Living and working conditions

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Working conditions

Leave (annual leave, parental leave etc)

    All employees have a right to paid leave once they have worked at least one month during the reference period (which runs from 1 June of the previous year to 31 May of the current year).
    Employees are entitled to two and a half working days’ leave per month worked, i.e. five weeks of paid leave per year worked.
    In principle only periods actually worked are taken into account when calculating the entitlement to paid leave. Periods of absence from work are not counted. However, certain periods are regarded as periods actually worked (annual leave in the previous year, maternity leave, training leave, or sick leave) if the collective agreement specifies this.
    Dates of paid leave are decided by mutual agreement between the employer and the employee, or, failing that, by the employer.
    • Sick leave:in order to receive daily sickness benefit, contributions must have been paid for 200 hours during the 3 months prior to going off sick. On presentation of form E104, the periods for which contributions have been paid in another European country are taken into account.
    • Maternity leave: 16 weeks for one child (6 weeks before and 10 weeks after the birth).
    • Paternity leave: 11 consecutive calendar days in the event of a single birth and 18 days in the case of a multiple birth, calculated from the child’s date of birth. This leave cannot be split up. It can be taken together with the three days of leave granted on the birth of a child.
    • Child-care leave: following maternity leave, in order to look after the child, either employed parent may ask for this leave. Maximum duration: three years.
    • Parental leave (to look after a child who is disabled, has suffered an accident or is seriously ill).
    • Individual training leave (CIF): this cannot exceed one year. Continued part-payment of the salary is guaranteed.
    • Sabbatical leave (on personal grounds): between 6 and 11 months.
    Eligibility for some of these types of leave may be conditional upon length of service in the company or minimum contributions paid to the public social security scheme.
    France has 10 public holidays: 1 January, Easter Monday, 1 May (Labour Day), 8 May (End of the Second World War), Ascension Thursday, 14 July (Bastille Day), 15 August (Assumption), 1 November (All Saints), 11 November (End of the First World War) and 25 December (Christmas Day).
    Only 1 May is a guaranteed paid holiday. The other public holidays are generally only paid if they fall on an ordinary working day.


Text last edited on: 06/2014

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