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Overview of France

France is the largest country in the Europe Union and has a population of 66 million with the capital – Paris – claiming 11 million of these inhabitants. Paris it the third most visited city by tourists in the world, behind Bangkok and London. France has the second largest economy in the EU after Germany and lies in seventh position in the world. French people appreciate it when one at least tries to speak their native language – even if many speak good English. Try to make an excellent first impression by dressing correctly as the French are known for their excellent fashion sense. French businesspeople are straightforward, to the point and questioning. They tend to focus on long-term business relationships.

Currency of France

  • Euro

Health Insurance and the Social Security system of France

In France, all residents must have some form of health insurance by law – be it state or private. The French social security system has been praised throughout the world as being one of the most comprehensive systems. It covers 70-100% of all costs for such things as doctors visits and hospital visits.

If offers extensive coverage for all citizens, no matter their age or economic system. Its services include doctors, hospital visits and specialists.

The French healthcare system is funded by the social security contributions (sécurité sociale) that come directly out of an employee’s pay check. It is also partially funded by the government.

When going to a doctor, the patient usually pays a flat fee for any visit. Most of the cost will be automatically reimbursed by the state-run health insurance provider. This leaves the patient paying between 0 and 6€ per visit, depending on the healthcare insurance and the medical condition.

The cost of medicine is among the lowest in all of Europe.

Employer cost of France

The cost for an employer to hire someone in France is a plus of 45.00% to the gross salary.

Salary and bonuses of France

Regular employees are paid once a month.

Some companies pay an extra wage in June and/or December. Employees must have their salary reviewed once a year. This will either be done by an individual discussion or, if the employee is part of a trade union, the union will represent them in the annual discussion.

Public Holidays in France

In France there are 11 national public holidays.

  • January 1st – New Years Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • May 1st – Labour Day
  • May 8th – Victory Day
  • Ascension Day
  • Whit Monday
  • July 14th – Bastille Day
  • August 15th – Assumption of Mary
  • November 1st – All Saints Day
  • November 11th – Armistice Day
  • December 25th – Christmas
  • December 26th – Saint Stephan’s day

Working Hours in France

The legal work week in France is 35 hours. Regular working hours are between 8:30/9:00am and 6:30/7:00pm. The work day may not exceed 10 hours. After working for 4.5 hours, one is entitled to a break.

Overtime is calculated as follows: for the first 8 hours (from the 36th to the 43rd hour) one gets 25% extra. After that, one receives 50% for each hour worked overtime.

Vacation in France

In France one receives 2.5 days of holiday for every month worked. The equates to 30 days a years.

Sick Leave in France

When one becomes sick in France, one has 48 hours to notify the employer as well as the CPAM (the organisation for basic health insurance) that one is sick and requires sick leave. The doctor signs a note called a ‘avis d’arrêt de travail’. This is sent to the employer and the CPAM. The employee’s reimbursement can arrive in 2 ways, depending on the preference of the employer. Either the employer receives the money and this is added to the employee’s payslip or the employee receives the reimbursement directly and the amount they receive is deducted from their payslip.

Termination/Severance in France

In France, there are 2 reasons an employee can be dismissed for – personal reasons and economic reasons. Under personal reasons one understands grave errors, personal insufficiency or insufficiency or results. Under economic reasons would be if the company is in a difficult economic situation, a transfer of activities or a cessation of activities. If a dismissal occurs for the above reasons, these must have occurred less than 2 months before the dismissal is voiced. A written notice must be delivered to the employee requesting a preliminary hearing to discuss the termination. This must be either hand delivered or by registered mail. No less than 5 days after the notice is sent, the meeting must take place between the employee and the employer. During the interview, the formal termination letter with the reasons for the termination is presented. A minimum of 3 months notice period starts from the date of the reception of the termination letter. These 3 months can either be worked by the employee or the salary can be paid out. A dismissal allowance is also required to be paid in addition to the 3 months notice period. For a permanent position, the severance pay is calculated as follows: 1/5 of a months salary for every year worked. If is was a fixed term contract, the usual amount is 10% of the total contract salary plus 43-45% contributions.