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French employment law

In France,employment law affords employees a good level of protection. Nevertheless, this legal environment is constantly changing as a result of government reforms and case law evolution.

Recent trends relate in particular to: (1) union representation and collective bargaining agreements; (2) working time; (3) mutual termination agreements; (4) senior management compensation; and (5) termination packages in listed companies. In France, choosing the wrong option may result in costly individual or collective litigation.

Key Points

  • All non-EU citizens need a work permit to work.
  • Employers and employees are free to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment relationship. However, employees have various minimum rights under the law, regardless of any provision to the contrary in their employment contract.
  • Usually, employees work 35 hours per week. Only hours worked at the request of the employee’s superior will be regarded as overtime.
  • Indefinite-term contracts: There must be real and serious grounds for dismissal (two types of valid grounds: personal grounds and economic grounds).
  • Severance payments are only awarded if the employee has the minimum length of service and the relevant CBA provisions.

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