France Country Guide 2022

France

The French Republic is one of the largest countries in Europe, with stunning architecture and vivid scenery; it is also one of the most sustainable and greenest countries in the world. Living in France can seem slower-paced than a lot of other places, but the work-life balance is excellent, considering the work week is only 35 hours and overtime is rigorously monitored.

The cost of living and taxes are relatively high, but so are the average salaries; the public health care is first class, public education is excellent and cheap, and public transportation is widely available. While a lot of people speak English, learning French even at a basic level can come a long way in helping with integration and making friends with the locals.

  • Capital: Paris
  • Spoken Languages: French
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Minimum monthly wage: EUR 1,678.95 (Gross)

Entry Visa

Citizens of EU/EFTA Member States and Switzerland can enter France with an identity card or a valid passport; other foreign citizens may enter with a valid Schengen visa.

Work Permit / Residence Permit

Citizens of EU/EFTA Member States and Switzerland can live and work without a work or residence permit in France.

Other foreign nationals must obtain a work visa, and an entry visa or residence permit. The application for the work visa is done by the employer online, provided they have attempted to find a candidate already in the French labour market and have not found an individual with the necessary qualifications.

Individuals can apply for a long-stay visa after getting their work permit; this visa is the equivalent to a 12-month residence permit; after obtaining this visa, the individual may enter France and begin working. Within the first 3 months of arrival, the employee must validate the visa online; if they wish to stay in France for more than a year, they must apply for a residence permit at the prefecture in their place of residence at least 2 months before visa expiry.

Social Security Registration

Registration for Social Security is done by the employer, in order for the employee to obtain a Social Security Number and be eligible for any benefits.

Working Hours

A standard working week in France is 35 hours/week; employees cannot work more than10 hours a day, 44 hours a week (for an average of 12 weeks). Overtime pay is 125% of the regular pay for the first eight hours and 150% thereafter; however, some employers may choose to compensate overtime with time off instead.

Public Holidays

  • 01 January (New Year’s Day)
  • Easter Monday (Not a standard date, usually March/April)
  • 01 May (Labour Day)
  • 08 May (WWII Victory Day)
  • Ascension Day (Not a standard date, 40 days after Easter Monday)
  • Whit Monday (7th Monday after Easter, not a standard date)
  • 14 July (Bastille Day)
  • 15 August (Assumption Day)
  • 01 November (All Saint’s Day)
  • 11 November (Armistice Day)
  • 25 December (Christmas Day)

Vacation Allowance

Employees in France are entitled to 30 working days of annual leave, accumulated at a rate of 2.5 days per month worked, based on a holiday calendar that runs from 1st June to 31st May. Individuals must take at least 12 days of consecutive vacation at one time, but the number of consecutive days may not exceed 24. Unused holidays may be carried into the next year, but it is not mandatory.  

Sick Leave

Employees in France are entitled to up to 6 months of sick leave paid by Social Security, provided they have either worked at least 150 hours before the leave, or made contributions to the Social Security of at least 1,015 times the legal hourly minimum wage in the past six months. After the first 6 months, paid leave may be extended for up to one year, provided the individual has worked at least 600 hours, contributed to the Social Security benefit and received an income of at least 2,030 times the hourly minimum wage in the 12 months before falling ill.

The daily allowance paid by Social Security is equal to 50% of the daily basic wage. In some cases, the employer may top up that pay.

Maternity / Paternity leave

  • Maternity: 16 weeks: 6 weeks before birth, 10 weeks after. At least 8 weeks are mandatory. Paid by Social Security at an amount equal to the average income over the last three months preceding the leave, provided the mother has made contributions to Social Security for at least ten months and worked at least 150 hours during 90 days before the leave.
  • Paternity: 3 days during the birth (full salary paid by employer); 25 days (32 for multiple births) within 4 months after the birth (paid by Social Security at a rate based on the same calculation as the mother)

Termination & Severance

After termination of employment, individuals with 8 months or more seniority with the employer and an open-ended contract are entitled to severance pay. For employees on fix-term contracts, the severance pay equals 10% of the salary earned to date.

Length of EmploymentSeverance Pay
Up to 10 Years25% gross monthly salary * years of employment
11 Years or more33.33% gross monthly salary * years of employment

If the seniority is over 10 years, the first 10 years are calculated by the formula for the first bracket, and any remaining years by the second.

Notice Period

Duration of employmentNotice period
6 Months – 2 Years1 Month
More than 2 years2 Months
Executive Level Roles, regardless of duration3 Months

Social Security

Employee social insurance contributions are deducted automatically from the wage, while employer contributions are paid by the employers themselves.

CategoryEmployer (%)Employee (%)
Health, maternity, disability, death 17% or 15%0%
Autonomy solidarity contribution0.3%0%
Old-age Insurance1.9%0.4%
Old-age Insurance (With upper limit) 28.55%6.9%
Family Benefits 33.45% or 5.25%0%
Unemployment 44.05%0%
Wage Guarantee Insurance (AGS) 40.15%0%
Social security surcharge  (CSG) 50%9.2%
Social security debt reimbursement contribution (CRDS) 50%0.5%
Total25.4% – 35.2%17%

1. The percentage for the ‘Health, maternity, disability, death’ contribution is 7% for yearly salaries not exceeding 2.5 times the French minimum wage, and 15% for salaries that are larger.

2. The maximum monthly insurable earnings for the larger percentage of old age insurance contributions is EUR 3,428. The smaller percentage has no cap.

3. The smaller rate of 3.45% applies to businesses eligible for the general decrease in contributions and to annual salaries lower than or equal to 3.5 times the legal minimum wage.

4The maximum monthly insurable earnings for unemployment and AGS is EUR 13,712.

5. CSG and CRDS are calculated based on 98.25% of the total monthly salary. For CSG, 2.4% is taxable, and 6.8% non-taxable

Accidents at Work

There may be an additional contribution to accidents at work insurance, however, there is no set amount and it varies greatly based on company size and risks.

Pension

There may be an additional contribution to accidents at work insurance, however, there is no set amount and it varies greatly based on company size and risks.

Taxation

The French fiscal year runs from January 1 to December 31.

Tax Rates

The following progressive rates apply for 2022;

Taxable Income (EUR)Total Rate (%)
0 – 10,2250%
10,226 –  26,07011%
26,071 – 74,54530%
74,546 – 160,36641%
160,367 +45%

Tax Returns

The annual income tax return must be filed until 19 May the following year by post; if submitting online, the deadlines are 24 May, 31 May or 8 June depending on the area where you live. If an individual has already submitted at least one tax return, they will receive a completed form automatically for checking; if it is the first time, the form needs to be filled in manually, either online or on paper.

Double Taxation

France has tax treaties with multiple other countries, which can reduce payable tax on certain incomes. It is also possible to obtain tax relief in France to avoid double taxation on the same income.

Health Insurance

France has a universal public healthcare system (PUMA), which is available for anyone who has lived in France for at least 3 consecutive months. This insurance does not cover 100% of medical costs, but does reduce them significantly.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in France is relatively high, especially in the main cities. The estimated monthly cost for a single person is around EUR 1,400 – 1,600, with 600 – 750 going to rent, depending on the location.


How We Can Help

We provide a full set of services in France allowing corporate clients, recruitment agencies and professional contractors to operate in an optimal manner while ensuring that all local employment obligations are taken care of.

Access Financial offers the following solutions in France:

  • Employed/EOR Solution
  • Self-Employed Solution
  • Limited Company Solution

If you would like to discuss how Access Financial can help in France, please contact us.

Disclaimer

WE HAVE PREPARED THIS AS A GUIDE ONLY; IT DOES NOT FORM PART OF AN OFFER. PLEASE REQUEST ILLUSTRATIONS BASED ON YOUR SPECIFIC CASE FROM ONE OF OUR SOLUTION MANAGERS.