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What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?
Newspapers that specialise in advertising jobs are permitted, as long as they are free. On the other hand, the publication of job adverts in the general press is permitted as long as the publication does not have the specific purpose of advertising jobs.
All published job adverts must be dated. An employer can advertise an anonymous offer, but in order to do so, it must provide its name and address to the director of the publication or the person in charge of the means of advertisement.
French law prohibits adverts which:
- are written in a foreign language (concerning services to be performed on French territory);
- make false or misleading statements about the main characteristics of the job offered;
- mention an upper age limit;
- mention any discriminatory criteria.
What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries in relation to the following:
(a) Criminal records?
Criminal records in France are available only to the individual to whom they concern and cannot be obtained by third parties (ie, their employer). The general rule is that any request made by an employer to obtain a copy of a criminal record is prohibited.
Some provisions allow certain employers, such as securities companies or regulated professions (eg, attorneys and bankers) to request copies of criminal records.
(b) Medical history?
Job applicants are not required to inform their future employer of their state of health or disability. Only an occupational doctor is entitled to be informed during a medical check-up. An employer cannot collect information on the size, weight or vision of job candidates.
(c) Drug screening?
It is not permitted to use routine drug screening tests in the workplace. However, a drug screening can be considered if the position in question justifies it (eg, a security position or a position in the transportation industry) and the job applicant is informed about the screening process.
(d) Credit checks?
Employers cannot seek or collect information relating to an applicant’s bank accounts or loans.
(e) Immigration status?
Employers are entitled to ask a candidate to provide his or her civil status and nationality. However, the principle of non-discrimination forbids the employer from dismissing or failing to hire a candidate because of his or her nationality.
(f) Social media?
No specific provision forbids an employer from using social media in order to collect information about an applicant. However, no personal information can be collected without the candidate being informed. This means that an employer should inform applicants that it investigates social media. Further, the Labour Code contains a general obligation of proportionality (between the position of the employee and the information requested), which applies to the collection and processing of personal data on employees, whether they are potential hires or existing employees. This means that information can be collected about an employee only if the information is intended to assess the professional abilities of the person.
An employer may gather information concerning the professional training of an employee, his or her diplomas, his or her references and his or her past professional and work experience – but only in order to ensure his or her professional competence. French courts strictly apply these rules and do not allow employers to request information about an employee's private life. For example, an employer can ask for copies of a candidate’s diplomas but cannot ask for his or her whole school file.
Wages and working time
Is there a national minimum wage and, if so, what is it?
Yes, the legal minimum gross monthly wage for a 35-hour working week is currently €1,480.27. The amount changes every year. Collective bargaining agreements often provide for higher minimum wages for employees.
Are there restrictions on working hours?
The legal working week for employees in France is 35 hours. If employees work a greater number of hours per week, overtime must be paid at an increased rate, and in certain cases, additional time off must be granted. The working time legislation in France has undergone significant reform in recent years.
Working time may be organised in a more flexible way for certain categories of employee (eg, executives) by providing for a set number of days per year to be worked. In this working time scheme the employee is entitled to additional days off.
The law on working hours does not apply to senior executives or to a restricted category of employees who are part of the management of a company and have high levels of responsibility and independence, who are free to organise their working time as they wish.
Hours and overtime
What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?
Employees may not work more than 10 hours per day and may not work more than a maximum average of 44 hours per week over a 12-week period. They may not work more than a maximum of 48 hours in any one week. These maximum limits do not apply to senior executives or employees who work a fixed number of days per year.
Generally, all employees must be entitled to a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours and a weekly rest period of at least 24 hours per week, to which the daily rest period of 11 hours is added (ie, a total of 35 consecutive hours' rest).
How should overtime be calculated?
Unless an employee is subject to an exemption (eg, senior executives or executives with a set number of working days per year), any hours worked over 35 hours within the same week are considered as overtime hours and are therefore calculated on the basis of the week considered.
What exemptions are there from overtime?
The two main exceptions concern senior executives or certain executives if they are subject to a specific working time arrangement which sets a number of days worked per year in accordance with a collective bargaining agreement. Other exceptions exist concerning non-executive employees. For example, through a company collective bargaining agreement it is possible to set a weekly working-time duration of more than 35 hours, but not greater than 39 hours throughout the whole year, in exchange for a number of additional days off per year.
Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement?
Employees are entitled to a minimum of five weeks' paid holiday per year. In addition, there are approximately 11 days of French bank holidays per year.
Employees may benefit from additional leave provided for by law or an industry-wide collective bargaining agreement in certain specific circumstances (eg, depending on length of service or for family events).
What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?
Employers are liable for the payment of both employer and employee social security contributions and must withhold the contributions from the employee's gross monthly salary.
Social security contributions in France are considered to be high compared to other European countries: employer social security contributions amount to approximately 43% of an employee's gross salary and employee social security contributions amount to approximately 22% of gross salary.
What payroll and payment records must be maintained?
An employer has an obligation to keep a copy of each employee’s payslip for five years following the issuance of the payslip.
Documents relating to social contributions and taxes paid on salaries by an employer must be kept by the employer for three years.
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