Customer Stories — 14 min
Remote work makes it possible to hire the ideal candidate for your company anywhere in the world, including France. The country is one of the top 10 economies globally and has a highly educated and skilled workforce. If you’re looking to expand operations in Europe, hiring employees in France is a viable option. But international hiring has challenges.
You’ll have to set up your own legal entity in France to begin hiring employees in the country. It’s an expensive process that can take months, with travel back and forth to ensure everything runs smoothly. It also involves understanding French labor and tax laws, ensuring compliance, and setting up a payroll system.
But there’s an easier way to expand your team in France. You can partner with an employer of record who can employ workers in France on your behalf. An EOR has its own established entity in the country, making it easy and cost-effective for you to hire and pay workers in France or globally. Crucially, the EOR takes on the legal responsibilities of hiring employees, leaving you free to focus on business expansion.
Read on to find out exactly how to use an EOR to hire, onboard, and pay your workers in France quickly and compliantly.
Step 1: Define your business needs
Before you start looking for an EOR, clarify your business needs and goals. Ask yourself how the EOR can benefit your business and assist you in expanding into new markets. Make a list of essential services your company requires — for example, HR, payroll, data security etc. — to narrow your search for the ideal employer of record.
Step 2: Clarify pricing
Some EORs are not upfront about their pricing, so check what services are included in their fees. The last thing you want is to face unexpected costs down the road.
It’s essential to choose an employer of record that has its own legal entity already set up in France. Partner-dependent EORs often outsource their clients' legal work to third-party organizations, which can end up costing you more.
Step 3: Check the reputation of your prospective EOR
One of the best ways to get to know an EOR is to take a look at what other companies have said about them. You could browse client testimonials on their website as well as on other review platforms. A quick Google search could reveal press coverage featuring a comparison of different employers of record, which can paint an even better picture of their services and reputation. Alternatively, you could contact some of their current or previous clients with your questions.
Step 4: Choose an EOR with the best-in-class employee experience
Since your EOR acts as the day-to-day employer and handles HR, benefits, and payroll for your employees, you should ensure that the company is competent and treats its employees well. For instance, research whether the EOR providers pay their employees on time or how prompt they are while dealing with customer inquiries.
Step 5: Work with an EOR to create an equitable compensation package
When hiring workers in France, you must provide employee benefits that comply with the local employment laws. Beyond the statutory benefits, you’ll want to offer additional benefits, such as a better insurance coverage plan, annual leave, mental health support, learning opportunities, and flexible working schedules, to attract and retain top talent.
You may also need your employer of record to help you determine how to compensate your employees fairly based on their roles, experience, and level in your company while factoring in living costs in France.
An EOR can streamline the hiring process and make it easy for you to handle the legal responsibilities of recruiting and paying workers in France. Without the services of an EOR, you’d have to set up your own legal entity and employ a legal team that specializes in French employment laws, which is far more costly.
On paper, the EOR will be the employer of your new hires, though, in reality, their role is with your company. This means that they will take responsibility for handling the required legal work, including employment contracts, tax filing, and compliance with local legislation. Many employers of record in France will even manage the HR duties for your international workers, including onboarding, compensation packages, and payroll.
An EOR can help you:
Draft employment contracts
Pay your employees in the local currency
Maintain compliance with changing labor laws
Withhold taxes and file tax forms
Offer employee benefits.
Every EOR has a different price point and structure, and the cost varies depending on the number of workers and country of hiring. Some traditional providers tend to charge rates that are less accessible to startups and small businesses.
Industry prices range from $599 to an excess of $2,000 per employee per month. Watch out for added costs such as exchange fees, which are charged to clients. Some EORs offer special rates for startups, NGOs, or for hiring refugees.
The key is to choose an EOR that offers transparent pricing for full-stack infrastructure and services that are right for your expansion needs. Remote has a low, flat rate model for our global employment services in Francewith airtight compliance standards.
Employment law in France is governed by the French labor code and the French Constitution, as well as other international labor conventions such as the European Commission. Other sources of employment law include collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and companies’ internal regulations. Some key features of French employment law are explained below.
The complex set of French labor laws and regulations leaves little room for negotiation in employment contracts. The most common type of contract in France is a permanent contract, which has an unlimited duration. A written permanent contract must contain details of:
Identities and addresses of both parties
Job title and qualifications
Place of work
Remuneration (salary as well as any bonuses)
The length of the probation period
Non-competition clause, where applicable.
Collective agreements between employee representatives and employers in specific industries require more specific information to be included, such as information on health and safety and dismissal procedures.
Fixed-term contracts in France may be used under the following circumstances:
Temporary increase in business activity
Seasonal employment (e.g. tourism, agriculture)
You cannot hire a worker on a fixed-term contract if they are filling a position related to the company’s usual activities. A long-term working relationship must have a permanent employment contract.
In France, the standard working week is 35 hours. Additional working hours must be paid as overtime. The maximum number of working hours is 48 hours per week and 10 hours per day.
While it is not mandatory to have a probationary period in France, if an employer decides to have one, then it must be stated explicitly in the employment contract. The French Labor Code limits the duration of probation to a maximum of eight months.
The PAYE (pay-as-you-earn) system was adopted in France in 2019, where income is now taxed at the source on a monthly basis. To comply with French payroll, both the employer and employee must contribute to France’s social insurance system. The following is a list of the social taxes paid to the employee by the employer:
Old-age insurance: from 8.55%
Unemployment insurance: 4.05% (up to €13,244)
Health, maternity, disability, and death: 13%
Family benefits: either 5.25% or 2.45%
Autonomy solidarity contribution: 0.3%
Wage guarantee insurance: 0.15%
Unless the applicable collective agreements state otherwise, the mandatory minimum wage in France is €11.27 per hour or €1,709.28 per month. Employees in France are paid in euros (€) on a monthly basis. They are also entitled to statutory benefits from their employers, which include:
Social security insurance
Supplementary pension schemes
State welfare (in some situations)
Health care insurance
Annual leave (minimum 5 weeks per year)
Maternity leave (16 to 46 weeks)
Maternity daily allowance pay (€9.39 to €86)
Sick leave pay (50% of the basic daily wage, which increases to 66.66% after 30 days)
Disability leave (you may also be entitled to a disability pension)
French employees are usually permitted additional leave for 11 national public holidays.
In addition to the above, it’s common for employers to offer additional benefits to attract the best candidates, including additional parental leave, flexible working hours, gym allowances, stock options, and more.
Working with an EOR is the easiest and best way to offer globally competitive benefits packages to your employees in France. Remote has a team of local employment experts who can help you offer benefits to your workers without risking misclassification. Read our article for more information about employee benefits in France.
Employee dismissal in France can be based only on personal or economic grounds.
Poor performance or unsatisfactory professional skills
Inability to perform work duties
Repeated absence or long-term absence (unrelated to a work-related accident or illness)
Economic difficulties within the industry in France
Changes in technology
Case law allows for additional economic grounds for dismissal where a company has to dismiss employees to stay competitive in France, or they cease to perform a certain business activity. However, the company is required to take preventative measures before resorting to employee dismissal. If they do not comply, the labor courts may deem the dismissal unfair.
Severance pay is only granted to employees who are on an indefinite-term contract or have met a minimum length of service determined by the French Labor Code or the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
Pay for entitled employees depends on the duration of employment, as well as any accrued or unpaid vacation. Severance usually amounts to one-fifth of the employee’s monthly salary for each year of service up to 10 years, plus a third of the monthly salary for any additional years.
Misclassification of workers is taken very seriously by French employment laws, with severe fines and penalties issued to companies who — whether intentionally or unintentionally — misclassify their workers.
If a company is found to have misclassified an employee as a contractor, there might be several legal and financial repercussions, as described below.
If the company does not wish to employ the worker as an employee, then they will have to navigate termination laws and offer to pay the relevant severance package.
The company will have to pay the worker for missed salaries, benefits, social security contributions, as well as unpaid taxes, with interest.
Any applicable overtime or bonus pay must be paid back to the employee.
The company may be liable for “shadow employment” charges and fined €225,000. The responsible legal team could also face up to three years in prison along with a fine of €45,000.
The company may be banned from hiring contractors for up to 10 years.
To avoid misclassification, you should review available government resources and consult legal specialists. If you find that you may have mistakenly misclassified a worker, rectify the issue as soon as possible. An employer of record has the expertise to mitigate your risk of misclassification and prevent your business from incurring hefty fines and penalties.
Recruiting from France’s pool of talented workers can add value to your team, but hiring in France can be a hassle. French employment laws are complex, so you have to have a strong understanding of labor and tax laws and ensure that you’re managing and paying your workers compliantly.
But global employment doesn’t have to be a headache. You can hand over the burden of navigating the complexities of French law and compliance to the global employment experts at Remote. We handle employee onboarding, payroll, taxes, compliance, benefits, and more, leaving you with the time and resources to invest in your growing business.
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