed by a part-time employee during the same week or month or for the period provided for by an agreement collective agreement, may not exceed 1/10th the weekly or monthly working time provided for in the employment contract and calculated, where applicable, over the period provided for by a collective agreement.


For more information on Part-Time Employee: Employment Law, kindly access this link.  


Intermittent Work

Intermittent employment agreements are generally concluded in organizations covered by an agreement, by an organization or establishment agreement, or by an extended branch agreement that provides for it. The intermittent employment agreement is a contract of indefinite duration. The hours exceeding the minimum annual duration fixed in the intermittent employment contract cannot exceed 1/3rd of this duration, except with the consent of the employee. The employees with an intermittent employment agreement are provided the same benefits as applicable to full-time employees.



An on-call period is considered a period during which the employee must be able to perform work for the employer without being in the place of work and without being at the permanent and immediate disposal of the employer. The duration of this intervention for work is considered an effective working time.


The employees performing on-call work are provided with compensation either in the financial form or in the form of rest. Employees who will be affected by on-call periods are informed of their individual programs within a reasonable time. With the exception of the intervention period (when the employee actually performs the work for the employer), the on-call period is taken into account for the calculation of the minimum daily rest and the weekly rest periods.


Travel Time

Professional travel time to get to the place of employment is not considered actual working time. However, if it exceeds the normal journey time between home and the usual place of work, it is compensated either in the form of rest or in monetary compensation. The part of this professional travel time coinciding with the work schedule does not entail any loss of wages. In case, the travel time between home and the usual place of work is increased due to a disability, it may be compensated in the form of rest. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3121-15, L3121-18 – L3121-19 and 23, L3121-27 to L3121-31, L3123-33 to L3123-38, L3121-9, L3121-10.


Recording Requirements

When an employee or a certain class of employees do not work according to the same collective working schedule displayed, the working hours of each employee concerned are recorded either :

      • Daily – wherein the start and end times of each work period are recorded or by recording the total number of hours of work completed;
      • Weekly –  wherein the number of working hours completed by each employee is recorded.


In cases where overtime work is performed, employees are informed on a monthly basis, by a document attached to their payslip of any acquired compensatory rest hours. The employer keeps a duplicate of employee payslips or payslips given to employees in electronic form for 5 years. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3243-4, 3243-1.


Any hour worked beyond the legal weekly duration of 35 hours is considered overtime hours. Employees who perform such additional work are entitled to either an increase in the salary or where applicable, to equivalent compensatory rest. 


Overtime is calculated per week. Unless otherwise provided in an agreement, the week begins on Monday at 12am and ends on Sunday at 12am. An organization or establishment agreement may use another period of 7 consecutive days to define the week.


Arrangement of working time over a period longer than a week

When a working time arrangement is put in place over a reference period longer than a week, overtime is counted at the end of this reference period. This reference period may not exceed 3 years in the event of a collective agreement and 9 weeks in the event of a unilateral decision by the employer. If the reference period is annual, hours worked beyond 1,607 hours are considered overtime.


If the reference period is less than or greater than 1 year, overtime is the hours worked beyond an average weekly duration of 35 hours calculated over the reference period.



In the absence of an agreement between the employer and employee, any overtime work performed by an employee beyond the legal weekly duration (35 hours), shall make the employee entitled to a premium of 25% for each of the first 8 hours of overtime and a premium of 50% for the subsequent hours of overtime. However, the rate of increase for overtime fixed by an organization or establishment agreement or, failing that, by branch agreement, cannot be less than 10%.


In the case of organizations with a union delegate, either all or part of the increase in salary for overtime work can be replaced by providing equivalent compensatory time off, on the condition that the same is not opposed by the social and economic committee.

The annual quota of Overtime – Overtime can be worked within the limit of an annual limit of 220 hours.


The hours taken into account for the calculation of the annual overtime quota are those completed beyond the legal duration. Any work performed in case of emergency shall not be considered towards counting against the annual limit of overtime hours.


Compulsory compensation for Overtime work

The employer must grant compulsory compensation in time of rest to each employee who works overtime beyond the annual quota.

The rate of the mandatory compensation in rest hours is determined by the organization or establishment agreement by convention, a branch agreement. This rate cannot be less than 50% for organizations (1.5 hours of overtime for 1 hour of work) with 20 employees or less and 100% for organizations with more than 20 employees. This compulsory rest is in addition to the payment of overtime.  Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3121-28 – L3121-30 , L3121-35 – L3121-38, L312-41 – L3121-47.


Reduction of Working Time (RTT)

A system that provides for the allocation of days or half days of rest to an employee whose working time exceeds 35 hours per week. The benefit of RTT days is fixed by a convention or an agreement.

Night Work

Any work performed during a period of at least 9 consecutive hours including the interval between 12 am and 5 a.m. is considered night work. The night shift begins at 9 p.m. at the earliest and ends at 7 a.m. at the latest.


In the case of retail establishments, the working period at night is at least 7 consecutive hours including the interval between 12 am and 7 am if the work begins after 10 pm.


An employee is considered to be a night employee if they perform at least 3 hours of night work at least twice a week as per their ordinary working hours, or perform a minimum number of hours at night in accordance with an agreement during a reference period.


The daily working time performed by a night employee may not exceed 8 hours. The weekly working time of a night employee, calculated over a period of 12 consecutive weeks, may not exceed 40 hours.


Pay – The night employee receives compensation for the periods of night work during which he is employed, in the form of compensatory rest and, where applicable, in the form of salary compensation. The terms and conditions of the remuneration and compensatory rest are agreed upon via collective bargaining agreement. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3122-1 to L3122-24.


Employees are entitled to an unpaid rest break of 20 consecutive minutes once the daily working time reaches 6 hours unless more favorable provisions are made by any applicable collective bargaining agreements.


The time required for breaks is considered to be an actual working time when the employee is at the employer’s disposal and not able to freely enjoy such break time.  An agreement or a branch agreement may provide for remuneration for the break times, even when these are not considered as actual working time.


In the absence of an agreement, the work schedule of a part-time employee may not include more than one interruption of work or more than one interruption at 2 pm. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. 3121-1 – 3121-6, L3121-16 – L3121-17.


Daily Rest

Employees are entitled to a daily rest of at least 11 consecutive hours. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3131-1.


Weekly Rest

An employee shall not be allowed to work for more than 6 days a week. The weekly rest shall be given to the employee for a minimum duration of 24 consecutive hours which is added to the consecutive daily rest of 11 hours. Generally, the employees shall be provided with weekly rest on Sunday.


In cases of establishments where the functioning is required on a continuous basis such as to meet the needs of the public, the weekly rest can be provided on a rotational basis.


In the event of urgent work whose immediate execution is necessary to organize rescue measures, prevent imminent accidents, or repair accidents that have occurred,  the weekly rest period may be suspended for the employees necessary for the execution of this work. This option of suspension applies not only to the employees of the company where the urgent work is necessary but also to those of another company doing the repairs on behalf of the first. 


Each employee of this second company, as well as each employee of the company where the work is carried out, usually assigned to maintenance and repair work, benefits from compensatory rest for a period equal to the rest day on which the employee is made to work.


In circumstances, where the weekly rest on Sundays to all of the employees of an organization might cause difficulty in the normal functioning of operations at work, in such cases, the weekly rest can be organized either throughout the year or at certain times of the year only, according to one of the following methods:

  • A day other than Sunday to all the employees of the establishment;
  • From Sunday noon to Monday noon;
  • Sunday afternoon with a compensatory rest of one day per shift and per fortnight;
  • By rotation to all or part of the employees.

When due to national or local elections, the Sunday weekly rest has been dismissed, in such circumstances, the employer shall take all measures necessary to allow the employees to exercise their right to vote.


In the absence of a collective agreement, employees deprived of Sunday rest retain the option of refusing to work three Sundays of their choice per calendar year. He must inform his employer in advance, respecting a period of one month. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3132-26 – L3132-27.

Work On Rest Days

Each employee deprived of Sunday rest receives remuneration at least equal to 100% of the remuneration normally due for an equivalent period, as well as compensatory rest equivalent in time. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3132-26 – L3132-27.

Public Holidays

The only mandatory public holiday in France is Labor Day (May 1).  Other statutory holidays are the following:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Easter Monday (variable)
  • Labor Day (May 1)
  • World War II Armistice (May 8)
  • Ascension Day
  • Pentecost/Whit Monday
  • National Day (July 14)
  • Assumption Day (August 15)
  • All Saints Day (November 1)
  • World War I Armistice (November 11)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Public holidays that fall on weekends do not move to the next working day.


Pay – May 1 is a public holiday and a day off. In establishments and services which, due to the nature of their activity, cannot interrupt work, employees employed on 1 May are entitled, in addition to the salary corresponding to the work performed, to compensation equal to the amount of this salary (100% premium). This compensation is the responsibility of the employer.


For other public holidays, the labor legislation does not provide for any salary increase, but collective agreements may contain more favorable provisions.


In commercial operations, employees cannot be employed on the first day of the Christmas, Easter, or Whitsun holidays. On other Sundays and public holidays, their work cannot exceed 5 hours. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3133-1 to L3133-3-2.

Annual Leave

An employee is entitled to a leave of 2.5 working days per month of actual work with the same employer with a maximum of 30 working days. Periods equivalent to 4 weeks or 24 working days are considered to be a month of actual work for the purpose of determining the duration of the leave.


In case, the number of working days is not a whole number, the duration of the leave is increased to the next higher whole number.


Additional leave – Employees under the age of 21 on April 30 of the previous year are entitled to 2 additional days of leave per dependent child. This leave is reduced to 1 day if the statutory leave does not exceed 6 days. A dependent child is a child who lives at the home and is under the age of 15 on April 30 of the current year and any child without age condition when he lives at the home and is with disabilities.


The annual leave may be increased due to age or seniority in accordance with conditions determined by agreement or collective labor agreement.


Taking of Leave – The annual leave must be taken during the period from May 1 to October 31 (Reference period) of each year. Spouses and partners bound by a civil solidarity pact working in the same company are entitled to simultaneous leave. The duration of the leave which may be taken at one time may not exceed 24 working days. This limit may be waived for employees who justify specific geographic constraints or the presence in the household of a child, a disabled adult, or an elderly person with a loss of autonomy.


Annual leave of less than 12 continuous working days must be taken in one period. In case, the main annual leave is longer than 12 working days, it may be split with the employee’s agreement. One of the fractions is at least equal to twelve continuous working days between two weekly rest days.


Determination of Duration of Annual Leave – The following are considered to be periods of actual work to determine the duration of the leave  – 

    • Periods of paid leave, period of maternity, paternity and child care, and adoption leave.
    • Compulsory compensation in the form of rest is provided for overtime work.
    • Days of rest granted under a collective agreement for overtime work.
    • The period during which the employment contract is suspended due to an accident at work or an occupational disease.
    • The periods during which an employee is maintained or recalled to national service for any reason.
    • Periods during which the execution of the employment contract is suspended due to work stoppage linked to an accident or illness, not of a professional nature.

Accrual of paid leave during a Work Stoppage

    • Professional nature: An employee will be entitled to receive 2.5 days (i.e. 30 days per acquisition reference period) for a work-related accident or occupational illness.
    • Non-professional nature: An employee will be entitled to receive 2 days (i.e. 24 days per acquisition reference period) for a work-related accident or occupational illness.

Carryover of Accrued Annual Leave for Employees

    • Employees can carry over accrued annual leave if they are unable to use it due to illness or accident. This deferral period begins on the date on which the employee receives, after returning to work, information relating to the number of days available to him and the date until which these days of leave can be taken.
    • A 15-month deferral period is granted, starting when employees return to work and receive information about their leave balance and expiry date.
    • If an employee’s absence exceeds one year, the carry-over period extends until May 31 of the following year.
    • Employers must inform employees of their leave balance within a month of their return to work.

Deferral Period – The deferred period is the period from when a person has become unable to work until the time that the benefit begins to be paid.

Holiday Pay – The employee is entitled to 1/10th of the gross wage received over the reference period. In determining the annual leave pay, the ancillary benefits and benefits in kind that the employee would not be able to receive during the duration of their leave period shall be taken into consideration. However, this does not affect either the contractual stipulations or the practices which provide for a higher amount of leave allowance.

Termination of Employment – In case of termination of employment, the employee shall be entitled to receive a compulsory leave allowance for the amount of annual leave not taken by the employee. This is also applicable to the beneficiaries of the employee whose death occurs before they could not take their annual leave. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3141-1 to L3141-33.

Special Leave

Parental Leave

Employees are entitled to the initial duration of parental leave of 1 year, which may be extended until the child’s 3rd birthday. Both parents may take the parental leave either simultaneously or alternately. An employer may not refuse a request for parental leave, provided that the employee has at least 1 year of service with the employer on the date of birth or arrival of the child in case of adoption. However, during parental leave, the parent on leave is compensated by Social Security.

An employee is also entitled to parental leave if their child is suffering from an illness, a disability, or had an accident of a particularly serious nature, requiring the employee’s presence and care. Such leave can be granted for a maximum of 310 working days over a period of 3 years. In such cases, the employees are entitled to a daily parental allowance paid by the Family Allowance Fund. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L1225-62 – L1225-65.

Maternity Leave

Employees are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave. An employee can take 6 weeks of leave before the birth of the child and 10 weeks after giving birth. an employee must take 8 weeks of maternity leave of which at least 6 weeks must be taken after childbirth.

Maternity leave can be extended on medical grounds related to pregnancy by a maximum of 2 weeks before and 4 weeks after the birth of the child. In the case of third and subsequent children (if the employee already has two or more children), the duration of leave is extended to 8 weeks before and 18 weeks after the expected date of childbirth. In the case of twins, prenatal leave is extended to 12 weeks while the postnatal leave is 22 weeks, making the total duration of the leave 34 weeks.

For multiple births (more than 2 children at the same time), prenatal leave is extended to 24 weeks and post-natal leave to 22 weeks, making the total duration of leave 46 weeks. When the childbirth occurs before the expected date, the maternity leave may be extended until the end, as the case may be, of the 16, 26, 34, or 46 weeks of maternity leave to which the employee is entitled to.


Women who suffer a miscarriage between the 14th and 21st weeks of pregnancy are also protected from termination for a period of 10 weeks following the miscarriage. In the event of miscarriage or stillbirth after 21 weeks, the full entitlement to maternity leave and thus protection from dismissal applies.

Pay – During the term of maternity leave (16 weeks in general cases; 26 weeks for the third and subsequent children; 34 weeks for twin births and 46 weeks for triplet or more births), employees are paid a maternity allowance which is equal to the average daily wage (100%) of 3 month period preceding pre-natal leave up to the quarterly social security maximum limit after deduction of employee’s share of statutory social security contributions and taxes. Maternity leave results in no reduction in pay and is treated as the actual working period for determining the duration of paid leave and for contractual rights acquired by the employee in respect of service in the organization.

Breastfeeding Break – During one year following the date of birth, mothers are entitled to paid breastfeeding breaks of 1 hour per day during working hours. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art.  L1225-1 to L1225-34.

Paternity Leave

After the birth of the child, the salaried father and, where applicable, the mother’s salaried spouse or partner or the salaried person linked to her by a civil solidarity pact benefits from paternity and adoption leave of the child for a duration of 25 calendar days or 32 calendar days in the event of multiple births.

This leave consists of a period of 4 consecutive calendar days, immediately following the birth leave, and a period of 21 calendar days, increased to 28 calendar days in the event of multiple births.

The notice period of the employer as to the expected date of delivery and the dates for taking the leave and the duration of the period or periods of leave, the period within which the days of leave must be taken as well as the terms and conditions for splitting the leave period of twenty-one days and twenty-eight days are set by decree.

Paternity leaves can be taken within 6 months after the child’s birth. Paternity leave may be postponed beyond 6 months in the case of a child’s hospitalization in which case the leave may be taken within 6 months after the end of hospitalization. The leave can also be postponed in the event of the death of the mother, in which case, the leave is taken within 6 months after the end of leave granted to the father (10 weeks of leave is available to a father on the death of a newborn’s mother).

In the event of the birth of the child before the expected date of delivery and when the employee wishes to begin the period of leave during the month following the birth, they should inform their employer without delay. 

Pay – To be compensated for the leave, employees must take the paternity leave within the 6-month time frame. In addition, the employee must have worked at least 150 hours during the 3 months preceding the start of the leave (or have contributed on a salary equivalent to a certain amount (as directed by the regulation) over the last 6 months before the start of the leave). The employee must have had a social security number for at least 10 months at the start date of the leave. The first 3 days are paid by the employer and the rest of the leave is paid by Social Security. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L1225-35 to L1225-36.

Adoption Leave

The employee is entitled to adoption leave for a period of 16 weeks at most from the date of arrival of the child at home. Adoption leave is increased to 18 weeks when after the adoption of a child(ren), the total number of children becomes 3 or more who are under the employee’s care. The duration increases to 22 weeks in the event of multiple adoptions.


When the duration of the adoption leave is divided between the two parents, the adoption of a child by a salaried couple gives rise to the right to 25 additional days of adoption leave or to 32 days in the event of multiple adoptions. The duration of the leave may only be split into two periods, the shortest of which is at least equal to 25 days. The leave taken by the parents in such cases can be simultaneous.


Pay – The employee is remunerated for the adoption leave by Social Security. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L1225-37 – L1225-41.


Leave for Sick Child

An employee is entitled to unpaid leave in the event of illness or accident confirmed by a medical certificate of a child under the age of 16 who is under the care of the employee. The maximum duration of leave is 3 days per year. However, the leave duration is increased to 5 days if the child is under the age of 1 or if the employee is responsible for 3 or more children under the age of 16.


Notice Requirement:  An employee must justify the absence by providing to the employer by a medical certificate attesting to the child’s state of health. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L1225-61.


Leave for Parental Presence

The employee whose dependent child is affected by sickness, disability, or victim of a particularly serious accident making sustained presence and restrictive care essential benefits, for a period determined by decree, shall be entitled to parental presence leave.

The number of days of leave that the employee may benefit from under parental presence leave is a maximum of 310 working days. Employees must use the 310 working days within 3 years of becoming eligible for the leave. The employee may, with the agreement of his employer, transform this leave into a period of part-time activity or divide it.

Donation of rest days to a parent of a deceased or seriously ill child – An employee may, at his request and in agreement with the employer, give up anonymously and without compensation all or part of their days off not taken, whether or not they have been allocated to a time savings account, in favor of another employee of the company who assumes the responsibility of a child under the age of 20, suffering from an illness, a disability or the victim of a particularly serious accident making constant presence and care essential binding. 

An employee may, under the same conditions, give up all or part of his rest days not taken for the benefit of another employee of the company whose child under the age of 25 has died. This possibility is also open to the benefit of the employee in respect of the death of a person under the age of 25 in their effective and permanent charge. This waiver can take place during the year following the date of death.


Pay Benefits: The remuneration is not maintained during parental leave. The employee can request to benefit from the daily parental presence allowance (AJPP). Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L1225-62, L1225-65-1.

Business Creation Leave

An employee who sets up or takes over a business is entitled to either an unpaid leave of absence, during which time the employment agreement is suspended, or to part-time employment, for a period of one year. The one-year business creation leave may be extended for one additional year. To benefit from this leave of absence, employees must have at least 24 months’ service with their employer. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-105 to L3142-124.

Mobility Leave

Employees with at least 2 years of service (whether successive or not) are permitted, with their employer’s consent, to work for a different company for a fixed period.  During this time, their original employment contract is suspended. The employee may notify the original employer that he or she wishes to return at any time during the mobility leave. The duration of leave is determined by a collective agreement between the employer and the employee. The remuneration for the leave is paid by Social Security. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L1237-18 – L1237-18-5.

Bereavement Leave

Apart from the leave provided for the death of a child or spouse, in the event of the death of a child under the age of 25 or of a person under the age of 25 in the employee’s effective and permanent charge, in such cases, the employee is entitled, to bereavement leave.

Duration: The legal duration of bereavement leave is 8 calendar days. It can be divided into 2 periods, the shortest of which can be of a duration equal to 1 single day.


It must begin within the year following the death of the child or dependent. It is in addition to the 14 days of minimum authorized absence that the company grants for the death of a child under 25, and can be taken immediately after these 14 days, or separately. In total, the employee can have a minimum leave of 22 days.

Pay: The allowance for the leave is paid by Social Security.

Notice Requirement: the employee must inform their employer of the date and duration of their bereavement leave at least 24 hours before the start of each period of absence. They must also attach a death certificate at the request of their employer. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-1-1.


Family Solidarity Leave

The employee whose ascendant, a descendant, a brother, a sister or a person sharing the same domicile suffers from a life-threatening pathology or is in the advanced or terminal phase of a serious and incurable disease is entitled to a family solidarity leave.


Duration: The duration is fixed by the employment agreement.


In the absence of an employment agreement, the maximum duration of the leave is 3 months, renewable once. However, your leave cannot exceed a maximum duration (including renewals).


Note: In the event of splitting the leave, each period of leave is at least 1 day.


Pay Benefits: Family solidarity leave is unpaid, but the employee may qualify for the daily allowance for supporting a person at the end of life (Ajap) under certain conditions. To be eligible, the employer must furnish a certificate confirming the employee’s family solidarity leave status. The employee is then required to send this completed certificate, provided by the employer, via mail to the National Center for Managing Requests for Daily Allowances to Support a Person at the End of Life (Cnajap).


Notice Requirements: The employee must notify the employer 15 days before it starts via letter or registered email. The employee specifies the intent to suspend the contract, leave start date, desire to split or work part-time, and the expected return date. 


A medical certificate certifying a life-threatening condition for the assisted person is required. Once formalities are done, the employer cannot postpone or deny the request. The agreement covers leave duration, renewal conditions, maintaining a connection with the company, and return support. If the return date changes, the employee must inform the employer 3 days in advance. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-6 – L3142-15.

Other Paid Family Leave

The employee is entitled, upon justification, to leave for the following purposes. A company collective agreement or agreement or, a branch agreement or agreement determines the duration of each of the leaves mentioned above, which may not be less than:

  • 4 working days for  marriage or for the conclusion of a civil solidarity pact;
  • 1 working day for the marriage of a child;
  • 3 working days, for each birth. This period of leave begins to run, at the employee’s choice, on the day of the birth of the child or on the first working day that follows;
  • 3 working days for the arrival of a child placed for adoption;
  • 12 working days for the death of a child or 14 working days when the child is under twenty-five years of age and regardless of his or her age if the deceased child was himself a parent or in the event of the death of a person under the age of 25 in their effective and permanent charge;
  • 3 working days for the death of the spouse, the partner bound by a civil solidarity pact, the partner, the father, the mother, the stepfather, the stepmother, a brother or a sister ;
  • 2 working days for the announcement of the occurrence of a handicap in a child.
  • 5 working days for the announcement of the occurrence of a disability, a chronic pathology requiring therapeutic training, or cancer in a child.

Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-1 – L3142-4.

Caregiver Leave

Caregiver leave allows the employee to care for a disabled or elderly person or someone losing their independence. This leave is accessible under conditions (family or close relationship with the person being cared for, residence in France of the person being cared for) and for a limited period.


Duration: The maximum duration of caregiver leave is set by the employment agreement: In the absence of the agreement,  the maximum duration of leave is 3 months.


The leave can be renewed. However, the leave cannot exceed 1 year over the employee’s entire career.


Notice requirement: The employee must notify their intentions to the employer through a verifiable method like a letter or registered email or as per the procedure specified in their employment contract at least 1 month before taking the leave.


In this request, the employee explicitly states their desire to temporarily suspend their employment contract to avail themselves of caregiver leave. Additionally, the employee must also specify the proposed start date of the leave and, if preferred, communicate their willingness to either divide the leave duration or transform it into part-time, providing flexibility in managing their caregiving responsibilities. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-16 to L3142-27).

Sick Leave

An employee has the right to paid medical leave if the doctor prescribes more than 3 calendar days of absence from the workplace. However, the collective bargaining agreements may stipulate that the employee has to be paid medical leave from the first day of absence. 

Eligibility: The employee shall be eligible if they have continuous service of one year at least with the organization.

Sick leave pay: An employee may be paid through social security, the employee’s provident fund, and sometimes from the employer. The period for which an employee is paid during sick leave varies according to the employee’s period of employment with the organization and the total duration of absence. The sickness benefit is paid for a period up to 6 months if the insured employee has at least 200 hours of employment in the last 3 months. It is payable for more than 6 months but less than 3 years, in case the employee has at least 800 hours of employment in the last 12 months.

Medical Certificate – The employee has 48 hours to notify both their employer and CPAM (the organization for basic health insurance) that they require sick leave. A form known as an ‘avis d’arrêt de travail’ is used to give this notice and it needs to be signed by a doctor. The first two pages of this document are sent to CPAM and the final third page is sent to the employer. The employer must then also notify CPAM.

Pay – The daily sickness benefit is payable from the 4th day of absence from work. It is equal to 50% of the daily wage of the last 3 months during the first 30 days of sickness. From the 31st day of absence, the daily sickness benefit for employees with 3 or more dependent children is 66.67% of the daily wage. The daily sickness benefit is paid up to 360 days in a 3-year period. In the case of chronic/serious and prolonged illness, the total payment period is 3 years. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L1226-1 to L1226-24.

Sabbatical Leave

An employee on request is entitled to Sabbatical leave for personal reasons. The employer is not obliged to grant sabbatical leave. 


Duration of the leave: The length of leave varies from a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of 11 months. However, a collective agreement may provide for different durations.


Eligibility Criteria: The employee must meet the following criteria:

      • Seniority in the Company: The employee needs a minimum of 36 months of seniority in the company. This can include non-consecutive periods of work, and a collective agreement may alter this requirement.
      • Years of Work: The employee must have completed at least 6 years of professional activity.
      • Waiting Period Between Leaves: There’s a waiting period between leaves during which the employee should not have taken advantage of specific company benefits in the previous 6 years. This includes a professional transition project (PTP) lasting at least 6 months, leave for business creation or takeover, or a prior sabbatical leave.


Notice Requirement: The employee must inform the employer of their wish to take a sabbatical leave at least 3 months before the planned departure date.


The employee must send the request to the employer by any means allowing proof of the date of request for leave (letter or registered email). Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-28 to L3142-35.

Leave for participation in employment and vocational training bodies or in the examination board

In case, an employee is designated to sit on a commission, a council, or an administrative or joint committee called upon to deal with employment and training problems, the employer shall grant the time necessary to participate in the meetings of these bodies.

The list of these bodies is fixed by interministerial decree. When an employee is appointed to participate in a jury for examining or validating acquired experience, the employer grants the employee such leave to take part in this jury. The leave is paid by the employer. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-42 to L3142-47.

Leave for Natural Disaster

The employee residing or usually employed in an area affected by a natural disaster is entitled to leave, taken on one or more occasions, to participate in the activities of organizations providing aid to victims of natural disasters. In the absence of an agreement, the maximum duration of leave is 20 days per year.


The employee must submit the request to their employer to take leave. In case of an unplanned situation at least  48 hours before the start of the leave an emergency with 24 hours’ notice. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-48 to L3142-53.

Training leave for executives and youth leaders, voluntary association leaders, holders of mutualist mandates other than directors and members of citizens’ councils

Employees below the age of 25 who wish to engage in activities organized by youth and popular education organizations, as well as sports federations and associations approved by the administrative authority for the development and training of executives and leaders, are entitled to an annual training leave. This leave, which can be taken once or twice, is subject to the beneficiary’s request.


In the absence of any convention or agreement, the maximum total leave duration is 6 working days per year. The leave can be combined with economic, social, environmental, and union training leave, but the combined total cannot exceed twelve working days in the same year.


The employee must adhere to the timeframe outlined in the employment agreement when submitting the leave request to the employer. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-54 to L3142-59.

Leave for Acquisition of Nationality

An employee is entitled to take at least half a day off to attend the ceremony. The employee must present their invitation to the ceremony to their employer.


The duration of this leave cannot be deducted from your annual paid leave. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-75 to L3142-78.

Leave for employees who are candidates for or elected to a parliamentary or local mandate

An employee has the right to be absent to participate in an electoral campaign if he himself is a candidate for a parliamentary or local mandate. The duration of the absence granted depends on the type of election. The employee must notify the employer of his absence for participation in an electoral campaign. The employee’s absence during this period may be deducted from paid leave.

      • Municipal elections: 10 Working days        
      • Departmental or regional elections: 10 Working days
      • European elections: 10 Working days
      • Lyon Metropolitan Council elections: 10 Working days
      • Elections to the Corsican Assembly: 10 Working days
      • National Assembly elections: 20 Working days
      • Senate elections: 20 Working days

Pay Benefits: The employee can use their paid leave for these requested absences, but only up to the limit of the paid leave they have accumulated until the first round of voting. When not deducted from paid leave, absences are unpaid and depend on the employment agreement. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-79 to L3142-88.

Operational Reserve and National Service

Any employee who has made a commitment to serve in the operational reserve is granted an 8-day absence authorization per calendar year for activities in the reserve. However, for organizations with less than 250 employees, the employer can decide, in order to keep the company running smoothly, to limit the leave duration to 5 days. 


The salaried reservist is entitled to a minimum duration of 10 working days per calendar year for their employment or training activities in the military operational reserve or the national police operational reserve.


Employees who are reservists can with employer approval engage in military or police operational reserve activities beyond their annual leave. The extension of this leave requires a written agreement between the employer and employee appended to the employment contract. In smaller companies (fewer than 50 employees), the employer can limit this reserve-related leave to a maximum of 5 working days per calendar year for operational needs.


Notice requirement: A salaried reservist formally requests time off from the employer in writing, providing details about the planned absence’s date and duration. If the employer doesn’t respond within the specified notice period, their agreement is assumed.


In cases of insufficient military resources for unforeseen circumstances, the notice period can be shortened to 15 days by order of the relevant authority. This applies particularly to National Gendarmerie reservists who have secured approval from their employers. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-89 to L3142-101.

Teaching or Research Leave

An employee who wishes to provide technological, professional, or higher education in initial or continuing education full-time or part-time has the right to either leave or to a period of part-time work.


Duration of the Leave: An employee is entitled to leave or part-time work for a maximum duration of 1 year of unpaid leave in the absence of a collective agreement. An extension is possible at the request of the employee by agreement between the company and the host organization or company.


Eligibility Criteria: The length of service required to qualify for leave or part-time work is one year if the employer agrees and 24 months consecutive or not in the company in case of disagreement. The employment contract is suspended and the employee continues to be part of the company’s workforce.


Pay Benefits: The employee is paid during their leave by the organization, establishment, or company for which they will provide teaching or carry out research activity. Social protection is provided by the establishment or organization where the employee carries out their training or research activity.


Notice Requirements: The employee needs to inform the employer about their plan for leave or reduced working hours, including the duration, at least three months before the leave starts.


In companies with fewer than 300 employees, the employer can delay leave or part-time work if the requested teaching and research leave exceeds 2% of the total annual working hours (or 2% of the total workforce for companies with 300 or more employees).


The employee on leave should notify the employer about their decision to extend the leave or continue or terminate the employment contract at the end of the leave and must provide notification at least 3 months before the end of the leave or part-time work is 6 months or longer, and at least 2 months in advance for a shorter duration. Labor Code, 2016 (amended as of 2021), Art. L3142-125 to L3142-130.


International Solidarity Leave

Employees have the entitlement to take leave for engaging in an international mutual aid mission. The rules for the leave differ according to the employment agreement.


Notice Requirements: Employees must inform their employer at least 30 days before the start of their leave.


This notification should be submitted using a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt (RAR) or a mail delivery method requiring a signature. The request should include details such as the planned absence duration, the name of the association involved in the mission, and any other information stipulated in the employment agreement.


Representational Leave

When an employee is designated representative of an association relating to the association contract or registered in the register of associations in application of the local civil code applicable to the departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, and of Moselle or a mutual society within the meaning of the mutuality code to sit in a body, whether consultative or not, established by a legislative or regulatory provision with a State authority or a local authority, the employer grants him the time necessary to participate in the meetings of this body.


The employee benefiting from representation leave who suffers, on this occasion, a reduction in remuneration receives from the State or the local authority compensation compensating, in whole or in part, if necessary in lump sum form, the reduction in his remuneration. The employer may decide to maintain this remuneration in whole or in part, beyond the compensatory allowance.


Representation leave can be split into half-days. Its duration cannot be deducted from the duration of the annual paid leave and is assimilated to a period of actual work for the determination of paid leave rights as well as for all other rights resulting for the person concerned from their employment contract.


In principle, the duration of leave to represent an association or mutual is set by a collective agreement or a collective agreement. In the absence of a collective agreement, the maximum duration of leave is 9 working days. Corresponds to all days of the week, except for the weekly rest day (generally Sunday) and public holidays usually not worked in the company per year.


In the absence of a collective agreement, the employee must send their request to their employer for the leave at least 15 days before the start of the leave. Article L3142-60 – L3142-64.

Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.