French Labour Law

We advise German, Austrian and Swiss companies and their branches in France on all aspects of French labour law, both individual and collective. We can provide consulting services in German, French or English.

French labour law has significant differences of practical relevance compared to German, Belgian or Swiss labour law. That is why it is particularly important to promptly seek advice in this area of law in order to clarify all significant labour and social security law issues.

Services relating to French Labour Law

In addition to legal consulting on French labour law, our team with intercultural experience will also help you with the practical implementation in France and provide expert guidance for your projects in the following areas:

  • Recruitment of employees in France
      Particularities of salary negotiations with employees in France (French income tax and social security as well as expense accounts and company vehicles in France)
  • Binding collective bargaining agreements in France
  • Employment contracts and supplements to employment contracts under French law
  • Termination of employees in France
      Termination for personal and behavioural reasons and for economic/operational reasons under French law.
      Drafting of all documents required under French law: Written reprimand, invitation to a preliminary discussion on termination (entretien préalable), personalised guidelines for conducting the preliminary discussion on termination with the employee; letter of termination.
  • French termination agreements, including the necessary documentation
  • Restructuring in France
      Cost and risk assessment in accordance with French regulations, preparation for the procedure with staff representatives, preparation and negotiation of social plans.
  • Representation in employment law proceedings before the courts in France: First instance (Conseil de prud’hommes) and Court of Appeal (Cour d’appel)
      Conciliation hearing, main hearing, summary proceedings and appeal proceedings before French courts.
  • Collective labour law in France
      Negotiation of company agreements in accordance with French regulations;
      Organisation of the election of the French Works Council (comité social et économique (CSE): Social and Economic Committee); conclusion of profit-sharing agreements with employees in France.
  • Posting of staff to France and supply of temporary workers
  • Consulting on relations with the French Labour Inspectorate
  • Sworn and unsworn translations of German and French documents (e.g. bilingual German-French employment contracts)

We are pleased to offer training for you and your human resources managers on all aspects of French labour law. We would be happy to send you a training offer!

Did you know that in France…

  • over 500 collective bargaining agreements have been declared to be generally applicable in France and are applicable to your company simply because of the nature of your business activities in France?
  • employer social security contributions in France are on average about twice as high as in Germany, at about 42% of the gross salary of an employee in France?
  • employees pay significantly less income tax than employees in Germany? As a result, hiring an employee in France is generally no more expensive than in Germany because salary expectations are frequently lower.
  • the meals allowance for an employee in France is slightly higher than in Germany? The budget for a company vehicle in France, on the other hand, can be lower than in Germany.
  • the legal minimum wage in France (SMIC/salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance) is €10.15 gross per hour (as of 2020)?
  • an employee whose termination has been declared unlawful by the French labour courts does not normally have the right to be reinstated or re-employed?
  • risks are more predictable because the Macron reforms in France have limited the amount of severance pay and compensation for employees in the event of termination?
  • French labour law provides for a strictly regulated termination procedure, which takes an extremely formalistic approach and must be rigorously observed?
  • employees who are terminated under French labour law in France have one year in which to bring an action against the termination before a labour court?
  • the labour courts of first instance (Conseil de prud’hommes / CPH) are composed of four lay judges? Two of these judges represent the employer side and two represent the employee side - but all four judges are usually employees.
  • holiday entitlement in France is calculated in relation to the French working year from the beginning of June to the end of May?
  • all existing French workplace employee representation bodies were abolished in France in 2018 and merged into a single body, the so-called Social and Economic Committee (comité social et économique, CSE)? French companies with at least 11 employees over a period of 12 consecutive months are required to establish a CSE and the employer is responsible for ensuring that this is done.

Our German-French Team for Labour Law in France