Under French employment law, part-time employees enjoy rights identical to those granted to full-time employees by law, collective bargaining agreements and company agreements employees.

Consequently, there exists a principle of equality between part-time and full-time employees, such that part-time employees enjoy either the same or proportional rights as those so full-time employees.

Part-time employees enjoy legal protection and right applicable to their status.

  • Protections for part-time employees

First of all, unlike the full-time indefinite term contract, the part-time employment contract must be in writing and must contain certain mandatory provisions the aim of which is to ensure the protection of the employee concerned.

Furthermore, the duration of their trial period cannot exceed that of full-time employees.

Contrary to the case in some countries, the law requires a minimum number of hours, thus working time may  not be less than 24 hours per week. The aim of this rule is ensure a minimum level of revenue for part-time employees. There are some exceptions to this rule, for example for students, for which no minimum is set. The distribution of working hours (for the week or the month) and any subsequent amendment thereto must be in writing. It should also be noted that the distribution of working time for a part-time employee for the week, month or year must comply with the limits set for daily working hours: a maximum of 10 hours.

Finally, in order not to disadvantage part-time employees in the event of termination of their employment contract, French employment law provides a particular rule for the calculation of compensation in the event of termination of the contract of an employee having been successively employed full-time and part-time in the same company. In such case, the Labor Code provides that the termination payment and retirement allowance for an employee having been employed full-time and part-time in the same company must be prorated as a function of the periods of employment completed for each of such periods.

  • Rights of part-time employees

With respect to the employee’s length of service, the calculation for part-time employees is made as for full-time employees. Therefore, they are entitled to the same rights related to their length of service as full-time employees, such as family-related leave, maintenance of wages in case of sickness, professional training leave, notice period and conventional rights, such as additional paid leave.

The principle of equality and proportionality also applies to all elements of remuneration including those having a complementary nature. Part-time employees must be paid proportionally with respect to those who, with equal qualification, hold an equivalent position in the company.

Part-time employees are entitled to paid annual leave, as well as public holidays on equal terms as full-time employees.

In the event of sickness or maternity, they benefit from the same rights as full-time employees.

Regarding profit-sharing and incentive agreements, all employees bound to the company by an employment contract, regardless of the characteristics of the contract, should benefit from profit-sharing and incentive implemented in the company. However, the agreement may determine specific terms of distribution, especially for part-time employees.

Lastly, there is nothing that legally prohibits the accumulation of part-time jobs. However, an employee who holds multiple jobs must comply with the maximum permitted work level and should not work more than the permitted legal duration.

  • Sanctions for breach of these regulations

In the absence of a written contract or if the employment contract does not include mention of: the working time’s reference, the distribution of working time over the week or the month and the volume of overtime, the employer is subject to civil and penal sanctions. Such sanctions apply equally to employers who impose overtime beyond conventional or legal limits.

In such case, the employer is subject to a fine of 1,500 euros for a physical person or 7,500 euros for a corporate entity. The amount of these penalties is doubled in the event of a repeated infringement.

In addition, the contract is deemed to have been concluded on a full-time basis in the absence of a written agreement, failure to mention the distribution of work between the days of the week or weeks of the month (except where such disclosure is not required), non-compliance with contractual terms on the duration and distribution of working time.

Infringements give rise to as many penalties as there are employees concerned. However, this is a simple presumption that the employer can rebut by proving the contrary.

Finally, the omission of compulsory mentions regarding the working time or its repartition may justify a judicial termination of the employment agreement on the basis of fault by the fault of the employer.


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