Companies that have their corporate headquarters in Europe can post employees to France on temporary secondment in accordance with articles L. 1261-1 ff. and R. 1263-1 ff. of the Code du Travail (French labor code).
The new and stricter regulations relating to the posting of employees to France that came into force in April 2015 are likely to have an important impact for all foreign companies. For example, the previous maximum fines for illegally posting employees to France (e.g. failure to submit the secondment documents to the French labor inspectorate) of EUR 10,000 have been increased to EUR 500,000 (article L. 1264-3 of the Code du Travail).
It is a mandatory requirement for seconding employees to France that the company sends a “déclaration préalable de détachement” (prior declaration of posting) to the competent labor inspectorate (see below). Non-European companies who wish to post non-European employees to France must apply for a work permit (“autorisation de travail”) for the seconded employees. Employees who are nationals of a non-EU country, but who have already been issued a work permit in an EU country are exempted from this requirement, however.
Secondments are made in France predominantly in the services sector (subcontractor agreements), within corporate groups and in temporary employment relationships.
In respect of the seconded employees, the foreign employer is subject to the mandatory French regulations (code du travail, lois, règlements, conventions collectives, etc. – labor code, laws, regulations, collective agreements, etc.) regarding the minimum wage (SMIC), the principle of equality, the maximum work hours in France and working conditions. The regulations of French labor law concerning the requirements for recruitment and termination do not, on the other hand, apply to employees posted to France on secondment. The law in which the foreign company is headquartered applies here. We would nevertheless advise not dismissing any employees posted to France during their secondment there.
Before any posting to France, the foreign employer must, as described above, send a signed and completed form (+ annexes) to the competent labor inspectorate (e.g. by fax or registered mail). Three different types of forms are used depending on the type of secondment of the employees:
- Contracts for services and work: travail-emploi.gouv.fr/informations-pratiques…detachement-de-travailleurs
- Intragroup postings:
- Cross-border temporary employment:
Alternatively, the secondment forms can be filled out online: https://connexion.mon.service-public.fr/
The French authorities have provided instructions in English, which can also be accessed for free online: travail-emploi.gouv.fr/informations-pratiques…etrangers-en-france
The required documents then have to be filed at the workplace of the seconded employee and of a representative of the foreign employee designated for this purpose in France (articles L. 1262-2-1 and R 1263-1 of the Code du Travail).
Since April 1, 2015, foreign employers that post employees to France must appoint a representative in France who is available as a contact person for the French labor inspectorate and the French police and tax authorities and who keeps certain necessary documents concerning the seconded employee and the seconded company.
It is also mandatory for the company that deploys the seconded employees in France (e.g. main contractor, principle, contracting party) to check whether the seconded company has complied with its secondment obligations, especially whether:
- The posting application + annexes have been sent in full;
- A representative has been appointed in France;
- The minimum wage in France is paid;
- The accommodation of the seconded employees is fit for habitation (article L. 4231-1 of the Code du Travail).
Furthermore, the seconded employees must be listed in the “Registre unique du personnel” (Official Employee Register) in accordance with article L. 1221-13 ff. of the Code du Travail.
Should the foreign employer not comply with the French regulations concerning the minimum wage or accommodation fit for human habitation, the French principal, general contractor or contracting partner may be subject to joint and several liability for this.
This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice addressed to particular circumstances. You should not take or refrain from taking any legal action based upon the information contained herein without first seeking professional, individualized counsel based upon your own circumstances. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.
Information by ALARIS AVOCATS