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Hiring of employees by bed and breakfast operators

Hiring of employees by bed and breakfast operators

Bed and Breakfast operators often encounter great concerns when they need to hire staff due to their lack of knowledge when it comes to applicable social law regulations within this sector.

Here is an overview of the applicable legislation in terms of employment contracts, working hours and remuneration within this sector of activity. This is, nonetheless, a set of rules, feel free to reach out for more specific details.

I – Definition of the bed and breakfast activity

    1. Definition

The activity of bed and breakfast (B&B) rental and its conditions of practice are defined by the French tourism code: Article L.324-3 specifies that “guest rooms are furnished rooms located in private homes to welcome tourists, in exchange for a fee, for one night or more, including services”.

In addition, article D.324-13 specifies that this activity consists of the “bundled supply of overnight stay and breakfast. It is limited to a maximum number of five rooms for a maximum capacity of fifteen people. The reception is done by the B&B host”.

The law insists on the consequences for the renter if the number of rooms or customers authorized is exceeded. In this case, the renter cannot practice its activity under the name “chambres d’hôtes” (known as bed and breakfast). The host is no longer subject to the obligation’s incumbent on any operator of bed and breakfast, particularly in tax and social matters, and becomes subject to the regulatory provisions relating to fire safety in establishments open to the public, applicable to any accommodation including sleeping areas for more than 15 people.

On this subject, you can consult our article titled: “The different categories of tourist accommodation and their regulations”.

    1. Some consequences of this definition

  • Anyone who exercises the activity of B&B renter must have previously made a declaration to the municipality’s mayor of the place of residence. Failure to report is liable to a penal sanction.
  • The B&B activity carried out on a regular basis constitutes a commercial activity. Thus, the operator must register through “Guichet Unique” (which is competent for all companies located or having an activity in France), whatever the nature of their activity (commercial, artisanal, agricultural, independent) or their legal status (sole proprietorship, micro-enterprise, company, etc.).
  • In tax matters, the B&B activity comes under a hotel system, and not as furnished rentals.
  • This activity is listed by INSEE under the NAF-code 55.10 Z: Hotels and similar accommodation.
  • The applicable collective agreement is the national agreement for hotels, cafés and restaurants (HCR) from April 30th,1997, extended by decree of December 3rd, 1997.

II – The different types of employment contracts within the HCR sector

    1. The apprenticeship contract

  • The essential characteristics of this contract: An apprentice is a young person (from 16 to 29) whose time is divided between the job, where he learns professional skills, and a training center (CFA) where he prepares a diploma.

    An apprenticeship grant is given to companies that recruit apprentices preparing for a diploma or a professional qualification at a lower level than or equal to a high-school baccalaureate. This grant is paid monthly for the whole duration of the contract. The company benefits from an exemption from employee contributions specific to apprenticeship employment contracts within the private sector. This exemption of contributions is limited to 79% of the SMIC (minimum legal wage).

  • The criteria for hiring an apprentice: The apprenticeship supervisor must have 2 years of professional experience relevant to the qualification being prepared by the apprentice. If the apprenticeship supervisor has a diploma or professional title in the same area as that being prepared by the apprentice, he must provide proof of one year’s professional practice in relation to the qualification being prepared by the apprentice.
  • The duration of the apprenticeship and in-company training contract: The contract must have a limited time duration or be part of a permanent contract. In both cases, the apprenticeship period corresponds to the duration of the training cycle.
    The training lasts between 6 months to 3 years, depending on the prepared diploma.
  • The apprentice’s salary: The apprentice benefits from a progressive legal minimum salary, which is based on the implementation of a scale which considers the age and of its progress through the training cycle.
    1. The extra employment contract (CDD d’usage)– Specific to hiring extra staff in HCR

  • Definition: This is a fixed term only contract, which cannot exceed 60 days per quarter. Also known in French as an extra-staff hire contract, which is signed for the duration of a mission of a few hours, a day, or several consecutive days. The “extra” is an employee working on an occasional and irregular basis.
  • Conclusion of the contract: The employment contract of extra or “CDD of use” must be established in writing and include the precise definition of its grounds, if not, it is requalified an unlimited employment contract (CDI). A contract must be drawn up for each employee’s mission.

The hiring procedures are identical to any other short-term employment contracts.

    1. The seasonal employment contract (CDD saisonnier)

  • Definition: The seasonal contract characterizes the execution of tasks repeated each year, at relatively fixed periods, according to the seasons.
  • The requirements of the seasonal contract: This employment contract does not necessarily specify the duration, but must mention:
    • a minimum duration in the event of an uncertain term contract;
    • that the contract is signed for the duration of the season.

In addition, the contract must be done in writing and must contain, among other things, the following mandatory information:

    • the compensation.
    • the position held.
    • the duration of the trial period.
  • The duration of the seasonal contract: it must be concluded for a minimum period of one month and cannot exceed 9 months.
  • Working time: a seasonal worker cannot work more than 40 overtime hours per quarter.
    1. Permanent contract (C.D.I.)

  • Definition of a CDI: It is a contract that does not include an end date. It can be terminated by a unilateral decision either from the employer (dismissal for personal or economic reasons, retirement, etc), or by the employee (resignation, retirement, etc.). The termination may also result from a mutual agreement between both parties, drawn up within the framework of the “conventional termination” scheme.
  • Duration of the trial period:
    The HCR collective agreement sets a maximum trial period which cannot exceed:
    • Executives: 4 months with the possibility of a renewal of 4 additional months
    • Supervisors: 3 months with the possibility of a renewal of 3 additional months
    • Other employees: 2 months with the possibility of a renewal of 2 additional months
    • Employees level 1, step 1: 2 months without renewal

      But employer and employee can agree on a shorter period or no trial period if stated in the employment contract.

III – The particularities of the HCR sector

  • Working hours:

In the HCR collective agreement, companies can decide to apply the following working times:

    • the legal working time = 35h per week or 151.67h per month or
    • the conventional duration of 39h per week or 169h per month, where the extra 4 hours.
  • Overtime increases:

Overtime worked in addition to the legal working week (35 hours) In the HCR collective agreement entitles the employee to an increase of:

    • 10% from the 36th to the 39th hour
    • 20% from the 40th to the 43rd hour
    • 50% beyond the 44th hour.
  • Maximum working hours: The maximum daily duration is:
    • Cook: 11 hours
    • Other staff: 11:30 hours
    • Night guard and reception staff: 12 hours.
  • The maximum weekly duration is:
    • Average over 12 weeks: 46 hours (daytime) 44 hours (nighttime)
    • Absolute duration: 48 hours.
  • Minimum daily rest: 11 consecutive hours (12 hours for minors)
    • Exceptions: 10 hours for seasonal workers.
  • Weekly rest: Employees under a permanent contract are entitled to two (consecutive or not) rest days a week. However, rest day is not necessarily on a Sunday according to the HCR collective agreement.
  • Night work: This is any work performed from 10pm. and 7am. Night work results toa compensatory rest equal to:
    • 1% per hour worked during a night period.
    • Or, if the employee is full-time and works at night all year round, 2 fixed days per year.

IV- Compensation

    1. Minimum wages for employees according to the collective agreement’s job classification

The classification criteria are based on:

  • Skills and technicality
  • Training
  • Autonomy
  • Team building & Management.

The employee must fulfill all 4 criteria in order to qualify for the minimum classification.

Here are some examples of accepted classification by the agreement in the hospitality sector according to the job:

  • Cook: from level 1 step 3 to level 3 step 3 ;
  • Waiter: Level I, II or III – Echelon 1 to 3
  • Housekeeper: Level III – Echelon 1 to 3 or Level IV – Echelon 1 or 2
  • Night watchman: Level I, II or III – Echelon 1 to 3
  • Receptionist: Level I – Echelon 3, Level II or III – Echelon 1 to 3 or Level IV – Echelon 1 or 2

A minimum wage per classification category is issued (and often updated) by the collective agreement. The employer may not pay its employees less than this amount.

    1. Benefits in kind

The HCR collective agreement sets specific rules for this sector of activity. Thus, an employer will in principle have the obligation to allocate a benefit in the form of a meal to its employees or, failing to do that, will have to compensate them.

The employee must therefore be fed by the employer or receive a compensatory allowance.

Thus, the employer owes a meal-benefit-in-kind food to its employees under two conditions:

  • The establishment is open to customers at mealtimes.
  • The employee is present at that time.

When all these requirements are met, the obligation applies to all employees, regardless of their qualification, salary level or working time.

Meal assessment: The amount of a benefit in kind comes on top of the salary which must be assessed:

  • Flat rate;
  • Or their real value.

URSSAF sets the value of all meal-benefits-in-kind each year in regard to the calculation of social security contributions. The value of the HCR benefit in kind is assessed at a guaranteed minimum per meal, equal to (January 1st,2023):

  • €4.01 for a meal
  • €8.02 for two meals.

The HCR meal benefit in kind is a variable element of pay since it is allocated according to the number of days worked in a month. The contribution’s base formula includes the amount of the meal’s benefit. The amount of this benefit will also be considered for the calculation of the employee’s paid leave allowance.

    1. Tips

The employer has the obligation to distribute the tips between the employees and to keep a registry showing the daily amounts of the tips distributed to each employee with their signatures.

Tips are subject to social contributions:

  • Based on their actual amount when they are centralized by the employer.
  • Or on a specific lump-sum basis for hotels, cafes, and restaurants staff.

However, the law applies an exemption from contributions, social security contributions and income tax on tips paid in 2022 and 2023 to employees who receive an income less or up to 1.6 time the legal minimum income (SMIC).

All the team of French Business Advice is at your disposal, so do not hesitate to contact us!

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