Answer ... French employment law is derived from many sources, but one of the major sources is the French Labour Code.
Other sources include decisions of the Labour Chamber of the Court of Cassation (the French Supreme Court), agreements concluded with works councils, customary practices and unilateral undertakings.
Answer ... Employees are usually governed by an industry-wide collective bargaining agreement (CBA) applicable to the branch of activity to which their employer belongs. The CBA outlines many terms and conditions of employment, including the duration of probationary periods, working time limitations, classification, minimum wage requirements, termination indemnities and notice, as well as potential mandatory provisions such as annual bonus, welfare scheme (in case of death/disability/incapacity) and non-compete agreements.
Answer ... Employment contracts are generally used at all levels. As a general rule, employment contracts are written. They must be drafted in the French language. Employment contracts must comply with mandatory statutory law and the applicable CBA. To a certain extent, and with some exceptions, the provisions of an employment contract may deviate from statutory law and the applicable CBA, provided that this is more favourable for the employee.
French employment contracts typically include the following provisions:
- status of employee;
- job title;
- job description;
- applicable CBA;
- place of work;
- probationary period;
- working time;
- paid vacation; and
- main benefits.
They may also include specific clauses, such as a mobility clause, exclusivity clause, post-termination non-compete covenant, termination indemnity clause, confidentiality clause, data privacy clause and invention/IT clause.
The use of fixed-term employment contracts is strictly limited by law. The employer must be able to justify the following:
- Fixed-term contracts are used only for the performance of a specific and temporary task;
- The use of fixed-term contracts does not have as its purpose or effect the permanent filling of a position relating to the usual and permanent activity of the company; and
- Fixed-term contracts are used only in specific cases set forth by law (eg, temporary increase in activity, replacement of absent employee).
Both fixed-term and part-time employment contracts must necessarily be in writing and contain strictly regulated clauses. In case of non-compliance, a fixed-term employment contract may be qualified as an indefinite-term contract and a part-time contract may be qualified as a full-time employment contract.