Youth Employment

Opportunities and regulations for work for teenagers in France...

Youth unemployment (chômage des Jeunes) is a problem throughout France. Schools continue to stress the importance of obtaining qualifications and in particular the Baccalauréat (bac). For French students this is taken at age 18 and is the entrance qualification to higher education.

The legal side of working in France is governed by French labour law (code du travail). France has a mandatory 35-hour working week and there is often flexibility over when these hours are worked. Overtime is allowed but there are strict limits on the amount of this.

From the age of 16 youngsters may begin working formally, and often do so in the form of an apprenticeship.

Over 14s may also take on holiday jobs but they must (if they are under 16) still have a minimum amount of holiday time and are only permitted to do jobs which are suitable for them physically. They are subject to the same rules regarding the maximum number of hours worked and they may not do night work. Rules apply regarding contracts and minimum levels of pay. Employers must get permission from the Inspection du Travail before employing under 16s.

  • Information about summer jobs from the Ministry of Employment website (in French)

Seasonal jobs are available throughout the year in France many of them within the tourist industry. In addition there is grape picking (vendange) and fruit picking. None of these jobs are particularly well paid but employees should in theory be paid at least the minimum wage (SMIC).