What you should know about posting employees to France within the EU

26 November 2020
Nicola Kömpf

In recent years, France has steadily tightened up its legislation on the posting of workers to prevent undeclared work and social dumping.

The latest legislation entered into force on 30 July 2020.

The posting of workers to France therefore represents a significant financial risk for foreign companies with temporary activities in France.

Even if the employment contract between the foreign company and the posted worker is subject to foreign law, the worker is subject to certain aspects of French law while working in France. New stricter rules have been in force since 30 July 2020.

In particular, a distinction is made between postings of more or less than 12 months.

Parts of French law are, according to Art. L.1262-2 of the French Labour Code, applicable to postings of less than 12 months, including in particular equal treatment in terms of remuneration (i.e. not only the minimum wage obligation (as of 01.01.2020 - 10.15 € gross/hour) but also equality must be guaranteed). Furthermore, the expenses incurred by the secondment must be remunerated separately.

These provisions represent the so-called "hard core" which must always be observed.

For postings for more than 12 months, all provisions of French labour law apply, except for the conclusion and termination of the employment contract, post-contractual non-competition clauses and supplementary pension schemes.

Where appropriate, the application of all French law may be suspended for a further 6 months on request before the end of the first 12 months if special circumstances arise.

In conclusion, the formalities for posting workers to France are and will remain strict, unless an exception applies, and the penalties are costly.

However, since most companies make use of the same type of posting repeatedly, it is generally sufficient to seek detailed advice once and then to carry out the measures on their own.

The same applies to the application of French labour law. One should always bear in mind that French law is structured differently from foreign legal systems and consequently make the right adjustments in advance to avoid difficulties and high costs afterwards.

Nicola Kömpf, Partner.