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The steps of hiring an employee in France

Steps to hiring in france
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Below you will find the main formalities to be accomplished when hiring an employee in France from the recruitment phase to the establishment of the pay slip at the end of the first work period.

I – Recruitment

Here is a list of the main steps to follow:

  • Definition of the need for manpower and therefore of the job to propose,
  • Fixing of remuneration,
  • Definition of the duration of the contract to be established in the case of a fixed-term contract,
  • Search for hiring aids that can be obtained,
  • Writing ads and choosing support for the broadcast,
  • Preparation of the job interview,
  • Choice of candidate,
  • Welcome and integration of the new employee.

II – Mandatory requirements for hiring

  1. Declaration Prior to Hiring (D.P.A.E.)

This document must be drawn up and sent to the social protection organization concerned (URSSAF or MSA in general) at the earliest eight days before the hiring and always before the beginning of the actual work of the employee.

A receipt is sent to the company within five days.

  1. Single staff register

This register is mandatory when the first employee is hired. The new employee must be registered on this book.

  1. Affiliation with the supplementary pension fund

All companies must join a social protection group (AGIRC for executives) (ARRCO for non-managers) within three months of its creation.

The relevant pension fund is generally designated by the collective agreement.

When hiring an employee, the company must affiliate the employee to the relevant fund.

  1. Information and prevention visit

This visit must be organized by the employer within three months of hiring. Its purpose is to ask the employee about his state of health and to inform him about the risks of his work.

Night workers, young people under the age of 18 and workers exposed to risk must have made this visit before they can be affected to ther post.

  1. Declaration of workers’ movements

Only companies employing at least 50 employees are required to make this declaration. In this case the declaration must be made every month.

III – Conclusion of the work contract

  1. Permanent contract (C.D.I.)

Full-time permanent employment is not necessarily the subject of a written contract. The part-time contract must be written. In the absence of a written commitment, a C.D.I. is presumed to exist.

The CDI must be written in French.

If the employee is a foreigner, a translation of the contract must be written in the language of the employee at his request.

If the employee is under the age of 18, he can only sign his contract with the authorization of his legal representative (father, mother or guardian), unless he is emancipated.

The content of a permanent contract is free, except when the collective agreement provides for mandatory information. In practice, it is customary to specify a number of elements, including:

  • Identity and address of the parties,
  • Function and professional qualification,
  • Workplace,
  • Working time,
  • Remuneration (salary and bonuses),
  • Paid vacations,
  • Duration of the trial period, which is set by law to:
    • 2 months for employees and workers,
    • 3 months for supervisors and technicians,
    • 4 months for executives.
      (A collective agreement may provide for the renewal of this probationary period).
  • Notice periods in case of breach of contract,
  • Possibly a non-competition or mobility clause.


It should be noted that in the case of a part-time C.D.I, we advise you to indicate the weekly and monthly working hours on a separate document. This will avoid changing the contract in case of schedule changes.

  1. Work contract of limited duration (C.D.D.)

A fixed-term contract must not have the purpose of permanently providing a job related to the normal and permanent activity of the company. A fixed term contract can only be concluded for the execution of a specific and temporary task.

It can be concluded only in the following cases:

  • Replacement of an absent employee,
  • Temporary increase of activity (this extra activity must be justified and motivated otherwise the contract may be requalified in C.D.I.),
  • Seasonal employment,
  • C.D.D. customary (For some works, the law prohibits the conclusion of a C.D.D.),
  • C.D.D. special (these are provided by law, for example the CDD insertion, apprenticeship etc …).

The employment contract must imperatively be given to the employee no later than 2 working days after hiring.

The contract must include a large amount of information concerning its reason, duration, position held, remuneration, collective rights, trial period etc … It should be known that all these mentions are very important and that their absence can involve heavy penalties. Also, do not hesitate to contact us if you need to conclude such a contract.

It should also be noted that the trial period is calculated at a rate of one day a week of contract duration without being able to exceed 2 weeks if the fixed-term contract duration is less than or equal to 6 months. On the other hand, if the fixed-term contract is greater than 6 months, the trial period is fixed at 1 month.

IV – Payslip

At the end of his first work period (i.e. at the end of the calendar month), the employer must give a payslip to the employee. This document may be transmitted under certain conditions in electronic format.

For more information on the form and content of this document you can consult our article entitled “PAYSLIP IN FRANCE”, you can of course also contact us.

V – Special case of hiring a non-european employee

An employer can hire a foreigner already installed or having just arrived in France, who holds a work permit issued by the country where his employer is established and valid for the job he will occupy in France.

An employer cannot recruit directly in another country. He must apply for a work permit, called an “procedure d’introduction”.

The contractor must check when hiring that the future employee holds a valid residence permit valid for work authorization or a work permit. For this, he must, at least 2 working days before the effective date of the hiring, ask the prefecture of the department of the place of employment the authentication of the residence permit or the authorization of worker of the foreign person he wants to hire.

A copy of the title of the work permit must be attached to the single staff register.

An employer who recruits a foreign worker for a period of more than 3 months and less than 12 months must pay a tax to the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII).

For contracts of more than 12 months, the employer must also pay the OFII a tax of 55% of one month’s gross salary within the limit of 2,5 SMIC.

Do not hesitate to contact us for any question on this subject!

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