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Payroll in France

Introduction

The payroll process in France is arguably the most complex within all of Europe — and possibly, the world. Employers here are responsible for meeting all the requirements of the payroll system in France to remain accurate and compliant at all times with the country’s labor laws.

Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with the stress of managing a complicated payroll system for your French employees alone, because Skuad can manage it for you.

Keep reading to learn more about what’s really involved in France’s payroll process and how Skuad can help.

What does the payroll process in France involve?

There’s a lot involved in the payroll process anywhere in the world. 

Payroll service is the administrative process of paying the employees that work for you and involves everything from calculating employee earnings to keeping up with your company’s financial records of all your employees.

As an employer, you’re expected to take care of everything from collecting employee information, calculating their withholdings, reporting those withholdings, issuing payments on time, and so on. It should also be noted that all of these things are applicable regardless of whether you’re employing someone or paying them as a contractor.  

These general concepts regarding the payroll process in France aren’t much different. However, there are still a lot of rules governed by the French Labor Code to pay attention to when paying employees in the country. We’ll get into the details of those rules in the next section.

For now, here’s an overview of what you can expect in regards to France’s payroll processes:

Currency and payroll cycle

France’s official currency is the Euro (EUR), and employees must be paid at least monthly. However, payment schedules may vary for seasonal, temporary, intermittent, and work-from-home employees. 

It should be noted that while it’s common for salaries to be paid in 12 monthly payments, some companies choose to pay employee wages based on a 13- or 14-month schedule within the year. Extra payments are made in June and December upon choosing this type of payment schedule.

Lastly, French workers must have their salaries reviewed annually.

Compensation

When it comes to paying your employees, they’ll either receive an annual salary or an hourly wage. The same goes for contractors, although their payments may be split up over a certain period of time if they’re working on a project basis.

In terms of compensation, an employee’s payslip would typically show their gross pay, hours worked, overtime pay (if applicable), benefits contributions, reimbursements, any additional income, and net pay.  

In France, an employees payslip must reflect the following:

  • Gross and net payment totals
  • Exemption amounts
  • Number of regular hours and overtime hours of work for the pay period
  • Hourly regular and overtime rates of compensation for the pay period
  • Both the employer and employee contributions to retirement and unemployment insurance
  • Family benefits
  • Housing aid
  • Transportation tax
  • Pension plan

Payslips in France are mostly generated electronically, although employees may still choose to receive paper payslips.

Benefits, contributions, and pensions

The most common types of benefits, contributions, and pensions provided to employees include health insurance, paid time off, sick days, paid leave, and retirement plans. Of course, all of these things are considered deductions that come from an employee’s wages — which are reported annually so that the employee is eligible for reimbursement. 

In France, there are a few specific mandatory benefits that must be provided to French employees, including:

  • Old-age pension
  • Health insurance — which includes disability, death, and maternity
  • Supplementary pension
  • National housing assistance fund
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Worker’s compensation (accident insurance)
  • Family allowance

It’s also common for French employers to offer certain perks, such as a gym membership, holiday allowance, transportation allowance, lunch allowance, flexible working hours, and profit sharing, to name a few.

Taxes

In addition to benefits, contributions, and pensions, payroll taxes are also considered deductions. Taxes are typically withheld from an employee’s gross pay and put towards government institutions, like Social Security, health insurance systems, and so on.

In France, employers are expected to contribute to social insurance from not just their employees’ withholdings but from their own required social insurance payments as well. Other essential tax contributions are used to fund social programs such as the benefits listed above.

Employers are also subject to value-added tax (VAT). VAT taxes are somewhat similar to sales tax, but are indirectly levied on goods and services for value added to each point of production or distribution. Therefore, unlike sales taxes, VAT is assessed incrementally from raw materials down to the final retail purchase.

Employers who are not subject to a VAT (or are subject to a VAT on less than 90% of their total sales) must remit payroll taxes on employee wages. The rates from this vary based on each individual employee’s income from 4.25% to 13.60%. However, the employers won’t have to pay if the tax owed is below an annual amount of 1,200 euros.

Not sure where to begin? Drop in and say ‘Salut’ to the Skuad payroll experts. We know everything you need to know about payroll in France.

What you need to know about payroll in France

One of the first things all employers need to understand is that France has more labor and tax legislation and work-time rules compared to most other countries. The primary reason for this is that there are many variables that can affect the relationship between an employee and employer. 

For example, French employees are entitled to a long list of legal protections governed by the French Labor and Social Security Code. These codes consist of hundreds of country-wide collective agreements that govern specific industries and manage everything from the minimum wage to employee contracts. 

Additionally, employment contracts are required in France. There are two types of employment contracts: Open-term and fixed-term. Both types must include the employee’s full compensation information and will directly impact the structure of your payroll. 

Now that you have a general understanding of the work ahead of you in regards to the payroll system in France, let’s talk about the finer details. 

Minimum wage

France’s minimum wage is one of the highest in Europe, with employees earning an average of 10 euros per hour. By French law, the minimum wage is applicable to all working adults regardless of experience or age. 

The current minimum wage is set at €9.76 per hour or €1,480.27 a month, and is raised annually.  

Working hours and conditions

The standard workweek for non-management roles is 35 hours and employees must receive 11 consecutive hours of rest away from work each day and may not exceed more than six working days per week. For individuals with collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) or management positions, the hours may vary. 

Overtime is also allowed as long as employees do not exceed 44 hours a week over a 12-week period. Only senior management employees are permitted to work for more than 48 hours per week or 10 hours per day.

Overtime compensation

Overtime is governed by French law or an applicable CBA. The typical quota for overtime is 220 hours, and workers may not exceed this amount under any circumstances. Compensation for overtime is calculated at 125% of an employee’s regular hourly pay for the first eight hours of overtime and then 150% for each additional hour.

In lieu of a monetary payment for overtime, employees may opt for compensatory time off.

National holidays and paid leave

Workers in France are entitled to 11 paid holidays annually plus five weeks of paid vacation. Employees are allowed to accrue leave at a 2.08 rate per month for each five-day workweek and up to 2.5 days per month over a 12-month period. 

Between May 1 and October 31, employees must take at least 12 consecutive days of leave as the entire country goes on holiday from July to August. 

These aren’t the only details you’ll need to know about payroll in France. Book a demo with Skuad to understand exactly what’s expected of your company in regards to the payroll system in France — and how we can help.

Outsourcing payroll services in France: How to start building your team?

It goes without saying that managing payroll is an administrative task that’s better left to HR. However, when you want to hire international employees from France, you either need to have an HR team of your own there or you can outsource the work to someone who already does.

If you don’t already have an established business entity in France, establishing one and managing employees can easily become a time-consuming, confusing, and costly affair. Not to mention, you would be running the risk of non-compliance with the French Labor Code, which could result in severe penalization that could cost you your business.

When you partner with Skuad, you don’t have to worry about outsourcing multiple third-party teams, establishing a business entity, or being found non-compliant with your payroll system in France. Skuad provides you with everything you need for the ultimate payroll service and HR solution for your French employees — all on a single and easy-to-navigate dashboard.

See for yourself by booking a demo with Skuad today, so you can start hiring international talent from France and anywhere else today!