Employees vs Independent Contractors France
Updated as of 2017
The French labour code and its ten thousand laws apply to all employees in France, as do many social security laws. It can therefore be tempting to circumvent these obligations by preferring to do business using independent workers, who under French law are not considered employees and are therefore not subject to the same regulations and protections. The use of such contractual agreements in France has become increasingly popular over the past few years, allowing for what some consider to be greater flexibility, lighter costs, and less administrative bother. In reality, this practice is complex in its application and presents several limitations and risks that employers must be aware of.
As we will see, not anybody can be an independent contractor, and in several scenarios, a judge may rec-characterize the inappropriate services agreement as an employment contract. This judicial re-characterization of the relationship entails heavy legal, financial, administrative, and criminal consequences for the employer who wanted to avoid exactly such matters.