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France: Employee rights

Original and updating author: Mark Carley


  • 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)
  • Individuals who act as whistleblowers receive statutory protection from dismissal or other retaliation by their employer, and many employers are required to have in place internal procedures for dealing with whistleblowers' reports. (See Whistleblowing)
  • 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)
  • Employees have a "right to disconnect" from work-related technology outside working hours. (See Right to disconnect)