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Entitlement to leave under French employment law

In addition to holiday leave, under French employment law employees may also benefit from other types of leave.

What is the entitlement to holiday leave?

Employees are entitled to at least 2.5 days of paid vacation for each month worked during the reference year (which usually runs from June 1st to May 31st of the next year, unless otherwise decided by the employer).

If the employee works the full 12 months, the standard annual paid vacation is then 30 working days, including Saturdays (i.e. 5 weeks per year).

Employees must take at least 2 weeks of their paid vacation days between May 1st and October 31st each year.

The applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA) may provide for additional paid vacation days (in particular depending on the employee’s length of service).

Most employees are entitled to additional paid leave on the following public bank holidays: January 1, Easter Monday, Ascension Day, May 1, May 8, Pentecost Monday, Bastille Day (July 14), Our Lady’s Assumption Day (August 15), All Saints Day (November 1), November 11 and Christmas (December 25).

What are the other types of leave?

All female employees are entitled to a total of 16 weeks of maternity leave, generally beginning from 6 weeks prior to the expected delivery date until 10 weeks after the birth. The maternity leave is increased for the third pregnancy and beyond, a twin pregnancy, etc.

Male or female employees adopting a child are entitled to the same maternity benefits as female employees on maternity leave.

Male employees may also take a maximum of 25 days (32 days for multiple births) paid paternity leave within 6 months following the child’s birth. The employee must give notice to their employer at least 1 month before taking the leave.

Employees are also entitled to take sick leave whenever they are sick and can show appropriate acknowledgment from a physician. During sick leave, part of the employee’s salary is paid by the health insurance authorities. The employer may be required to pay all or a portion of the remainder of the employee’s salary for a certain period of time, depending on the terms of the applicable CBA.

Employees are also entitled to time off in case of family events (employee’s wedding, birth, death of a parent), during which they are paid by the employer. Their duration is set in the applicable CBA.