Hiring an Employee in France

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A 5 Step Guide to Hiring an Employee in France

Finding the right candidate, French-specific laws, and cultural differences: hiring in a foreign country like France comes with many challenges. This article about hiring an employee in France highlights the 5 essential steps: From finding the ideal solution for your unique case to setting up payroll services.

Step 1 - Hiring an employee in France, with or without legal entity

Choosing a locally compliant solution for your unique case is the first essential step. Understanding your options is imperative to identifying the adequate solution.

I want to hire an employee, directly

Whether you are a start-up or a large corporate, we support businesses at any stage: from hiring your first employee in France as a foreign employer, to hiring several employees through your own French legal entity.

Hiring as a foreign employer

You can hire an employee in France directly, as a foreign employer, without setting up a legal entity.

To do so, a French payroll provider like My Payroll Pro France will register you as a foreign employer. From the registration and benefits setup to monthly payroll processing, we take care of everything.

I need guidance to find the best solution for my case

When seeking to hire an employee in France as a foreign company, you might come across an Employer-of-Record solution.

In French laws, the term EOR does not exist. The French solution that comes closest to matching an EOR-solution is the ‘portage salarial’. It is limited in two aspects: the nature of the engagement and its duration.

Some companies may decide to opt for independent contractor engagements to avoid the legal and financial burden that comes with hiring employees in France. This can be a risky and costly move as misclassification is fairly common with remote workers.

Our recommendation: request a free consultation with a local expert to find the ideal solution for your unique case.

Step 2 – Cost of hiring an employee in France

Recruiting cost, a competitive compensation package, social contributions and payroll taxes: In certain industries, such as tech industry or service sector, these costs can make up more than 50% of revenue.

Employer social contributions and payroll taxes have a significant impact on the total cost of hiring an employee in France. They can be extremely high: for a 35-hour full-time position with an annual salary exceeding € 50 000, you should expect between 41% and 46%.

Our recommendation: request a free cost estimation for your 1st employee in France.

Step 3 – Employment contract for your 1st employee in France

When hiring an employee in France, local mandatory provisions, including Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) have to be applied.

Working time

In France, the legally mandated working time is the 35-hour work week. Yet, in many industries, 39-hour weeks, or more, are common. To be noted, any hour beyond the 35-hour week is considered overtime and must be compensated as such. For some staff, and depending on the CBA, it is possible to stipulate an alternative working time arrangement, such as a specific number of annual working days.

Trial period

The duration of the trial period in France is significantly shorter than in other countries. Its duration varies, depending on the CBA, the duration of the employment contract and the status of the employee.

Based on the French Labor Code, for permanent contracts with so-called ‘cadre’ staff, i.e., executives, but also staff with a certain qualification and degree of autonomy, the trial period is four months. It can be renewed once under certain conditions.

Industry insight: For the same employee, the CBAs applicable to companies in the telecommunication and marketing sector, stipulate a trial period of three months, with an optional renewal of three months under conditions.

Gross salaries & bonuses in France

In many industries, salaries well above the legal minimum levels have to be proposed for an employment package to be competitive. Annual bonuses are sometimes part of an employee’s compensation, in most cases by negotiation and, in some cases, required by collective bargaining agreement.

Industry insight: Based on the CBA SYNTEC applicable to tech companies, a vacation bonus has to be paid between May and October each year.

Our recommendation: have the employment contract drafted by local experts to ensure French laws and industry specifics are taken into account.

Step 4 – Employee benefits & incentives

Paid time off, insurance benefits, gifts: employee benefits and incentives can make the difference between your top candidates joining your company or turning down the job offer.

Mandatory Insurances

In France, it is mandatory to set up an additional health insurance as well as a life and disability insurance. Provisions vary, depending on the applicable CBA and the status of the employee.

Optional Benefits & Incentives

When hiring an employee in France, different cultures and expectations regarding employment compensation have to be considered. Local incentives, such as meal vouchers, will not only enhance the compensation package, they can also help to optimize social contributions.

Our recommendation: Get advice from French experts to ensure that your employees receive the benefits they are entitled to and that your compensation package is attractive.

Step 5 – Payroll services in France

Companies employing staff in France are obliged to pay contributions in France, even if they have no local office and operate from their home country. Getting an external French payroll outsourcing company to handle payroll for your employees in France will ensure you are staying compliant and protecting your business by staying up-to-date on changes.

My Payroll Pro France is a French payroll provider that specializes in providing services to foreign companies.

Are you hiring an employee in France? Book a free consultation to talk to a French expert about your unique case.

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1st Employee
  • French payroll: end-to-end payroll management
  • benefits management: customizable & competitive benefits
  • locally compliant employment contracts
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