Labor Law Changes in France

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The Labor Law in France covers all issues related to employment, labor laws, and regulations. The terms and conditions of employment are clearly stated. The law also ensures employee representation and talks about discrimination, maternal and family leaves, as well as rights of all workers. There are a total of 35 jurisdictions focused on labor law in France.

Here are some of the recent changes to French labor laws:

Minimum Wage

The law states that no employer can pay his employee a wage that is less than the official minimum wage (SMIC). In 2021, the official wage for working 35 hours per week is set at 1,554.58 Euros.

According to the collective agreement, the contract of employment can also have a minimum wage that has been decided based on the employee’s skill set and what they bring to the business. However, this must be agreed upon by both parties.

Working Time

The working hours are set at 35 hours per week. However, employees are allowed to work overtime if they want to or if they have made a working arrangement with their employer. Of course, for this, rules have to be applied, and there needs to be a consensual agreement on working times from both parties.

In 2014, the law stated that for part-time contracts, employees must work a minimum of 24 hours per week. For a shorter working time, there needs to be a corresponding collective agreement. Exceptions can be made if the employee has personal reasons, such as the need to work multiple jobs, or if they are a student.

In exceptional cases, an employee cannot, by law, work more than:

  • 48 hours a week.
  • 44 hours a week on average during 12 consecutive weeks.
  • 10 hours a day.

Moreover, in exceptional cases, employees must take a rest day per week which must entail 24 hours of rest, alongside a rest day on Sundays.


The Labor Code (section L. 1132-1) and the Criminal Code (sections L.225 to L.225-4) both condemn discrimination and take strict measures against it. The state has taken several measures to ensure professional equity between both genders.

As of 2019, workplaces that have more than 50 employees must publish the pay gap between men and women in the workplace and what measures they are taking to combat this problem. The employer is deemed, by law, to figure out a way to squash these differences within a period of three years. Otherwise, they will face financial penalties from the state.

Maternity Leave

In France, maternity leave is adjusted depending on each employee’s individual conditions and family situation. Below are some examples of maternity leave given to employees:

  • If there is a single birth in a family that has two children, the employee is given 16 weeks off from work.
  • If there is a single birth in a family that has three children, the employee is given 26 weeks off from work.
  • If the employee has twins, she is given 34 weeks off from work.
  • If she has triplets or more, she is given 46 weeks off from work.

Maternity leave starts before childbirth and continues after childbirth as well in order to protect the employee’s health and ensure a fulfilling family life.


For more on France and its labor laws, visit Global People Strategist and ask for a demo!

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