Contracts in France

Overview by

The Active Population in Figures

Main Indicators 2005 2004
Labor Force 27 637 000 27 518 000
Labor Force (Annual Growth, %) 0.43 -
Rate of Activity (%) 44.0 44.1
Unemployment Rate (%) 9.8 9.9

Source: Insee

Employed Persons, by Occupation (% of Total Labor Force) 2005
Shopkeepers and similar
Managers and higher intellectual professions
Intermediate professions

Source: INSEE

For Further Statistics
INSEE statistics on work
For Further Information About the Labor Market
ILO, International Labor Organization
Studies and research of the Ministry of Employment

Management of Human Resources



Method of Recruitment
More and more applications are made via Internet. The method of recruitment in France is by face to face interview.
Recruitment Agencies
The ANPE is the official employment agency.
There is also a specialized agency for managers, the APEC.
Recruitment agencies: Michael Page International, Hudson, etc.
Agencies specialized in temporary work: Vediorbis, Adecco, etc.
Recruitment Websites
Portal for on-line recruitment

The Contract

Type of Contract
The permanent contract (CDI) is the type of contract which is most often used.
The fixed-term contract (CDD) makes it possible to resort to temporary workers.
The Contrat Nouvelle Embauche (New Hiring Contract) is a new form of CDI where the rules for breach of contract are more flexible during the first two years in exchange for the payment of an indemnity of 10%.
Breach of Contracts
  • Retirement
There are several ways of retiring: early retirement, automatic retirement and official retirement.
  • Dismissals
The employer initiates dismissals:
- redundancy is either individual or mass redundancy
- dismissal for professional misconduct
  • Other Possible Methods
Resignation; this is initiated by the employee.
Labor Laws
Labor Code
Juritravail, an information website on labor law

Dispute Settlement


Conciliation Process

Cases of Dispute
Physical violence (7%), moral harassment (7,7%), sexual harassment (1,5%), working conditions, etc.
  • Legal Framework
Submission to the council: this is the filing of the request for the procedure of settling work disputes.
Arbitration: conciliation between the parties is achieved. In case of non-conciliation, the procedure is referred to the judgement bureau.
Judgement: the case is judged by the councillors of the industrial tribunal (conseil des prud'hommes).
Remedy at law: the case can be submitted to the appeal court (cours d'appel) and this can review the decision of the industrial tribunal.
  • Procedure
Defined in the Labor Code

Judicial Structures

  • Legal Framework
Defined in the Labor Code
  • Competent Legal Body
The Industrial Tribunal ( Conseil des Prud'hommes)
The occupational safety and health administration (Inspection du Travail ): the contact details by region
For further information, click here (in French).

Social Partners

Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
In France negotiations take place at the national level, at the level of sectors of activity and at the company level.
Unionization Rate
Today 8% of French employees belong to a union, that is twice fewer than 25 years ago. And yet the unions remain strong and active.
The CGT, general labor confederation
The CFDT, French democratic labor confederation (in French)
FO, workers' union
The CFTC, French Christian workers' confederation
The CFE-CGC, management confederation-general confederation of managers
The UNSA, national union of autonomous unions
The Solidaires trade union
Regulation Bodies
The Ministry of Employment

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Experts Views (1)
  • Debt Recovery in France

    In a country that is traditionally less litigious in nature than the U.S., a letter from an 'avocat' notifying a French debtor of a claim has considerable weight.

    Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP on 15 Jun 2010 related to Contracts in France

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  • Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP

    Legal Consulting, the United States