Temporary posting of workers in France

Which situations apply ?

The transnational posting of workers, in the meaning of the Code du travail (articles L.1261-1 to L.1263-2 and R.1261-1 to R. 1264-3), applies in scenarios where an employer, usually based outside of France, gives a specific assignment to its employees that has to be carried out in France, with the intention that, once the assignment has been completed, the employees will resume their work within their home company.
The rules for the “transnational posting of workers” thus apply to employers based outside of France who have work to do in France in the following four contexts :

The rules for the “transnational posting of workers” thus apply to employers based outside of France who have work to do in France in the following four contexts :
- provision of services : “services” are understood to be activities of a commercial, industrial or agricultural nature, by craftsmen or the professions, provided under a contract drawn up between a service provider and a beneficiary in return for a price agreed upon between them. All subcontracting operations apply in particular (construction sector for example).
- intra-company mobility : for example, provision of staff for non-profitable purposes between subsidiaries of the same company or departments within the same company, for carrying out an assignment or for a training period for example.
- provision of employees for temporary work : a temporary employment agency usually set up abroad may post employees to a user company in France.
- work on their own behalf : for example, a company set up abroad that owns plantations in France temporarily posts its employees for tree felling.

Employers based outside of France must conduct significant business in their home country to be able to post their employees to France as seconded workers. If it turns out that the service provider conducts regular, stable and ongoing business in France, it must set itself up there and subject its employees to all of the rules of the Code du travail.
Moreover, even if the duration of the service can vary depending on the scale of the assignment, from one day to several months, the secondment must remain temporary.
In France, the practice of certain professions is regulated, for example doctors, architects, taxi drivers, chartered accountants, insurers and wardens/security staff. When posting employees, any company practising one of these professions must be able to give proof of the declarations, authorisations, supporting documents or qualifications required in France to practise them.

What are the formalities prior to secondment ?

2.1 Compulsory pre-declaration

Before providing the service, the employer must send a pre-secondment declaration to the Unité territoriale (local work directorate) of the place where the service will be provided (or the first place of business if the service will be provided in several places) in French, by recorded delivery, fax or email.

- See the three models of pre-declaration online (service provision contract, intra-company mobility, secondment on a company’s own behalf).
- See the list of directions départementales du travail (see the French Minister for Employment website ).

Failure by an employer to send a pre-secondment declaration is punishable by the fine stipulated for fourth-category infractions (article R. 1264-1 of the Code du travail), which is a fixed amount of 750 euros maximum (cf. article 131-13 code pénal).

2.2 Work authorisation application (for employers based in a third State)

Only employers based in a third State (outside of the EU, EEA and Switzerland) wishing to post their native employees to France are required to apply for a work authorisation on their behalf for the duration of their assignment in France. They must send this application to the "unité territoriale" of the place where their employees will be carrying out their assignment.

Third country nationals (from outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland) regularly employed by a company based in the EU, EEA or the Swiss Confederation may be posted to France without having to obtain a work authorisation if they have an authorisation to live and work in the country where their employer is based (article R. 5221-2, 2° of the Code du travail). - for more information, log on to the French Ministry for Immigration website

What rules must be applied ?

3.1 During the posting of their workers in France, employers are subject to the French rules on certain matters stipulated in an exhaustive list in article L. 1262-4 of the Code du travail.

The “French rules” cover :
- laws and regulation,
- rules contained in extensive collective agreements and conventions applicable to French employees who practise the same activity as the work carried out by the seconded employees (the collective conventions can be consulted).

Employers must therefore comply with the French provisions that apply in terms of employees’ work and employment conditions. See details of the French provisions that apply to employees during their secondment in France (see appendix undermentioned)

3.2 Provisions of the Code du travail that do not apply

The provisions of the French labour law on the signature or breach of the employment contract, staff representation, vocational training and provident matters do not apply to seconded employees, since the law of the seconded employees’ home country applies for these various issues.

3.3 Special rules

- Occupational accident
When a seconded employee, who is not a member of a French social security scheme, suffers an occupational accident in France, an occupational accident declaration is sent to the work inspector of the place where this accident occurred by the host company (or by the employer of the seconded employee in the case of a secondment on its own behalf).

- Membership in a social security scheme
Employers based outside of the European Union will be required to immediately produce a certificate proving that their social situation is in order, at the request of the inspection du travail (work inspectorate). This certificate should come from :
- either their home State, if the latter has signed a bilateral social security agreement with France (to see the list of States that have signed a bilateral agreement with France, go to the website of the Center of European and International Liaisons for Social Security (CLEISS).
- or the French social contribution collection office if this is not the case.

- Cabotage operations in road and river transport

The secondment regulations defined by the French Labour Code are applicable to employees of carriers based outside of France who carry out cabotage operations in France.
“Cabotage” can be defined as a transportation service of goods or persons between two points on the national territory.

There are several types of cabotage.
- road cabotage of persons or goods
- river cabotage of persons or goods

For any cabotage operation lasting more than eight days, the carriers must send a preliminary specific secondment declaration to the work inspectorate of the place of origin of the first cabotage operation

NB ! Since 19 April 2010, road or river cabotage operations are no longer subject to the secondment declaration obligation if they last less than 8 days (pursuant to French Decree no. 2010-389 of 19 April 2010).

FOR MORE INFORMATION on cabotage conditions and the new regulations in force on the road transportation of goods, consult the brochure available in six languages (French, German, English, Spanish, Italian and Polish) on the website of the French Ministry of Transport at : www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr transports et sécurité routière”/ “secteur routier”/”plaquette d’information.

- Agricultural employees
Regarding working time, breaks and leave, seconded employees in an agricultural firm in France (see list in article L. 713-1 of the French Code rural (farming laws)) must comply with the provisions of the Code du travail, and the specific provisions of the Code rural (see articles L. 713-1 to L. 713-5, L. 713-13 and L. 713-19 to L. 713-22 on working time and articles L. 714-1 to L. 714-8 on breaks and leave).

What papers can the work inspectorate demand from the employer for inspection purposes ?

The inspection services are authorised to demand the employer to send an exhaustive list of papers immediately. This must be written in French and indicate amounts in euros (see article R. 1263-1 of the Code du travail) :

- the document giving proof that the employer’s social situation is in order, if his company is based outside of the European Union,
- the work authorisation for third country nationals, where applicable (see point 2.2)
- the document giving proof of an equivalent medical check-up in the home country to the one practised in France, for employers based in a country of the EU, EEA or the Swiss Confederation,
- the payslips of each seconded employee or any equivalent document (when the secondment lasts for one month or more) or any document giving proof that the minimum wage has been respected.
- the document giving proof that a financial guarantee has been obtained, or any equivalent document (for temporary employment agencies).

Failure to present these papers to the inspection du travail is punishable by the fine stipulated for third category infractions, i.e. a sum of 450 euros maximum (article 131-13 of the code pénal), and may also constitute a tort for obstructing the inspector in the execution of his duties, punishable by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 3,750 euros (article L. 8114-1 of the Code du travail).

What appeals are possible ?

Appeals before the industrial tribunal : Article R. 1412-5 of the Code du travail entitles seconded employees to bring disputes over their recognised rights before the industrial tribunal in the jurisdiction of which the service is being or has been provided. If the service that is being or has been provided in places located in the jurisdiction of several industrial tribunals, these disputes may be brought before any of these jurisdictions (map of courts can be found online Additional information

Employers and employees who would like additional information on the transnational posting of workers, or who would like to inform the inspection du travail of certain situations, can contact the [DIRECCTE->rub100171" class='spip_out' rel='external'>www.carte-judiciaire.justice.gouv.fr of the place where their service will be provided in France.

pdf Appendix (Novembre 2012) Téléchargement (23.7 ko)
pdf Directive DGT 2008/17 of 05/10/2008 concerning the posting of workers in (...) Téléchargement (753.1 ko)

Temporary posting of workers in France : What are your rights ?

pdf [Bulgare] Какви са правата Ви ? Téléchargement (1.6 Mo)