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Recruitment

Advertising

What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?

It is prohibited to make, publish or diffuse an offer of employment that:

  • mentions a higher age limit, unless this is a legal or regulatory obligation; or
  • contains text written in a foreign language.

Moreover, job offers (in the broad sense, emails or internal instructions referring to the intent to recruit or reject a potential employee) cannot include a reference to one of the discriminatory grounds.

Background checks What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries in relation to the following:

(a)Criminal records?

Asking about an applicant's criminal record is neither expressly authorised nor prohibited by the Labour Code. However, since all information requested must relate to the role, it is justified in only a few instances, such as where the role involves the regular use of money (eg, banking activities).

(b)Medical history?

Medical checks that do not relate to the considered role are prohibited before hiring.

(c)Drug screening?

Medical checks that do not relate to the considered role are prohibited before hiring.

(d)Credit checks?

Under Article L.1221-6 of the Labour Code, the information requested by an employer from a prospective employee is strictly limited to matters relating to the role and must be aimed at assessing the employee’s professional skills.

(e)Immigration status?

Employers can check an employee’s immigration status because foreign nationals wishing to work in France must apply for a work permit, which will – if granted – authorise them to enter and reside temporarily in France, as well as work in France.

(f)Social media?

Under Article L.1221-6 of the Labour Code, the information requested by an employer from a prospective employee is strictly limited to matters relating to the role and must be aimed at assessing the employee’s professional skills.

(g)Other?

An employer or recruiter may not require a candidate to provide information about their private life unless it has a direct and necessary connection to the proposed employment (eg, the possession of a driving licence in the case of recruitment as a delivery driver).

Wages and working time

Pay

Is there a national minimum wage and, if so, what is it?

Employees who are employed under an ordinary employment contract (either indefinite or fixed term) are entitled to the minimum wage.

Collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) also frequently provide for minimum wages (depending on job categories).

In 2018 the minimum gross monthly wage (SMIC) was €1,498.47 for a 35-hour working week. As of 1 January 2019, the SMIC has increased by 1.5%, taking into account inflation, and amounts to more than €1,521.

Are there restrictions on working hours?

Usually, employees work 35 hours per week. In addition, employees must not work more than:

  • an average of 44 hours per week during any 12 consecutive weeks;
  • 48 hours during any given week;
  • 10 hours per day; or
  • 220 hours of overtime per year (subject to applicable CBAs or company collective agreements).

Hours and overtime

What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

When employees work more than six hours per day, they are entitled to a rest break of 20 minutes, including a lunch break, unless more favourable provisions are made by an applicable CBA. In many companies, the rules applicable to meal breaks are framed by a CBA or a company collective agreement. Such agreements can provide a minimum duration which, in practice, can vary between 30 minutes and two hours.

How should overtime be calculated?

Overtime hours are paid when the employee works more than an average of 35 hours per week, calculated over a four-week period.

What exemptions are there from overtime?

Special rules apply to autonomous executives (ie, executives of a certain level who freely organise their working time) and employees who can autonomously organise their working schedules. These executives can:

  • agree to a set number of days to be worked each year (this number cannot exceed 218 days, allowing – on average – nine additional days off each year); and
  • renounce some of their days off, depending on the applicable CBA – if there is no applicable CBA, they must not work more than 235 days per year.

However, recent case law has increased the conditions to validly implement this type of working time arrangement. Most notably, the employer must put in place a procedure designed to regularly check the workload of the employee concerned.

The Labour Law 2016 aims to secure this type of arrangement by setting out minimum rules for monitoring the workload of employees where no sufficient provisions are provided for by a collective agreement.

Generally, all employees (including executives) must be granted:

  • a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours; and
  • a weekly rest period of 35 consecutive hours, including Sundays.

If these rules are not respected, the working-days scheme is no longer valid. Therefore, the employee could obtain a back payment of salary for all overtime worked.

Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement?

Employees are entitled to a minimum of five weeks' paid holiday per year, in addition to public holidays.

The law and CBAs grant additional paid leave for employees who have reached a specific length of service and for family-related events. Autonomous executives also benefit from additional days off.

Moreover, France has public holidays, which are not included in the minimum holiday entitlement.

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?

When terminating an employment contract, the employer must give the employee a receipt acknowledging full settlement.

Under French law, pecuniary penalties are strictly prohibited as the employer is not responsible towards the employee, unless gross misconduct has occurred. In some cases, a deduction from wages can be made (eg, in the case of unjustified absences or strike action).

Record keeping

What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

Pay slips (double paper or electronic) and documents concerning employment contracts, wages, bonuses, allowances, balances of any account or pension plans must be kept for five years.

Documents on payroll taxes must be kept for three years.

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