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Guide to Hire in France as a UK Company

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France is one of the largest economies in the world, and the culture has a rich history of innovation that can help your business reach new heights. The French labour market has strengths in several areas, which makes it an attractive option for companies looking to hire top talent. 

Hiring in France can pose a few major challenges for international companies, especially if they’re not familiar with the complicated local labour laws.

Looking to hire employees in France? Here’s everything you’re going to need to know. 

Understanding the French Market

Expanding into France’s market and hiring in France can provide your business with several avenues to help your company grow. In addition to being one of the leaders in the European Union, recruiting skilled French workers can strategically benefit companies in the United Kingdom. 

Proximity to the United Kingdom

France is close in proximity to the United Kingdom, which can help facilitate more efficient communication among your global staff. Employees who need to travel for work can effectively move around as needed. 

Did you know the distance from the UK to France is 1,092 kilometres? This means your France-based employees could make it to your UK office if they take a short one-hour and fifty-two-minute flight. 

Shared time zones can also help improve your company’s productivity. The close proximity also ensures that there are similar cultural and linguistic ties between your international employees. 

Economic Strength

France has one of the strongest economies in the European Union. As of 2023, France had the seventh largest economy in the world and the second-largest market presence in the EU behind Germany. 

France has strengths in many key industries, such as manufacturing, technology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, energy, and more. Hiring in France can give UK businesses the chance to access a major global market. 

Government Incentives

France has a business-friendly environment with a robust infrastructure that can assist foreign companies in building a presence in the country. The government offers many incentives for international businesses to set up shop. This includes a subsidy for the first French employee you hire and a reduction to apprenticeship taxes, additional tax breaks for hiring employees under the age of 45, and more. 

This includes additional support programs for smaller foreign companies and additional investment opportunities. 

Potential Challenges for UK Companies Hiring in France

Companies who want to hire workers in France can face a few key challenges throughout the entire process. 

This includes ensuring that all tax deductions are properly calculated, along with abiding by local labour laws, such as providing the necessary notice period required according to France’s employment regulations. 

Failure to follow the rules and regulations can lead to hefty penalties, such as financial damages. 

Language Barrier

Despite the UK and France’s close proximity and cultural similarities, the language barrier can be difficult to navigate for UK companies who want to hire talent in France. In 2023, only around 39% of the French population say that they can speak English.

Some of your French employees may not be able to speak English fluently, which can get in the way of communication and collaboration across borders. 

Presence of Trade Unions

France has a strong presence by labor unions across several desirable industries. Collective bargaining agreements and other policies can significantly impact the terms of employment, compensation, and other expectations French workers may have. 

UK companies hiring in France may need to prepare for lengthy discussions or negotiations with unions. Some of the main unions in France include the Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail, the Confédération Française des Travailleurs Chrétiens, and more. 

Complicated Taxes

France’s complicated tax structure and employment laws can be another barrier for UK companies hiring in France. The country has employment laws that guarantee certain rights for French workers, such as employee benefits and leave entitlements. 

A legal employer or company will also need to contribute to various social welfare programs. Recruiting and onboarding French workers through an employer of record can ensure that you follow all the required rules and regulations set by local employment laws. 

These are important factors to keep in mind regarding your overall employment costs.

Local Employment Laws & More: What Should UK Companies Know When Hiring Employees in France?

Hiring in France can help you expand operations into an important European market, but there are also a few important rules and legal responsibilities you’ll need to know before starting the hiring process. To remain compliant throughout the hiring process, you’ll need to learn about France’s local labour laws. 

Right to Disconnect

In 2017, France introduced legislation that gave remote workers the right to disconnect. This helps ensure the rights of remote workers.

The right to disconnect means that remote employees are not obligated to perform work outside of working hours. This can include answering work-related emails, calls, messages, or more to promote a better work-life balance. Workers cannot be punished for not answering messages after a normal workday. 

Employment Contract

Employees in France are given many benefits to promote a better work-life balance, but a legal employer hiring in France must also give a valid employment contract to any prospective worker. 

In France, there are four main employment contract types you should be aware of:

  1. Permanent Employment Contracts: These are the standard employment contracts when hiring in France. Employees are hired to perform a job with no specified end date in the contract. A permanent contract can be fulfilled either on a full-time basis or a part-time basis. Employees are entitled to benefits, job protections, and more. 
  2. Fixed-term Employment Contracts: These employment agreements are for temporary workers and have a determined end date in the contract. There are a few different kinds of fixed-term contracts your company can use. 
  3. Single-term Employment Contract: This contract is used by employers to receive financial aid and help individuals find a suitable job. This can provide employees the opportunity to gain experience and find work in the future.
  4. Apprenticeship Employment Contract: This type of contract is used to acquire young skilled talent and provide them with adequate training. The terms of employment must be specified in writing, and typically these contracts can help an employee obtain qualifications. 

Collective Bargaining Agreements

France has a strong union presence to ensure that workers receive fair rights and compensation. Collective bargaining agreements (CBA) are written legal contracts between employers and unions in an industry that dictate the terms of employment, which can include compensation, annual time off, and benefits. 

A global employer hiring in France will need to ensure that all CBA terms and local labour laws are being met. An EOR in France like Borderless can help you remain compliant, whether you're hiring in your local country or abroad. 

Costs of Hiring in France

UK companies hiring international talent in France can benefit in a range of ways and access a highly skilled workforce. International companies will need to account for some of the mandatory costs of recruiting and onboarding in the French market. 


The minimum wage in France is €11.52 per hour or roughly €1,747.20 per month. However, hiring skilled French workers will likely cost more, as the average salary in France is €2,587


In contrast to the United Kingdom, France has a 35-hour work week, and employees get a one-hour paid break. Any hours worked more than 35 hours must be compensated with overtime premiums. 

In France, employers must pay no less than 110% of an employee’s regular wages. If there is an agreement, companies must pay 125% of a worker’s regular wages for the first eight hours and 150% for any following hours of work. 


British employers hiring in France will need to provide the proper payroll administration, including the required tax withholdings and social security contributions. 

Employer taxes in France are generally anywhere from 42% to 48%. Employers are responsible for the following withholdings for each employee:

  • 7% towards health, maternity, disability, and death insurance
  • 3.45% towards family benefits
  • 0.89% towards supplementary insurance packages
  • 0.77% towards workplace accidents and occupational illnesses insurance
  • 8.55% towards social security (capped)
  • 1.9% towards social security (uncapped)
  • 4.2% towards unemployment insurance
  • 5% towards business allowance
  • 0.41% towards occupational medicine
  • 0.1% towards the fonds national d’aide au logement (FNAL)

Employers must also handle all the necessary tax deductions for employees. France’s tax brackets are:

  • 0%: up to €10,225
  • 11%: €10,226 to €26,070
  • 30%: €26,071 to €74,545
  • 41%: €74,546 to €160,336
  • 45%: over €160,336

Termination, Severance, Notice Period, and Probation

UK companies who want to employ skilled workers in France will need to understand the country’s regulations regarding termination. French labour laws give employees robust protections against losing their jobs. 

French employees can only be legally dismissed in certain cases, and employers will need a justifiable reason for dismissing a worker. Reasonable causes can include:

  • Economic reasons, such as redundancy or a downturn in the company’s margins
  • Personal reasons, such as failure to perform or other misconduct (theft, fraud, insubordination)
  • Mutual consent to end the employment agreement

The notice period in France is determined by the length of the employee’s tenure. Employees who have worked for your company between six months to two years require one month’s notice. Employees with over two years of service require two months. Executive-level roles need three months of notice. 

Probation in France depends on the level of the employee:

  • Regular employees and workers can get up to two months of probation
  • Supervisors and technicians can get up to three months of probation
  • Executives can get up to four months of probation

An employee who was dismissed or agreed to a mutual termination is eligible for severance pay. The specific amount will be determined by the employee’s tenure with your company and any applicable collective bargaining agreement terms. 

After the first ten years of service, employers must pay employees ¼ of their monthly salary per year. Afterwards, employees are eligible to receive ⅓ of their monthly salary per year. 

Leave Entitlement

Like many other EU countries, international companies are required to give workers a generous amount of time off when hiring in France. This may be stated in the collective agreement between an employee and their employer.

Paid Time Off

French workers can receive up to 30 days of paid time off in a single year, and the holiday calendar typically lasts from June 1st to May 31st. Employees accumulate days off at a rate of 2.5 days for each month of work. Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to annual leave regardless of seniority or terms of employment. 

Sick Leave

French employees are also entitled to sick leave depending on the type of illness and their professional status. Employees must have worked for at least 150 hours during the first three months of the fiscal year. 

Parental Leaves

New mothers in France can take up to 16 weeks of maternity leave and must take at least eight weeks of leave. New fathers can take up to 25 days of paternity leave, or 32 if more than one child is born. 

Public Holidays

France also has 11 public holidays:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Easter Monday
  • Labour Day (May 1)
  • Victory Day (May 8)
  • Ascension Day (39 days after Easter Sunday)
  • Whit Monday (50 days after Easter and falls on a Monday, as the name suggests)
  • Bastille Day (July 14)
  • Assumption Day (August 15)
  • All Saints’ Day (November 1)
  • Armistice (November 22)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Difference provinces and collective bargaining term agreements may specify additional days off throughout the year. 


Employees in France are guaranteed certain benefits. In addition to the time off requirements and job protections, companies hiring in France commonly provide supplemental benefits packages to attract and retain top talent in the country. 

Additional benefits can include:

How to Legally Hire Employees in France

UK companies who want to attract skilled French workers can legally hire international employees in two ways. Businesses can set up their own local entity and handle all aspects of the hiring process themselves, or you can partner with an employer of record if you want to streamline every detail. 

Set Up a Local Entity

One of the ways a company can legally hire French employees is by setting up its own local entity. Companies that set up their own local entities are responsible for administering payroll, enrolling employees in benefits programs, drafting contracts of employment, and the required tax withholdings for each employee. Failure to comply with local laws can lead to harsh penalties and fines. 

To open up a subsidiary in France, you’ll need a residence permit, a social security number, and a valid French address, in addition to any additional required documentation or qualifications. 

Setting up your own local entity can benefit larger companies, but it can be time-consuming and expensive, which might not make it a good choice for smaller companies. Business leaders will also need to stay up-to-date with employment laws in the country. 

Engage a Legal Employer of Record

Partnering with an employer of record (EOR) can simplify everything about hiring an employee, including onboarding and contracts of employment. Your EOR in France will act as the local entity for you and will handle all the complicated aspects of hiring employees.

With an employer of record, your company won’t need to worry about administering payroll or understanding important local labour laws. Instead, you can spend more time and energy on managing your staff and fostering an ideal workplace culture. 

Why Borderless?

Borderless is an employer of record that can help you compliantly hire top talent from 170+ countries around the world, including France. Book a demo with us today to see how employers of record services can help you expand your talent pool.

Disclaimer: Borderless does not provide legal services or legal advice to anyone. This includes customers, contractors, employees, partners, and the general public. We are not lawyers or paralegals. Please read our full disclaimer here.


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