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The employer is not bound to compensate the employee for the periods between fixed-term contracts even if such contracts are recharacterized as one permanent contract


Between 1996 and 2010, an employee was employed by a company as a part-time sales representative, under a series of fixed-term contracts.

Some contracts were separated by periods when the employee did not work for the company.

In 2013, the employee took her case to the Employment Tribunal. She claimed that her part-time fixed-term contracts between 1996 and 2010 should be recharacterized into one full-time permanent contract. She also claimed she should receive back payment of her full-time salary for the whole period between 2008 and 2010, including the periods when she had actually not worked for the company.

The case eventually landed on the French Supreme Court’s roll, with one key question: was the employer bound to compensate the employee for the periods when the latter did not work for the company given that her relationship with the company was recharacterized as a full-time permanent employment contract?

The French Supreme Court’s decision

The French Supreme Court dismissed the employee’s claims, considering that, even if recharacterized as a permanent full-time employee, an employee who has been employed under several non-consecutive fixed-term contracts can only claim back payment for the periods between contracts for which they can prove they remained available to work for the employer.

Cass. Soc. 28 February 2024, n°22-11.149