Glossary


- Administrative penalty
This is aimed at punishing wrongful conduct. Unlike a criminal penalty, it is not pronounced by a criminal court. Given their diversity, provision has been made for a certain number of safeguards for individuals (right to be heard, right to comment before the penalty is imposed). These tend to be financial penalties, but sometimes result in business being suspended or prohibited, or even authorisations or approvals being withdrawn.

- Allowances specific to posting
Also referred to as daily allowances. These compensate the disadvantages entailed by the posting as a result of the workers being removed from their usual environment. They may not be paid in reimbursement of expenditure actually incurred on account of the posting. They form part of remuneration under French and European law.

- Annual quota (of overtime hours)
The annual quota represents a certain volume of overtime worked per year, per employee. It is set by collective agreement. Failing that, a decree determines the number of overtime hours ; this is currently set at 220 hours per year per employee.

- Collective agreement(s) (branch - or company - level)
Texts resulting from a collective bargaining process (between representative employers’ and trade union organisations) determining the conditions for recruitment, employment, vocational training and work as well as the social guarantees, or bearing on one of these subjects, applicable to employees of a particular company (company-level agreement) or the companies of an occupational branch (branch-level agreement). They are described as extended branch-level agreements when, pursuant to an extension order on the part of the Ministry of Labour, they apply to all of the companies within the branch concerned.


- Contractor
Natural or legal person holding the service or works contract with the main contracting party or the customer. When the holder sub-contracts out part or all of the work or services to another natural or legal person, it becomes a contractor. Unless it is the main contracting party, the contractor is an intermediary between the latter and the subcontractor.

- DIRECCTE
Regional Directorates for Enterprises, Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs, Labour and Employment. These are the main contacts at regional level for companies and socio-economic stakeholders, whose remit encompasses supervision, coordination and advice as appropriate in labour law. The labour inspectorate reports to these directorates at local level, whilst performing its duties independently.

To contact your local Direccte in France, you can access the map of Direccte branches.


- Employee
Paid worker who carries out a service on behalf and under the hierarchy of the employer. The hierarchical relationship is decisive and is characterised by the employer’s position of authority to be able to give orders and instructions aimed at supervising the employee’s performance and punishing any failings. This status of employee should be distinguished from the status of self-employed worker.


- Employment tribunal
This is a joint tribunal (whose elected judge members half represent employers and half represent employees) tasked with settling individual disputes between employers and employees associated with a private employment contract (apprentices included). The employee (or, more seldom, the employer) wishing to refer a case to it must meet a range of conditions (procedure, time limit for bringing court action).

For more information, click here.

- Financial collateral
This is a surety bond taken out with a mutual or collective guarantee company, an insurance undertaking, a bank or a financial institution established in France, in the European Union or in the European Economic Area and authorised to grant bonds and operate on French territory. It is compulsory for temporary employment agencies.

- Fine
The least serious category of criminal offence falling under criminal proceedings.

- Form or portable document A1
In the field of social protection, this form is a way for an employee or his/her employer to prove his/her membership to the social security scheme when travelling to another State to perform business there. It attests to the applicable legislation as regards a worker who is not a member of a scheme in the country s/he is working. This is a social security form rather than a labour law one. It has no connection with a prior declaration of posting.

For more information, have a look at the CLEISS website.

- Holiday bonus
Element which corresponds under European Union case law to the normal remuneration for the period of rest that the employee should receive (also called remuneration for paid leave).


- International provision of service
General term encompassing, with the exception of the simple supply of products (on a full ownership basis, via a sales deed for example), the supply of all services normally provided for remuneration by an entity established outside of national territory.

The services provided particularly include :
a) activities of an industrial character,
b) activities of a commercial character,
c) activities of craftsmen,
d) activities of the professions.

- Legal status of the company
Legal framework, i.e. the applicable law for a company depending on its nationality, location and business. Its legal form may vary widely (from a sole proprietorship with no distinct assets to that of a managing director of a capital company with a number of shareholders and belonging to a multinational group).

- Living conditions incompatible with human dignity
Condition of housing presenting not just mere failures to comply with the standards stipulated in the Labour Code or Rural and Maritime Fishing Code, but actual serious breaches of workers’ dignity. Evidence may be identified such as the run-down state of the premises, their state of cleanliness, size, number or facilities. Such is the case when the build-up of gaps, deficiencies or failings in terms of comfort, cleanliness, protection or privacy characterise contempt against individuals. This is the case, for example, when the housing is substandard, particularly dirty or not heated, when it does not allow for basic hygiene or presents such anomalies as its occupation is hazardous (e.g. faulty electricity).

- Long-distance posting allowance
Covers the costs incurred by the posting, which is too far away for the worker to sleep at his/her normal place of residence, in the host country, via a flat-rate amount covering subsistence and accommodation (perhaps even a second home).


- Main contracting party
Commonly used term in the construction and civil engineering sector. Refers to any natural or legal person benefiting from work commissioned from a company or service provider. By extension, refers to any natural or legal person having entrusted a job or service to another person, through a corporate, commercial or service contract. Sometimes referred to as the service beneficiary, customer or buyer. Typically, the main contracting party is also the contractor.

- Meal allowance
Granted to employees whose working conditions prevent them from easily being able to access a food outlet or the canteen provided by the employer (e.g. when they are working on a building site or on a business trip).
Minimum wage : Lower limit set pursuant to the legal provisions (at least the national minimum wage) or minimum wages laid down by branch-level agreement where these exist and exceed the national minimum wage.


- Normal, stable and continuous business
This notion enables fraud on the grounds of undeclared activity to be characterised when a company performs normal, stable and continuous business in France without being registered in France, by posting employees to perform the work. A body of evidence (the existence of only one of the pieces of evidence below is not enough) demonstrates that the company performs normal, stable and continuous business in France :

  • the location of the company’s registered office and its administration,
  • the marketing means implemented
  • the administrative staff working both in the Member State of establishment and in national territory, for the duration of the contracts
  • the location where the posted workers are recruited and most of the contracts with customers are signed
  • the legislation applicable to the contracts signed by the company with its workers, on the one hand, and with its customers, on the other
  • the revenues achieved in both Member States.

- Occupational branch
An occupational branch brings together companies performing the activity(ies) which the social partners have considered should apply similar and consistent working conditions coming under collective bargaining (occupational agreement on one or more particular themes, or a collective agreement addressing the full scope of individual and collective working relations). The extent of an occupational branch is defined by the scope of the agreement signed by the employers’ professional organisations and employees’ trade union organisations which have been recognised as representative within the scope of the branch in question by a Ministry of Labour order.


- Occupational health service
Occupational health services have a preventive mission in terms of occupational health. They run occupational health prevention measures, advise employers, workers and their representatives in a bid to avoid any deterioration in workers’ health owing to their work, and monitor workers’ health.

- Remuneration
All sums paid to an employee as compensation for the work provided, covered by an employment contract. It is normally distinguished from the payment or reimbursement of expenses incurred by the employee for performing his/her occupation (transport expenses in particular).

- Self-employed worker
Contrary to an employee, an individual doing a job for others without being under the hierarchy of the party that requested it.

- Short-distance posting allowance
Covers the costs incurred by the posting (travel and subsistence).

- Subcontractor
Natural or legal person who will perform work or provide a service with which a contractor has entrusted it. A subcontractor never engages directly with a main contracting party. In a multi-layer (or tiered) subcontracting chain, there may be several contractors and several subcontractors.

- Temporary employment agency
Company whose business solely entails hiring employees out to customers, the user companies, on a temporary basis. This hiring-out service is the only one it can perform and invoice. It must have taken out specific financial collateral as regards payment for employees.


- User company
Company which calls on a temporary employment agency to hire out new employees for a limited duration.

- Wage supplements
leements based on the employee’s personal circumstances for diverse reasons (length of service in the company, appraisal of his/her work, working conditions, geographic location of post), on a collective basis. These may be referred to in different ways (bonuses, compensation, allowances) but form part of the employee’s remuneration since they are compensation for the work performed.