A travel expenses guide : French per diem rates & actual expenses
As globalization has created an international workforce, a lot of employers are faced with challenges around the administration of their employees’ travel expenses. Drafting international travel expenses policies can be complex, given the varying local cultures, business practices, and legislation.
French Per Diem Rates vs. Actual Expenses
In France, the costs that the employee demonstrates having incurred for the purposes of his professional activity and in the interest of the company, must be reimbursed by the employer.
The employee can be reimbursed for expenses incurred, either on proof of actual expenses, or on a flat rate basis, with some exceptions. For each type of expense, the choice has to be maintained. Meaning it is not possible to regularly switch between actual expenses and flat rate refunds.
All expenses refunded to the employee have to be mentioned on the French payslip.
Some examples of expenses that can be refunded based on actual expenses or flat rates:
– mileage allowance in France
– long-distance travel expenses: per diem rates
Expenses that obligatory must be reimbursed based on receipts include expenses for the home occupancy in case of home office (‘occupation du domicile’).
Provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement or the Employment Contract
In the absence of a provision in the collective agreement or in the french employment contract relating to the payment of professional expenses, the employer cannot unilaterally set the reimbursements of travel expenses at an amount lower than their actual cost. In this case, the employee could request an additional reimbursement of expenses.
French Per Diem Rates for Long Distance Travel
Expenses for long distance travel can be refunded based on receipts or per diem allowances.
The long-distance per diem rates cover the additional food expenses and the accommodation expenses if not taken into charge by the employer directly.
The claim must contain the date and place of the business trip, purpose of the trip, name of the client or business partner.
French per diem rates for long-distance travel – conditions
Long-distance travel is characterized by the impossibility for an employee to return to their residence each day due to their working conditions.
This is presumed when two conditions are simultaneously met:
– the distance between place of residence / place of work is greater than or equal to 50 km (one way);
– public transport does not allow this distance to be covered in less than 1h30 (one way).
When these conditions are not met, the employer can demonstrate that the employee is nonetheless prevented from returning to his home based on the actual circumstances (working hours, modes of transport, etc.).
French per diem rates 2022
The per diem rates differ for travel within mainland France, French overseas departments and travel outside of France.
French per diem rates for long distance travel within France mainland
Without receipts, the employer can refund 19.40 € per meal (lunch, dinner).
French per diem rates for travel outside of France
Long-distance per diem rates for employees on business trips abroad are identical to those provided for group I of civil government personnel sent on temporary assignments abroad. The rates can be found on:
The mission allowance paid to an employee traveling abroad must be reduced by:
– 65% when the employee is lodged free of charge, i.e. when the employer provides the accommodation or pays the accommodation costs directly (breakfast included);
– 17.5% when one of the meals is provided;
– 35% when two meals are provided.