Employment Agreement Adjustments in France

PTO, notice periods, bonuses, and more.

Updated on December 20th, 2022

Can we adjust paid time off (PTO)?

Yes, paid time off (PTO) can be adjusted so long as the supported employee receives the statutory leave entitlement. Please note, however, that the accrual cycle and the rules regarding the expiration date of holidays as provided by French law cannot be changed.

Can we adjust working hours?

Yes, however, please note that French law is very strict and complicated when it comes to working hour regulations and therefore needs to be carefully considered.

In general, the standard working hours in France is 35 hours per week. Overtime must be tracked by employers and is payable to the supported employee with a maximum of 220 hours per year.

Under Portage Salarial (our business setup in France), supported employees are placed under a “day schedule” (218 days per year in our Collective Bargaining Agreement). Under a day schedule, there is no overtime tracking or payment. The supported employee’s overtime is considered to be already included in their remuneration under this scheme. In compensation for this, the supported employee is entitled to 9–12 extra days off, called Reduction of Working Time (RTT) days. This is on top of the five-week paid time-off entitlement.

This day schedule exception to the 35 hours rule is recommended for remote workers, for whom the liability for overtime above 35 hours may otherwise be high and difficult to track.

Can we remove the notice period?

No. As per French law and our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the notice period cannot be removed or altered and is as follows:

  • One month in the event of resignation
  • One month in the event of dismissal when the supported employee has less than two years of seniority
  • Two months in the event of dismissal when the supported employee has been employed for two years or more

Can we remove or increase the probationary period?

Yes, the probationary period may be renewed once for the equivalent period of time, with the express agreement of the involved parties.

The probationary period can be reduced from four to three months, or it may be removed entirely. Please note that setting a probation period is highly recommended (unless a supported employee has previously worked for you or we are transferring a supported employee from our in-country partner) since French termination processes are long and complicated. 

Please note that employers in France do not have the right to change an employment agreement in any vital way (such as the supported employee’s responsibilities, salary, workplace, or working hours) without the supported employee’s permission. 

Can we add commissions, bonuses, or ad hoc payroll items?

Yes, bonuses and allowances can be added to the employment agreement via an addendum. Commissions are usually detailed in a variable commission plan.

How can we offer equity or stocks to our supported employees?

In France, we offer our clients the option of issuing equity as either “nonemployee” or “employee” grants. Two conditions apply:

  • For clients that issue equity as “nonemployee” grants, we do not facilitate withholding and payroll reporting unless the award is cash settled
  • For clients that issue equity as “employee” grants, we do facilitate withholding and payroll reporting

How can we offer equity without signing a direct agreement between our supported employee and us? 

We require you to directly issue the grant notice (i.e., side agreement) to your supported employee. This side agreement should not include any language that indicates a direct employer or employee relationship between you and your supported employee.