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France: Termination of employment

Original and updating author: Mark Carley

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

Summary

  • Open-ended employment contracts may be terminated in various ways, and specific rules regulate the termination of fixed-term contracts. (See General)
  • Save in cases of flagrant or gross misconduct, dismissal of an employee is subject to a statutory minimum notice period. (See Notice periods)
  • Employees can be dismissed on misconduct-related grounds or grounds related to their capacity or competence. (See Dismissal on grounds related to the employee's person)
  • There are various rules regarding a dismissal made on economic grounds where the reason is not inherent to the employee's person. (See Dismissal on economic grounds)
  • An employer and employee may terminate an open-ended employment contract by mutual consent, if they follow a statutory procedure and have the termination approved by the public employment authorities. (See Termination by mutual consent)
  • Save in cases of flagrant or gross misconduct, qualifying employees are entitled to a severance payment if they are dismissed. (See Severance payments)
  • Employees may challenge their dismissal in an industrial tribunal on the grounds that there is no "real and serious" reason, or that the employer has failed to follow the correct procedures. (See Contesting dismissals in court)
  • Employers are entitled to oblige an employee to retire at any time from the date that the employee reaches the age of 70, under a procedure known as "enforced retirement". (See Retirement)
  • If a company faces serious economic difficulties, the employer may sign an "employment-maintenance agreement", normally with trade unions. (See Employment-maintenance agreements)