Employment Contracts in France

Understand what to expect from the system when you start working in France...

When you start work in France, you will be given a work contract, either verbally or in writing. 

French employment contracts should include the following:

  • Employee's job title and professional qualification
  • Salary and bonus
  • Convention Collective relative to the employment (an agreement between employers' associations and trades unions regarding work conditions and agreements)
  • Notice period in case of resignation (unless otherwise stipulated in the Convention Collective)
  • Place of work
  • Holidays
  • Duration of the contract
  • Trial period
  • Notice period
Job contracts often include:

  • Clause de mobilité: A mobility clause which states that the employee agrees to accept any future job transfer. Not agreeing to do so at the time of transfer can be cause for dismissal
  • Clause de non-concurrence: This clause, a non-compete agreement, states that an employee cannot work for a competitor or a company in the same sector for a limited time-period following dismissal or resignation
The contract must be in French; however, you do have the right to have the contract translated into your native language.

There are different types of employment contract in France, depending on whether your are being hired for a fixed or open-ended term, and whether the position is full or part-time. 

Details of the various contract types are given on the next page.

Ending an Employment Contract

There are a number of different ways that an employment contract can be ended. In addition to redundancy or resigning, there is also the option to negotiate your departure through mutual agreement, this is called Rupture Conventionelle. If a situation is untenable, this is often a worthwhile option to look into, and still allows you to benefit from unemployment benefits, but advice from a lawyer before starting the procedure is advisable. Note that an employer cannot impose a Rupture Conventionelle on you to avoid having to make you redundant.

For redundancy and mutual agreements, there are specific procedures that the employer must respect and failing to do so allows the employee to file a complaint at the work Tribunal, called Prud’homme, where the employee can also claim damages.

If you are subjected to any form of discrimination or bullying at work (harcèlement moral), you are entitled to request that the contract is ended via the work tribunal without losing any severance pay that is due or unemployment benefits. Damages are also due in these cases. Examples of reasons to request the contract is ended (called résiliation judiciaire du contrat) include any sexual or racial discrimination, isolation, degradation of work conditions and any form of bullying to try and force you to resign.

Regardless of the type of job contract, when it comes to ending employment the employer has to give you the following documents at the end of the contract:

Further Information