In this page, we’ll break down all you need to know about leave laws in France.
Read on to learn about employees’ rights in regards to paid time off/annual leave, sick leave, parental leave, national/public holidays, and more.
This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.
All employees are entitled to paid time off in France. PTO/annual leave is accrued at a rate of 2.5 days per month worked, totaling 30 working days or five weeks per year.
Paid leave is accrued based on time worked with the employer in the most recent year (running from the 1st of June to 31st of May), and any partial days are rounded up.
For example, if an employee works 11 months in this 12 month period, the following year they will get 28 days of PTO (11 x 2.5 = 27.5, rounded up to 28).
Employees must take at least 12 consecutive days off between May 1 and October 31. The rest of their leave can be taken when they wish, all at once or in installments, but employees are not allowed to take more than four weeks or 24 consecutive working days at a time.
Leave can be required to be taken by the end of the leave year (31st of May). If the employee leaves their job, they must be paid out any outstanding earned paid leave, except in cases of serious or gross misconduct.
Though annual leave is paid, workers do not receive their regular salary while on holiday/leave.
They instead receive a paid leave allowance, which is calculated taking into account various factors, including salary, overtime, premiums and commissions.
If an employee has worked at least 150 hours in the previous 90 days, and has contributed to social security, they are entitled to six months of paid sick leave.
If they have worked at least 600 hours in the last 12 months, the employee is entitled to 12 months of paid sick leave.
This leave is paid for by social security, at 50% of the employee’s regular salary.
France has the following public holidays:
|1 January||New Year’s Day|
|7 April||Good Friday|
|10 April||Easter Monday|
|1 May||Labour Day|
|8 May||Victory Day|
|18 May||Ascension Day|
|28 May||Whit Sunday|
|29 May||Whit Monday|
|14 July||Bastille Day|
|15 August||Assumption Day|
|1 November||All Saints’ Day|
|11 November||Armistice Day|
|25 December||Christmas Day|
|26 December||St Stephen’s Day|
Public holidays do not transfer to another day (e.g. Friday or Monday) if they fall on a weekend.
Only the 1st of May is an obligatory paid day off. If an employee works on this day, they must be paid 200% of their regular pay for that day.
On all other holidays, employees do not receive extra pay for working on that day.
While a day off on public holidays (excluding May 1st) is not compulsory, the law states that: “unemployment on public holidays may not lead to any loss of wages for the employee who has at least 3 months of seniority in the company.”
Thus, if a public holiday falls on an employee’s regular working day, and they are given the day off, they must be paid their regular wages.
Maternity leave in France is obligatory – mothers must take a certain period off work for their pregnancy.
Mothers must take a minimum of eight weeks off work, including six weeks after birth.
Total entitlement for maternity leave is as follows:
Mothers can give up some of their entitled maternity leave, but must meet the minimum as stated above.
Mothers giving birth to twins are entitled to 12 weeks before birth and 22 weeks after, while mothers giving birth to three or more children at once are entitled to 24 weeks prior to birth and 22 weeks after.
The employment contract is suspended when an employee is on maternity leave, and they are paid a daily allowance from social security, of no less than €10.24 no greater than €95.22 per day.
Employees are entitled to 25 days of paternity leave.
This includes one mandatory period of four calendar days immediately following birth (including the day of birth).
The remaining 21 days can be taken at once or in up to two periods, with each being a minimum duration of five days.
As long as the father meets certain conditions (such as service time, contributions to social security), they are paid a daily allowance from social security, of no less than €10.24 no greater than €95.22 per day (the same calculation as maternity leave).
Employees are entitled to unpaid adoption leave (a portion may be covered by social security) of 16-18 weeks + 25 days if adopting one child, and 22 weeks + 32 days if adopting two or more.
This can be divided between the two parents, with a minimum duration of 25 days each (32 days if adopting multiple children), and a maximum of two periods, which can be following each other or simultaneous.
If an employee’s dependent child (under 20 years old) has “illness, disability or accident of a particular gravity”, the employee can take parental leave, of a maximum of 310 working days in a 3 year period, for each child and for each sickness, accident or disability.
This leave may be allowed to be renewed for an additional 620 days after this period.
The employment contract is suspended during this time, but the employee’s job is protected. The employee may be able to collect social security compensation during this period.
Employees in France are entitled to paid bereavement leave, for the following cases/durations:
Employees are also entitled to unpaid “Family Solidarity Leave” to support loved ones at the end of their life (in an advanced or terminal phase of a serious and incurable condition).