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France: Employee rights

Original and updating author: Mark Carley

Consultant editors: Maxime Pigeon and Apolline De Noailly, Osborne Clarke


  • There are various rules for employees' hours of work, including overtime, and particular restrictions for night workers and young workers. (See Hours of work)
  • Employees are entitled to minimum rest breaks, hours of rest between ending and starting work, and weekly rest periods. (See Rest breaks and rest periods)
  • Subject to certain exemptions, Sunday is a non-working day and forms part of the statutory weekly rest period. (See Sunday work)
  • There are various rules regarding minimum paid annual leave for employees and when it may be taken. (See Holidays and holiday pay)
  • Pregnant employees, new mothers and adoptive parents have various rights, including protection from dismissal. (See Maternity and pregnancy rights)
  • Qualifying employees may take parental or paternity leave. (See Parental leave)
  • Employees are entitled to take unpaid leave to look after a sick child. (See Carer's leave)
  • There are rules for various other types of leave, including leave for family events or a sabbatical. (See Other leave)
  • Part-time workers have various rights, such as to benefit from the same rights and advantages as full-time employees, on a pro rata or adapted basis where necessary. (See Part-time workers)
  • Fixed-term workers have various rights, and fixed-term contracts may be used only in certain circumstances. (See Fixed-term workers)
  • Workers posted to work in France from other countries are covered by French employment legislation. (See Posted workers)
  • When an independent economic entity is transferred to a new employer and maintains its identity, the employment contracts of employees are transferred to the new employer. (See Transfers of undertakings)
  • There are rules regarding payments for employees in the event of the employer's insolvency. (See Insolvency of employer)
  • Employees are entitled to bring grievances against the employer, and employers are allowed to impose sanctions on employees they believe guilty of misconduct at work. (See Grievance and disciplinary procedures)
  • Moral harassment, harassment and violence at work are prohibited. (See Bullying, harassment and violence)
  • There are various rules regarding the processing and use of employees' personal data. (See Data protection)
  • Employers have additional obligations in respect of teleworkers, who are defined by statute. (See Telework)