Recruiting in France can bring potential tripwires for companies taking steps to build their international profile. Finding and recruiting top talent in an overseas territory that is maybe thousands of miles away is a significant challenge. It can be tricky, especially when a company ventures into an unfamiliar country and explores new markets. We can oversee the process for you. Bradford Jacobs’ expertise and over 20 years of experience in international recruitment services are indispensable for expansion into France.

Hiring the right talent in France to expand your company can result in a thriving business with numerous opportunities. However, the recruitment process can be complicated when you have no physical presence in France yet. Our benchmark platforms as a Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) have worldwide reach and include a total understanding of the complexities of the French employment market. Our comprehensive knowledge of all French employment sectors and understanding of the culture and customs guarantees an untroubled transition.

Recruiting in France

Foreign companies recruiting in France do not need to establish a legal entity to hire new employees. However, if you are starting a business or expanding into France, it is crucial to your recruitment drive to know where to locate the best talent who is a ‘perfect fit’ for your company’s activities. The answers do not come quickly – and employers must follow strict registration procedures once the right employee is found. These include:

  • Apply to the Ministry of Economy and Finance with Form 2043 to obtain the employee’s tax number.
  • Register employees with their local tax office (Service des Impôts des Particuliers).
  • Register employees with the Agence Centrale des Organismes de Sécurité Sociale (ACOSS) so they qualify for the social security system and the Unions de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d’Allocations Familiales (URSSAF), which processes social security contributions.
  • Draft employee contracts, which must be in French to be legally valid, with translations as required.
  • Report to the French authorities on regular and overtime working hours, tax-exempt elements on the monthly pay slip, and withholding tax and social security deductions.
  • Apply for employees’ permits and visas if required.
  • Apply for employees’ special expatriation status if applicable.
  • Calculate employees’ monthly salaries and provide their pay slips.
  • Research any available tax-free allowances or benefits.
  • Submit employees’ and employers’ wage tax returns and national insurance forms.
  • Correspond with the applicable national authorities regarding payroll changes and payments.
  • Create a payment schedule for wage tax, social insurance, and net wages.

The recruitment process is time-consuming and requires dedication – a difficult task when faced with many other complicated issues involved in international expansion. We can provide all the answers with our Employer of Record (EOR) solution. We will convert your expansion blueprint for France into an action plan with a few simple steps:

  • Bradford Jacobs locates the perfect employees for your company, then steps in as EOR to ensure they comply with French employment contracts law, payroll, HR, visa requirements and permits (if required).
  • We manage all work-related registration formalities and ongoing employment issues while you control your employees daily.
  • The employees complete their timesheets and any expense claims, and we invoice you, the client. Once paid, we deduct all contributions from the relevant French authorities and transfer the balance into the employees’ accounts.

Within a few days, your company will have an international presence in France – in a prime position to explore further expansion into Europe without risking the expense or stress of setting up your own subsidiary or branch office in the country.

Employees' Legal Checks in France

Article 9 of the French Civil Code – ‘Everyone is entitled to a right to respect his/her private life’ – generally underpins what is permitted to be asked of potential employees. Further Articles of the French Labour Code (FLC) impose other restrictions regarding interview questions and what can be asked during employment. For example:

  • In general: Requested information must be directly relevant to the position and to assessing the professional ability.
  • Privacy: No personal information can be gathered without the individual’s knowledge and must be lawfully collected and for legitimate reasons under the rules of the French Data Protection Authority.
  • Discrimination: Candidates cannot be rejected on ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, family status, nationality, political or religious beliefs, health, disability, or trade union membership.
  • Financial background: There are no credit background checks in France.

Permitted checks include:

  • Eligibility to work: Verifying whether non-French applicants have the required work or residence permits.
  • Criminal record checks: In regulated occupations relating to cash transportation, security, surveillance, municipal police officers and airport workers, employers can request that applicants provide an extract from their criminal record. Employers cannot access the information.
  • References and education checks: Collecting references from former employers or clients and education checks are permitted, with the candidate’s permission.

Basic Facts when Recruiting in France

  • Terms and conditions of employment come under the French Labour Code (Code du Travail), which governs all mandatory and statutory individual and collective regulations regarding minimum wages, working hours, overtime and paid annual leave.
  • The Social Security Code (Code de la Sécurité Sociale) covers employees’ sickness, maternity, and paternity benefits. The Penal Code (Code Pénal) can apply to discrimination, health, and safety matters. Where there are differences between the Labour Code and collective or trade union agreements, the terms apply which are most beneficial to the employee.
  • Permanent contracts for full-time employment do not need to be written, though some collective agreements make this mandatory. When written, they must be in French as the legal reference (translations can be requested) and should include the names and addresses of parties, job title and location, working hours, salary, paid leave, any probation period, and notice period.
  • According to the French Civil Code, Labour Code, and the French Data Protection Authority, employers’ questions during an interview should be restricted to the job in question. 
  • Employees must be registered with the Ministry of Economy and Finance to obtain individual tax numbers and with their local tax office (Service des Impôts des Particuliers).
  • Employees must also be registered with the Agence Centrale des Organismes de Sécurité Sociale (ACOSS) and the Unions de Recouvrement des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d’Allocations Familiales (URSSAF), which handles social security contributions.
  • Working hours are generally 35 per week and must not exceed 44 on average over 12 weeks.
  • Overtime is based on a working week of 35 hours, with the first eight hours earning 25% above the basic hourly rate and subsequent hours 50% above.
  • The Labour Code or collective agreements govern notice periods. The statutory minimum is one month’s notice for between six months and two years’ service, with two months applying above two years’ employment.
  • Paid vacation is for a minimum of five weeks after one year’s employment, although collective agreements can allow for more.


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