Expat Guide To Understanding The Employment System in France

Many people relocate to France in order to change careers, start a new business or study at university. In any case, it is advisable to know the employment system of France in order to know your rights and accurately assess your opportunities. General information about employment contracts, income taxation, unemployment registration or being a sole trader in France is provided here; however Anglo Info’s guide to moving to France has more detailed information regarding France’s employment system.

Non-resident foreigners are obliged to have a work permit or another form of official government approval to work in the country. Different careers, occupations and categories have their own programs and procedures that a foreigner must comply with. However, having a work permit does not mean that a person can live in France forever. In order to live here permanently an expat must fulfill the immigration conditions.

Generally speaking, employment contracts in France are provided in French; however, an expatriate can have it translated into a language more suitable for him or her. There are two different contracts – open-ended or fixed and part or full-time. It should be noted that income in France is paid in gross, without tax deduction. Therefore, it is the responsibility of an individual to save enough money to pay French taxes in May.

If a person is moving to France and plans to be self-employed, they should be registered as an individual operator, sole trader or as a company. According to French law, there are several legal options for working as a freelancer or an independent contractor: a person wishing to do so must register the activity as a business, become an auto-entrepreneur and work under the Cheque Emploi or Portage Salarial. France’s Cheque Emploi system extends only to some domestic and manual jobs.

On the other hand, Portage Salarial is an umbrella structure in which people with approved activities can perform their work without obligation to register as a business. The system is suitable for those who provide intellectual services like translation, design, IT and tele-marketing, to name a few.

Moreover, having the status of an auto-entrepreneur makes the registration process as a small business easier if an entrepreneur wants to run a business under Micro-BNC or Micro-BIC tax systems.

In terms of termination of the contract or firing, a person is advised to register at an Employment Centre (Pôle-Emploi) to find another job. The center also makes sure that the person gets all the benefits to which they’re entitled. The Employment Centre provides information for both employees and employers. Here an employee can look at the vacancies available on the market and upload a CV for potential employers to view.

If a person is fired, they should register as unemployed to receive the unemployment benefit. However, the process of getting those benefits is rather complex and depends on a person’s conditions and age. One of the requirements for the benefit is to be employed for at least 122 days (or 610 hours) during the past 28 months. Additionally, a person must have been dismissed and can’t have left the job of their own free will in order to potentially qualify for unemployment benefits.

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