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The Employer
Under French employment laws it is required that an employee in France be employed by an employer registered to do business in France (ex. SARL, etc.). The employment law is clear that direct employment of a French national in France by a foreign company is not permitted except in the limited exception of one sales employee, engaged in direct sales, working from the home of the employee. French employment agreements are advised.

Engaging Consultants
Engaging services as a “consultant” in France must be viewed with great caution under French employment law. In the event an employment bond is found, the “consultant” may file a labor claim in court, claiming the sums he or she deems to be entitled. In addition, labor authorities may file charges that statutory contributions have not been paid on behalf of the “consultant”.

The Employment Agreement
A written employment agreement must be executed in the French language, detailing the required terms and conditions. Any probationary period, compensated post employment non-competition or other restrictive covenant must be clearly stated. An employment agreement must be registered at the appropriate Labor Office upon commencement of employment.

Terminating the Employment Relationship
The termination of an employment contract by the employer (other than for “faute grave”) must carefully follow a prescribed procedure, involving pre-termination meeting with right of accompaniment, notices in the French language and specific waiting periods. Notice of termination (or payment in lieu) and severance is generally by CBA provision, or contract if more favorable. Unjust termination (ex. without a carefully documented performance case or redundancy basis) can give rise to claim for damages, often involving many months of salary. Further damages can arise if the termination was found to be “brusque and abrupt”.

POST EMPLOYMENT
NON-COMPETITION
Recent court decisions in France now make it clearly required that a period of post employment non-competition must be supported by substantial payment to the former employee for the restrictive provision to be found valid under French employment law.

35 HOUR WORK WEEK

France has introduced a mandatory 35 hour work week. For employees not subject to close monitoring of hours (ex. sales) additional remunerated time off in
compensation is required.

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