Types of Job Contracts in France

Understand the various types of job contract that exist in France...

When you start working in France, it is likely that your job contract falls into one of the two main categories:

  1. Contrat à Durée Indéterminée (CDI): contracts with an unlimited term
  2. Contrat à Durée Déterminée (CDD): fixed-term contracts
  • Also, the Contrat temporaire ou d'intérim (Part time or Temporary Job Contract)

Contrat à Durée Indéterminée (CDI)

This is a permanent job contract with no end-date. Employment usually begins with a two- to three-month trial period, which can be renewed. A written job contract is not compulsory (a verbal agreement can be sufficient) unless the convention collective stipulates one, although the employer must inform the employee in writing of the primary responsibilities of the job. The contract for part-time CDI posts must in writing.

  • More information on CDI from Service Public (in French)
Either party may choose to end the contract. The notice period must be adhered to.

Contrat à Durée Déterminée (CDD)

This is a fixed-term contract for a specific duration of employment. It can be renewed twice. There is no minimum time-period, however the length of a CDD cannot exceed the maximum authorised length, which is between 9-24 months depending on contract type. After this period, the employment must cease or the contract be transferred to a CDI. The employee's rights and obligations are identical to those of a person with a CDI. A CDD can only be used in the following situations:
  • Seasonal work
  • To replace an employee who is absent for illness, maternity, holiday, training or parental leave
  • In the case of state-funded contracts
  • To accommodate temporary increased staffing needs
A CDD cannot be given for jobs considered dangerous. A CDD contract must be in writing, in French and be signed by the employee. Failing one of these conditions, the CDD is automatically transformed into a CDI. A CDD contract must include the start and end date of the contract, or the minimum duration if it doesn’t have exact dates. Length of trial period, name of the person who is being replaced, job title, salary, convention collective and caisse de retraite complémentaire must also be included. Note: if the employer fails to give the employee a copy of the contract within two working days, the CDD could be transformed into a CDI. At the end of the contract, the employee has the right to a bonus, which should be at least 10 percent of the total gross salary, unless the convention collectif imposes a lower percentage.

CDD à objet défini

This type of contract is a fixed-term contract for a specific duration of employment, 18-36 months, at the end of a mission. It is reserved for engineers and cadres. It cannot be renewed.

Contrat de Travail Temporaire ou d’Intérim (Temporary/Agency Job Contracts)

The contract conditions are almost the same as for a CDD except that there are three parties involved, the employer, the employee and the employment agency. Companies can only use temporary employees for short-term activities. The employee is hired and paid for each placement by the agency. In most cases the length of the job contract cannot exceed 18 months, but there are exceptions to this. At the end of the contract, the employee has the right to a bonus, which should be at least 10 percent of the total gross salary.

Contrat de Travail CDD Senior

This is a fixed term contract for people aged 57 and over who have been looking for a job for more than three months, or who benefits from a contrat de sécurisation professionnelle (CSP). The contract is maximum 18 month, renewable for a further 18 months, only if the CDD is shorter than three months.

Emploi d'Avenir (Employment for the Future)

This contract is intended for unemployed persons aged 16 to 25, with a niveau bac or less, who has serious difficulties to enter on the job market. Special conditions apply to disabled persons. The contract can be a CDI or a CDD. For a CDD, the minimum period is one year, and it can be maximum three years, including renewals. It can be part time, or full time. For a certain time (up to three years), the young employee will be monitored by both a representative of Cap emploi and a mentor within the company. The three must meet regularly.

Contrat de Travail à Temps Partiel (Part time Job Contract)

This contract can exist as a CDI or a CDD and can apply to any employee who works less than 35 hours a week. The annual total cannot exceed 1,607 hours. A part-time job contract must always be in writing and should mention the following:
  • Employee's job title
  • Salary
  • Monthly or weekly amount of hours
  • The maximum overtime allowed
  • Weekly or monthly division of work time
  • When and how weekly or monthly hours can be modified
The employer must give seven days' notice to change the times that the employee is expected to work. The employee can refuse any modification unless it is stipulated in the job contract. If the employee works more than two hours overtime for twelve consecutive weeks or for twelve out of fifteen weeks the job contract must be changed to allow for the extra hours. Seven days' notice is required and the employee must agree to any changes.

Ending an Employment Contract

Regardless of the type of job contract, the employer has to give the following documents to the employee at the end of the contract:

Further Information