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Seconding employees to France
In a few months, you are intending to send one or several employees to work in France. One of your subsidiaries based in France happens to temporarily need additional staff; your company won a tender and three of your employees will be providing services in Paris; you are supplying workers to help on a construction site in Montpellier… Many circumstances might lead to seconding employees to France. What legal issues do companies based outside of France need to take into account when temporarily posting employees in France? Legislation, paperwork, Social security: your guide to assigning staff in France.
Posting employees in France: what are the requirements?
Three days, three months: secondment must always be temporary and the length of the assignment agreed on in advance. In addition to this general rule, you must meet specific requirements to be able to second an employee to France.
Employers’ business in the home country
Does your company occasionally do business in France, as a subcontractor for instance? You are free to post employees in France for a limited period of time as long as your company:
- is lawfully established in your home country;
- does most of its business in your home country.
Once assignment in France comes to an end, employees must return to the position they had in your company before you sent them abroad.
Purposes of assignment
Many situations might lead to secondment and as an employer, you will need to be mindful of the rules laid down by French employment law which apply to the posting of workers. What are the possible scenarios?
- Service provision
A French construction firm requests your services and expertise: you will be seconding six employees to work for four months on the French construction site.
- Intra-group mobility
Your company is established in Italy and is part of a group which owns a subsidiary based in Strasbourg. Every year, an important professional seminar takes place in the French subsidiary. You are planning to second two of your employees for a week in order to allow them to take part in the seminar.
- Provision of employees for temporary work
Your company specializes in the recruitment and placement of bilingual temporary workers in the telemarketing field. A Parisian call center needs twenty people for a specific campaign. Your employees will spend six weeks on assignment in France.
- Work on your own behalf
An international trade show is taking place in Paris. You wish to know more about the market trends, get an overview of your competitors’ latest innovations, get new contacts… You intend to post two of your employees in France for two weeks: they will attend the trade show before visiting your French clients.
Seconding an employee to France means dealing with compulsory administrative procedures and complying with specific French employment laws.
Completion of formalities
Depending on the country in which your company is based, you will have to complete one or several formalities prior to secondment:
- send a secondment “pre-declaration” (to be completed in French) to the local work directorate of the place of assignment;
- if your company is established in a third State, that is, outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, ask for a work permit for each of the employees you wish to send to France;
- if your company is based in a country whose nationals need a visa to enter France, request a Schengen visa or a long stay visa.
Following French employment rules
During his assignment in France, the employee keeps the employment agreement with his home country employer. This means the employer-employee relationship is maintained. Nevertheless, you must meet the requirements set by French employment law regarding employee working conditions. You need to pay attention to:
- individual and collective freedoms such as the right to go on strike;
- working hours limitations (a maximum of 10 hours per day and 48 hours in the same week);
- providing the right amount of annual paid holidays (2.5 days per month);
- providing compulsory employee benefits;
- paying employees at least the French minimum wage.
Also, if secondment exceeds one month, posted employees must receive a monthly salary and a pay slip translated into French.
You may forget about French law only in some cases. The law of the country in which your company is based applies for issues regarding:
- the employment agreement;
- staff representation;
- vocational training;
- special welfare plans.
Temporary assignment in France and Social security
Secondment allows the employee to keep the benefit of his home country Social security cover during his assignment in France. However, full protection may only be obtained by taking out insurance for employees on assignment in France. The maximum length of secondment and the procedures to follow vary depending on which country your company is based in.
If your business is established inside the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland:
- assignment in France may not last more than 24 months;
- you must complete an A1 form before seconding employees to France.
If your business is established in a third State which has signed a bilateral reciprocal Social security agreement with France:
- assignment in France may last between 6 months and 6 years, depending on the country;
- your employee must leave with a secondment form (the exact name of the form is different from one country to another).
If your business is established in a third State which has no Social security agreement with France:
- your employee cannot leave on a seconded status and will thus benefit from French Social security;
- you will have to pay all compulsory social contributions in France.
To find out more about posting employees in France :
Is your company EU-based? Learn more about assigning workers in France on the CLEISS website.