Working time and holidays

Working in Europe | Taxation/salaries | France

In this section, you will find information about:

The information below are the general rules. Exceptions or adjustments may be made by an agreement or collective agreement within your institution or company.

Legal weekly working time

The legal working time for full-time employees is set at 35 hours per week for all companies, regardless of their workforce.

Breaks

As soon as the daily working time reaches 6 hours, the employee is entitled to a break of at least 20 consecutive minutes. This provision is obligatory by law.

A longer break may be fixed by a company or establishment agreement or agreement or, failing that, an industry agreement or agreement.

Paid leave

Every employee is entitled each year to paid leave at the employer's expense.

An employee is entitled to leave of two and a half working days per month of actual work with the same employer. During paid leave, the employee receives his vacation pay.

Other types of leave

Under certain circumstances, an employee may be absent to take care for his child in case of sickness. Depending on the seriousness of the child's sickness, the employee may be granted three days of absence per year or a parental leave during which he may interrupt his professional activity.

Birth, wedding, conclusion of a PACS, death of a relative...: when these events occur, the employee may be absent between 1 to 5 days, depending on the particular case. An absence request addressed to the employer must be  later followed by a proof (birth certificate etc.).

Such leaves are paid and shall be treated as actual work for the purpose of determining paid leave.

Female employees are entitled, before and after birth of their child, to a maternity leave during which their employment contract is suspended. The length of such leave, if any, depends on the number of children living in their household and the number of births expected. During their maternity leave, employed women may be entitled, under the conditions laid down by the Law on Social Security, to daily allowances paid by the Social Security. It is recommended to obtain information from the CPAM and to consult the website of Assurance maladie - Ameli.fr.

Public holidays 

Public holidays are the listed in article L. 3133-1 of the Labour Code: 1 January, Easter Monday, 1 May, 8 May, Ascension, Whit Monday, 14 July, 15 August, 1 November, 11 November and 25 December.

There is no legal provision to grant compulsory leave between public holiday and the weekend that precedes or follows the public holiday. The decision is taken by each company or institution by the employer and constitutes a temporary modification of the weekly schedule. If granted, such leave shall be paid.

In most of the cases, these days will not be granted by the employer but employees can send an absence request and opt for a paid or unpaid leave after its approval by the employer.

The right to disconnect

The use of digital technology in the professional world is today a must and the working habits are changing. In many sectors, the workplace no longer exists, employees are increasingly "connected" outside office hours, the clear division between professional and personal life is blurred anf the working time is no longer continuous... Therefore, the is a need to adapt to this reality and create the necessary protection of employees' health. The right to disconnect is enshrined in law.

The methods vary from one company or institution to another, but as an example, one can mention that the e-mail communication is preferred during office hours (generally between 7:30 and 19:30). Of course, in case of emergency, the communication by e-mail remains possible but it is welcome to apologize for sending mail outside the framework fixed by the company or establishment, or for sending an e-mail during the weekend.

Reimbursement for unused leave days

Le compte épargne-temps (CET) is an instrument allowing employees to accumulate paid leave days and to benefit from remuneration, immediate or deferred, in return for this unused leave. 

These provisions are obligatory by law. As such, they cannot be modified by an amendment or a collective agreement.

Payment of transport expenses by the employer

The employer is obliged to pay a part of the price of the season tickets subscribed by his employees for their travel between their usual residence and their office by public transport or even public bicycle hire services.

The employer shall pay 50% of the costs, providing that they are 2nd class fares.

Information provided by EURAXESS France