Employment Law Guide - France
1 What terms govern the employment relationship? In particular:
1.1 Is a written employment contract or statement of employment terms required?
In general, French law does not require employment contracts to be in writing. However, EU law requires employers to inform employees in writing of certain material terms applicable to the employment contract or the employment relationship within two months following the beginning of employment.
These material terms include, among others:
• the identity of the parties;
• the address of the work place;
• the title of the employee or a summary description of the employee’sposition;
• the employment contract start date;
• number of paid holidays;
• the mandatory notice period required prior to the early termination of the employment contract;
• information regarding the salary;
• the pay period;
• the end date of work carried out on a daily or weekly basis; and
• as applicable, the name of any agreement or collective bargaining agreement governing working conditions.
As an exception to the general rule, the following, among others, are required to be in writing to be valid:
1. Definite term employment contracts;
2. Part-time employment contracts;
3. Temporary employment contracts;
4. Apprenticeship contracts; and
5. Professionalization contracts.
For a written employment contract to be valid against an employer, different laws apply.
The goal of a written employment contract is to permit the employer to limit the rights of the employee and to subject the employee to certain obligations.
Additionally, where there is no written employment contract, the employee is considered to be a permanent employee. This is particularly important because there are no at will terminations in France. To dismiss a permanent employee, an employer is required to justify the termination for economic reasons or gross negligence or gross misconduct.
For all these reasons, it is highly advisable to put all employment contracts in writing and seek legal counsel to assist.
1.2 Are there any terms implied by law into the employment contract?
There are numerous terms implied into employment contracts pursuant to:
• the French Labour Code;
• collective bargaining agreements (hereafter referred to as the ‘CBA’s);
• company level collective bargaining agreements;
• company rules and regulations; and
• company practices.
The primary sources of terms implied by French law into the employment contract are collective bargaining agreements. In the event that there is a difference between the terms of the applicable collective bargaining agreement and an individual employment contract, the former will prevail, unless the terms of the individual employment contract are more advantageous.
Some terms implied by French law are summarised below. However, the terms implied by French law to a particular employment contract can only be determined by specific analysis of the individual employment contract.
1.3 Are collective agreements with trade unions or employee representatives common (generally or in specific industries)?Most industries and/or professions are governed by collective bargaining agreements. Only one collective bargaining agreement will apply to a given employer; thus, this same collective bargaining agreement will apply to all of the employer’semployees.
2 Is there a minimum wage? If so, please give details, in particular whether it applies to all employees, regardless of their age and experience.The monthly minimum wage (known as the ‘SMIC’s) in France is adjusted annually and applies from January 1st to December 31st of each year. It is, however, possible for the national government to increase the SMIC during the course of a given year.
For the period January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, the minimum wage is as detailed below:
Hourly minimum wage 9.00€ 7.06€
Monthly minimum wage 1,365.03€ 1,071.76 €
The monthly minimum wage applies to a 35 hour work week.
In general, the hourly minimum wage and the monthly minimum wage apply to all employees, regardless of the age or experience of an employee.
However, special laws regulate the minimum wage for: apprentices, child care-centre helpers, building superintendents, domestic employees, temporary employees seconded to France, employees younger than 22 years old and employees who work from home.
3 Are there restrictions on working hours? If so, please give details.Yes, there are restrictions on working hours in France. Regulation of working hours can be extremely complex in France; thus, the summary below is a generalised overview to which any number of exceptions may apply.
In general, there are two major types of work hour restrictions which we will address. The first sets forth the maximum number of hours that an individual may work during a given period. The second set sets forth the minimum number of hours that an individual must rest. For information, there are additional work hour restrictions regarding night work, on call hours, weekend work, etc.
These work hours restrictions apply to all employees (‘salari√©s’s), regardless of the type of employment contract under which the employee is hired, whether indefinite term, definite term or temporary contracts. However, there are separate laws that apply to (1) top level managers (‘cadres dirigeants’s); (2) certain categories of employees; and (3) certain sectors of activity.
As the most broadly applicable work hour restrictions pertain to employees and top level management, we will limit our comments to these restrictions. We do, however, list below the special categories of employees and industries governed by special working hours restrictions.
Due to the nature of their duties or the specific conditions of their performance, the following categories of employees are governed by specific rules:
2. nursery school assistants;
3. domestic workers;
4. residential building superintendents; and
5. employees working from home.
The sectors governed by special working hour restrictions are the:
1. agricultural sector;
2. merchant marine and fishing sector;
3. mining sector; and
4. public transportation sector.
There exists a third category of persons who are not considered employees and whose work hours are thus governed by a separate set of laws. This category includes (1) directors/managers of non limited liability companies (2) non-salaried managers of limited liability branches of retail food companies; (3) independent workers of all professions; (4) salaried heads of limited liability companies who set their own work hours; and (5) employees temporarily seconded to France by a foreign company not having an establishment in France.
Maximum work hours
One of the major laws governing employee work hours is the 35 hour work week law. This law provides that the maximum number of hours which an employee may work in a week is 35 hours.
Additionally, the 35 hour work week is not a strict limit, but acts more as a reference point. Employees who are covered by the 35 hour work week restriction may work more than 35 hours per week; however, any overtime worked beyond this limit must be paid at 10%, 25% or 50% more than the ordinary hourly rate, depending on the total amount of overtime worked. Companies may also alter the actual number of hours worked per week by means of its internal rules, provided that the average number of hours worked per week remains 35 hours. Lastly, industries or professions may modify this weekly maximum by means of collective bargaining agreements.
French law also provides for other working hours restrictions for the following different time periods:
Maximum number of working hours Period
10 hours Day
48 hours Week*
Average of 44 hours 12 consecutive weeks
220 hours of overtime Year (subject to the applicable CBA)
*This applies in relation to the exceptions to the 35 hour work week, i.e., where the CBA has been modified to permit employees to work an average of 35 hours per week, in which case, the new weekly limit would become 48 hours.
Top Level Managers (‘cadres dirigeants’)
French law defines a Top Level Manager as a manager who (1) has been entrusted with significant duties impliedly requiring a great level of independence in the organisation of his/her work schedule, (2) is authorised to make largely independent decisions and (3) earns salaries that among the highest levels in the remuneration system used by the company.
Top Level Managers are governed by other provisions of the French Labour Code governing work hours, weekly rest time, national holidays and the day of solidarity (this day was originally a paid national holiday, but is now worked by employees without remuneration, as the remuneration they would have normally received for the day goes to support elderly citizens ).
In relation to working hour restrictions, the maximum amount of time that Top Level Managers may work is expressed in days per year, rather than hours. Generally, Top Level Managers may not work more than 218 days per year. However, where permitted by the applicable CBA, a top level manager may work up to a maximum of 235 days per year.
There are also other special laws governing the paid vacation days, other leave/days off and compensation time of Top Level Managers.
Minimum rest hours
The minimum numbers of hours of rest set by French law apply equally to employees and executives. They are as follows:
Minimum hours of rest For the Period
11 consecutive hours Day
35 consecutive hours Week*
*The weekly minimum rest period must include Sunday.
In certain limited cases, these legal restrictions on mandatory daily and weekly rest hours may be waived, in particular where night work, on call work and work on Sundays is required.
Top Level Managers
As mentioned above, French law regarding minimum rest hours does not apply to Top Level Managers.
4 Is there a minimum holiday entitlement? If so, please give details. How many public holidays are there in a year and are they included in the minimum holiday entitlement?In general, all employees are entitled to at least five weeks‚Äô paid holiday per year. There are also approximately ten additional paid national holidays.
Employees may be entitled to additional paid holidays pursuant to applicable laws or CBAs. In general, these additional paid holidays are attributed on the basis of years of service to the company.
Certain executives may be entitled to more than 5 weeks paid holiday per year.
Employees may also be entitled to comp time (‘RTT’s ‚Äì ‘r√©duction du temps de travail’s), up to a maximum of 15 additional days of paid leave per year, depending on their individual employment contract and/or collective bargaining agreement.
Lastly there are one to four days of paid leave permitted for certain family events, such as the marriage of the employee, the birth of a child to a member of the employee’shousehold, death of a family member, or move of personal residence.
5 What rights do employees have to time off in the case of illness or injury? Is that time off paid? Can an employer recover from the state sick pay granted to its employees?It should first be noted that in France employees are not usually contractually entitled to a certain number of paid ‘sick days’s as in certain other countries.
Sick leave in France may be generally separated into two categories: work related sick leave and non-work related sick leave. Work related sick leave results from workplace accidents, accidents during the commute to or from work and professional illnesses.
However, as the laws regarding the salary owed to an employee on sick leave are very similar for both categories, we will present one set of general rules applicable to both of these types of sick leave.
As defined by French case law, sick leave must be (1) temporary and (2) medically justified, such as by a doctor’smedical certificate. Any kind of sick leave automatically results in the suspension of the employee’semployment contract.
Employees are not usually paid for sick days taken. However, in certain circumstances provided for by law or the applicable collective bargaining agreement, the employee may be entitled to receive pay for all or part of the sick leave taken.
Pay for Sick Leave
The French Labour Code provides that an employee shall be paid for sick leave, whether work related or not, if the following conditions are satisfied:
1. The employee has at least one year of service on the first day of his/her sick leave;
2. Justification of the sick leave is given within 48 hours and supported by a medical certificate and, if necessary, by another medical certificate issued from a second medical exam requested by the employer;
3. The illness is covered by French social security; and
4. Medical care was provided in France or another country of the European Union or the European Community.
If all of these conditions are met, the employee’s salary for sick leave taken is paid by the French social security.
Start and Duration of Sick Leave Pay
The French Labour Code provides that employees are entitled to receive pay for sick days (1) starting from the first day of sick leave in the case of work related sick leave (not including accidents occurring during an employee’scommute to or from work) and (2) from the eighth day for all other types of sick leave.
Compensation for sick days is divided into two periods, respectively Period 1 and Period 2.
During Period 1, an employee on sick leave will receive 90% of the gross salary that he/she would have received had he/she worked during that period. Similarly, during Period 2, an employee on sick leave will receive 66.66% of the gross salary that he/she would have earned had he/she worked during that period.
The duration of Period 1 and Period 2 will always be identical to one another, but that durations will vary according to the number of the employee’syears of service to the employer concerned, as illustrated in the table below.
Table: Statutory Sick Leave Salary
Years of service
Period 1 90% of gross salary
Period 2 66.66% of gross salary
0 to 1 year Employee not entitled to pay
1 to 6 years First 30 days Second 30 days
6 to 11 years First 40 days Second 40 days
11 to 16 years First 50 days Second 50 days
16 to 21 years First 60 days Second 60 days
21 to 26 years First 70 days Second 70 days
26 to 31 years First 80 days Second 80 days
31+ years First 90 days Second 90 days
Again, please keep in mind that where the accident and sickness insurance taken out by an employer pursuant to a CBA is more favourable to all of the employer’semployees, this salary set in the accident and sickness insurance will be paid to the employee in question.
6 What are the statutory rights of employees who are parents or carers (including those of disabled children and adult dependants)? How is employee’spay affected during periods of leave?The types of parental or caretaker leave summarised below apply to employees under indefinite term employment contracts as well as those under definite term employment contracts. In the second case, any leave taken by the employee will not affect the termination date of the employment contract.
In general, all of the types of parental and caretaker leave summarised below are unpaid. However, where a particular type of leave may be paid pursuant to CAs, CBAs or use/practice, it is indicated as such in the summary.
Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Leave
In general, these three types of leave are not paid by the employer. However, an employee may be entitled to all or part of his/her salary pursuant to any applicable CA, CBA or use/practice.
Additionally, employees taking maternity, parental or adoption leave are entitled to receive social security benefits from the State to cover the loss of salary during the term of his/her leave.
In general, pregnant employees are entitled to paid leave prior to and after the birth of a child. The amount of leave permitted depends on the number of children already born to the employee, whether the pregnancy will involve a single or multiple births and any existing health considerations for the employee.
Family situation Before birth After birth Total
Single birth after which the employee will be the caretaker of:
1 to 2 child(ren) 6 weeks 10 weeks 16 weeks
3 or more children 8 weeks 18 weeks 26 weeks
Twins 12 weeks 22 weeks 34 weeks
Triplets or more 24 weeks 22 weeks 46 weeks
Health consideration of the mother +2 weeks +4 weeks
More specific laws also exist which govern the term of the maternity leave in case of hospitalisation of the infant, death of the mother, premature birth, late birth, etc.
An employee father whose child has just been born is entitled to 11 consecutive days of paid leave. In case of multiple births, the employee father is entitled to 18 consecutive days of paid leave. This leave may be taken any time within the first fourth months following the birth; however, the employee must give the employer at least one month notice prior to taking this leave.
In the event of certain approved types of adoptions, either domestic or international, the employee is entitled to paid leave.
Where only the employee, and not his/her spouse, takes adoption leave, the employee shall be entitled to the following:
Family situation Total
Single adoption after which the employee will be the caretaker of:
1 to 2 child(ren) 10 weeks
3 or more children 18 weeks
Multiple adoptions, regardless of the total number of children in the home, 22 weeks
The employee may take this leave starting from one week prior to the arrival of the child.
Where the employee and his/her spouse split the adoption leave between them, the maximum number of leave days permitted to each parent is increased by 11 days or 18 days in the case of multiple adoptions.
Leave for various family events
Employees are entitled to days off for the following family events:
Family Event Leave permitted
Employee’s wedding 4 days
Birth of child in his/her household or the arrival of a child in the home for the purposes of adoption 3 days
Death of the employee’schild 2 days
Death of the employee’sspouse 2 days
Wedding of employee’schild 1 day
Death of employee’s father, mother, step-father, step-mother, brother or sister 1 day
This type of leave is not considered ‘paid holiday’; however, in practice it is paid as it does not result in the reduction of the employee’s ordinary salary, contractual attendance bonuses or the calculation of his/her paid holidays or overtime pay.
Leave to care for a sick child
An employee is entitled to a maximum of three days paid leave to care for an ill or injured child younger than 16 years of age, provided that the illness or accident is attested to in a medical certificate.
The maximum may be brought up to 5 days paid leave if the child is not yet one year old or if the employee is responsible/the primary caretaker of three or more children under the age of 16.
Leave to care for a child with a long-term illness, handicap or having suffered from a serious accident
When an employee has a child who has a long-term illness, handicap or suffered from a serious accident requiring the continued presence of a parent or restrictive care (‘soins contraignants’), the employee is entitled to take up to 310 days of paid leave over a maximum period of three years for a given child per diagnosed illness, handicap or serious accident.
To benefit from this leave, the employee must abide by certain administrative requirements, including requirements to provide the employer with advance notice.
This leave is not paid by the employer; however, the employee has the opportunity to receive financial assistance from the State to cover some of his/her lost salary.
Parental leave / right to work part-time
Any employee in the private sector having worked for the employer for at least one year on the date of (1) the birth of his/her child or (2) the adoption of child younger than 16 years old is entitled to:
• Take unpaid parental leave; or
• Work part-time at least 16 hours per week.
Either of these rights may be exercised by either the father and/or the mother of the child in question, concurrently or successively.
In the case of the birth of a child, the employee may exercise his/her right at any time after the birth of the child until the child’s third birthday. The initial period of the parental leave or part-time work is one year. This period may be extended up to two more times, but must in any case end by the child’s third birthday. However, this period may be extended a third time with the employer’s authorisation.
In the case of adoption, if the child is younger than three years old, the employee’srights are the same as for the birth of a child. If the child is older than three and younger than 16 years old, any parental leave or right to part-time work must end by the first anniversary date of the arrival of the child in the employee’shome.
Leave for international adoptions
An employee, who has received official approval from the French government to adopt a child from the French overseas departments or a foreign country, is entitled to a maximum of six weeks unpaid leave to adopt a child.
Leave in case of life threatening illness
In the event that a parent or child or a person residing with the employee is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, the employee is entitled to take up to three months unpaid leave, renewable once, to care for that person.
Leave to care for a relative with a handicap or a certain loss of autonomy
An employee having worked for his employer for at least two years is entitled to take up to three months unpaid leave to care for a relative with a handicap or having a certain loss of autonomy. This three month unpaid leave may be renewed, but may not exceed one year over the employee’s entire career.
7 Does a period of continuous employment create benefits for employees?Yes. Different kinds of entitlements, such as paid holidays and severance pay, may be increased depending upon the number of an employee’syears of service to the employer.
Certain collective bargaining agreements also provide for bonuses on the basis of seniority.
Additionally, in the case of the implementation of redundancy procedures, an employee’s seniority will be a consideration in the ordering of employee terminations.
7.1 If individual employees are transferred to a new entity, are they deemed to retain their period of continuous employment?Yes.
8 To what extent are temporary and agency workers entitled to the same rights and benefits as permanent employees?In general, temporary and agency workers are entitled to the same rights and benefits as permanent employees given that many rights and benefits are required by French law and/or provided by the French social security system rather than individual employers.
There are certain benefits that temporary and agency workers enjoy which are slightly different from those enjoyed by permanent employees. Permanent employees are usually entitled to severance pay upon termination, which is determined by the employment contract or the applicable CBA. Employees with little seniority will not receive very much in severance pay; whereas, temporary and agency workers will receive a large end of contract or end of mission bonus in relation to the actual time worked.
It is important to note that French law requires hiring of permanent employees under indefinite term contracts except in limited cases where temporary or agency workers may be hired.
Any employment contracts not falling into these limited cases will automatically be construed as a CDI and the employee considered a permanent employee.
French law does not recognise ‘temporary workers’. Thus, in practice, employees who work for an employer for a predetermined and limited time period will be considered employees hired under fixed-term employment contracts (see above) or agency workers (see below).
For clarification, an agency worker is contractually bound to the employment agency and not the hiring company (the ultimate recipient of the agency workers services) via a mission contract (‘contrat de mission’).
In general, agency workers are entitled to all of the same rights and benefits as permanent employees of the hiring company. More specifically, agency workers:
• must be paid at least the same salary as a permanent employee within the hiring company performing the same duties as the agency worker;
• must be paid at least every 16 days;
• receive the ordinary health care benefits provided under the French social security system;
• receive accident insurance coverage and retirement benefits under their mission contract;
• receive all the same paid holidays as the employees of the hiring company;
• acquire paid holiday at the same legal rate as all other employees and are entitled to use them after 10 days or 70 hours of work completed; and
• are entitled to the same government unemployment benefits as permanent employees, subject to certain special rules of agency workers.
Additionally, agency workers are generally entitled at the end of their employment contract to receive an end of contract bonus usually equal to 10% of the total gross salary and bonuses received by the employee over the course of the mission contract.
9 What statutory data protection rights do employees have?French law provides for extensive employee data protection rights, in particular, through a law entitled ‘Loi Informatique et Libert√©s’s.
The five principal protection rights provided for employees under this law are:
1. The principal of finality ‚Äì original purpose/use of the information
Information of a personal nature (hereinafter referred to as ‘IPN’s) can only be collected and processed for a specific and legitimate use. Use of IPN for uses other than its original purpose may be subject to criminal prosecution. For example, information entered into a travel purchasing site by an employee cannot be subsequently used by an employer to track the employee’sactivities. Thus, the purposes sought by the installation of a computer program must be clearly defined prior to its installation.
2. The principal of the proportionality and pertinence of the data
Only pertinent and necessary IPN may be processed for the intended purposes. For example, the collection of information on the employee’sfamily, state of health or the social security number of a recruitment candidate is not pertinent. Registration of the marital and family status of an employee is only justifiable for the purpose of allocating specific benefits to the employee or his/her family.
Additionally, employers may not implement mechanisms to monitor employees which will disproportionately restrict individual rights and liberties in relation to the goal sought and justified by the legitimate interests of the employer. For example: continual video surveillance of a work station is only permitted where there is a particular and proven risk to the safety of the employee concerned.
Information may not be conserved indefinitely in computer files. A term of conservation must be set according to the purpose of each file.
3. The principal of a limited conservation period for information of a personal nature
Information of a personal nature cannot be retained indefinitely in computerised files. A period of conservation must be determined in advance in accordance with the purpose of each file.
4. The principle of the security and confidentiality of data of a personal nature
The employer responsible for processing is bound by an obligation of security; it must take necessary measures to ensure the confidentiality of the data and avoid disclosure to unauthorised third parties.
Thus, data of a personal nature may only be consulted by persons authorised to access pursuant to their duties.
The data may nevertheless be communicated to persons authorised to have knowledge of it pursuant to specific statutory laws (works inspectors, tax authorities, police‚Ä¶).
5. The principle of the respect of individual rights
5.1 Required notice to concerned persons
At the time of the digitisation of his/her data, the employee concerned or the job candidate must be clearly informed of the goals sought, the obligatory or optional nature of their responses, the recipient of the data and the means for exercising their rights under the law ‘Informatique et libertés (right of access, correction and challenge).
5.2 Right to access and correct
Any person may ask the holder of a file to communicate to him/her all information concerning them, contained in this file. He/she is also entitled to correct or delete erroneous information. For example: an employee may access his/her professional file.
5.3 Right to challenge
All individuals have the right to challenge, for legitimate reasons, the registration of data of a personal nature in a computer file, unless it is required by statutory or regulatory law. For example: a person may, under certain conditions, oppose the on-lining of his/her professional contact information or his/her photograph.
10 What protection do employees have from discrimination or harassment, and on what grounds?Protection from discrimination
French law prohibits employers from making decisions regarding a person (i.e., hiring, promotion, salary, disciplinary action) on the basis of factors inherent to an individual (i.e., origin, sex, morals/values, family situation, nationality, religion) or his/her activities (i.e., political, union, involvement in strikes).
Failure to comply with these principles renders not only the employer, but also any social partners, civilly and/or criminally liable.
Protection from moral harassment
No employee should be subject to repeated moral harassment where the purpose or effect is to degrade works conditions so as to damage his/her rights and dignity, to alter his/her physical or mental health or compromise his/her professional future. The head of the company must take all necessary steps to prevent harassment. Failure to meet this obligation will enable the victim to demand a court ordered termination of his/her employment contract.
No employee may be disciplined, dismissed or discriminated against, directly or indirectly, for having been subject to or refused to be subject to, testifying or reporting such harassment. Moral harassment is a crime.
Sexual harassment of a person to obtain favours of a sexual nature for the harasser or a third party is prohibited by French law. No employee or hiring, intern or professional training candidate may be disciplined, dismissed or discriminated against, directly or indirectly, for having been subject to or refused to be subject to, testifying or reporting such harassment. The head of the company must take all necessary steps to prevent sexual harassment.
11 Do whistle-blowers have any protection? If so, please give details.Yes. Employees reporting moral or sexual harassment may not be disciplined, dismissed or be the subject of a discriminatory act.
Additionally, there is an established reporting procedure by which whistle-blowers may report a violation of individual rights, physical or mental health or individual liberties to an employee representative. If this employee representative determines that the violation in question is unjustified in relation to the nature of the task to be accomplished or disproportional to the goal sought, then they must bring the issue to the attention of the employer.
12 What rights do employees have when their employment contract is terminated? Please provide information on:
12.1 Notice periods.The length of the notice period will depend on whether (1) the employee is resigning or (2) the employer is dismissing, for reasons other than economic reasons.
Notice periods are determined by national, regional or local CBAs. Notice periods based on professional practices are only applicable where the applicable CBA fails to set a notice period.
Employment contracts may provide for a more favourable notice period than that in the CBA, i.e. a shorter notice period. However, they may not provide for longer notice periods than what is set by law, the CBA or professional practice. The employee may not impose a notice period on the employer that is longer than that set by the CBA.
Termination by the employer
In the case of termination by the employer, for reasons other than for gross negligence or gross misconduct, the law sets forth minimum lengths for the notice period which vary based on the employee’s years of service.
Years of service Mandatory notice period
Less than 6 months Is the same as that applicable for employee resignations
Greater than 6 months, but less than 2 years 1 month
2 years or more 2 months
Where a CBA, individual employment contract or professional practice provides for a longer notice period or contains years of service terms which are more favourable to the employee, the latter shall apply. However, any employment contract that provides for a notice period shorter than the legal minimum or that contains stricter years of service terms is automatically null and void.
It should be noted that there are other specific laws that deal with required notice periods in the case of retirement.
Employee’s rights during the notice period
In general, during the notice period, the employee maintains the same rights that he/she had prior to the commencement of the notice period.
Right to time off to job search
However, CBAs and/or employment contracts are likely to provide that the employee may take time off during work hours to look for new employment.
If neither the applicable CBA nor employment contract provide for this possibility, the employee may still be entitled to this right pursuant to professional practices. When a specific number of hours is set to permit the employee to job search, the employer must grant these hours to the employee, unless the employer can show that these hours would be useless to the employee.
Waiver of the notice period by the employer
Lastly, the employer may decide to waive the employee’s notice period. In this case, the employer is required to continue to pay the employee for the entire duration of the notice period. For example, if the notice period is for three months, if the employer waives the last two months of the notice period, the employer will still be obliged to pay the employee for all three months of the notice period.
Employee’s right to request to be released from the notice period
An employee may always request to be released from his/her notice period. If the employer agrees, the employee will no longer be an employee as of the employer’s consent. The employee will not be entitled to receive his/her salary for the portion of the notice period they have been released from working.
If upon the employer’s refusal of this request, the employee chooses not to work during the notice period or to work for only part of the notice period, the employer may sue the employee for compensatory damages.
12.2 Severance payments.For the purposes herein, severance payments refer to payments made by an employer to an employee upon the termination of their employment contract prior to its expiration, whether initiated by the employer or the employee. It does not include any other sums which may be paid to the employee as part of the severance package, i.e., seniority bonuses, or compensatory damages which may be owed in the case of wrongful termination by the employer.
The topic of severance payments is very complicated. Their calculation and amount may be governed by either French law, the applicable CBA, a company agreement, the company’s internal regulations, the employment contract or professional practices as well as numerous other factors such as:
• the type of employment contract involved,
• the cause of the termination of the employment contract,
• the profession involved,
• whether the termination was lawful or abusive,
• whether the employee falls within a class of protected employees, such as employee representatives,
• whether the employee was an agency worker,
• whether the employment contract was mutually terminated,
• whether an amicable agreement is concluded between the employer after termination of the employee,
• whether a lawsuit is brought before the French employment courts.
Minimum legal severance payments
That being said, French law does provide for a minimum severance payment for all permanent employees having continuously worked with at least one year’s service at the time of termination, except in case of gross negligence or gross misconduct. This minimum is regardless of the number of personnel.
This minimum severance payment is calculated on the basis of the gross salary earned by the employee prior to termination and applies to terminations and redundancies. However, it shall not apply, if there is an applicable agreement or if the employment contract provides for a higher severance payment.
Contractual severance payments
Contractual severance payments include those provided for by applicable collective agreements (hereafter referred to as ‘CA’ ), an individual employment contract or by reference in the employment contract to a CA or a statute therein, or internal company regulations. These contractual severance payments are only applicable if they are higher than the legal minimum.
Either the contractual or the minimum legal severance payment, not both, shall be paid to the employee in the event of termination.
In the event that the severance payment provided by an individual employment contract is excessive, the employer may seek to have it reduced by a court pursuant to French law. However, an employer may not seek a court ordered reduction of an excessive severance payment, if it is (1) set by CA or if (2) the employer unilaterally undertook to pay it.
12.3 Any procedural requirements for dismissal.There are two procedural requirements for the dismissal of an employee for reasons other than economic reasons.
First, the employer must carry out a preliminary interview with the employee prior to deciding whether to dismiss the employee. There are specific laws governing how the employee will be notified of this preliminary interview, the content of that notice, the agenda of the interview, the location of the interview, as well as the individuals who may be present at the interview.
Notification of Dismissal
Secondly, there are procedural requirements regarding the notification of the dismissal to the employee, such as the form of the notice (i.e., by registered mail), timing of the notice, author and recipient of the notice, and content of the notice. There are special rules regarding specific categories of employees, such as employees on maternity or sick leave.
Sanctions for Procedural Irregularity
Employers who fail to satisfy these procedural requirements are susceptible to a claim by the employee(s) and thereby to a court order to (1) satisfy any procedural requirements that were not duly carried out and (2) pay compensatory damages to the employee(s) concerned for injuries suffered as a consequence of the employer’s non-compliance. The application of these sanctions will depend on the employee’s years of service and the size of the employer’s personnel.
13 What protection do employees have against dismissal? Are there any specific categories of protected employees?Protection against at-will dismissals
In contrast to certain countries, where employment contracts are at-will contracts which may be terminated at any time for any reason, French law provides that employers may only dismiss employees for real and serious grounds.
An employee may be dismissed for one of two reasons: (1) reasons inherent to the person of the employee, such as misconduct or negligence, professional incompetence and absenteeism or prolonged medical leave having negative effects on the business or (2) reasons related to the economic situation of the employer.
In the first case, the dismissal must be based on objective facts which are imputable to the employee. In the second case, the dismissal must be based on real and serious, persistent financial difficulties experienced by the employer at the time of the dismissal and which are likely to continue into the future.
Sanctions against employer for wrongful dismissal
Should the employer dismiss an employee, whether on personal or economic grounds, without a real and serious cause, the employer renders itself susceptible to court ordered:
1. Indemnification of any employee concerned for injuries suffered due to his/her wrongful dismissal;
2. Court ordered reintegration of any dismissed employee into the employer’s business; and/or
3. Court ordered reimbursement of unemployment pay received by any employee concerned from the French social security system.
The applicability of these sanctions, however, depends upon the employee’s years of service and the size of the employer’s personnel.
Employee representatives, pregnant employees and employees suffering from a work related illness or accident are all protected employees.
‘Employee representatives’s include elected or appointed employee representatives, union representatives, members of health and safety committees, employees mandated to negotiate CAs, employees having certain special duties within the company (such employees representing the employee interests in the case of court ordered reorganisation), employees having requested the organisation of professional elections. Protection against dismissal is extended beyond current employee representatives to cover former representatives and candidates for such positions.
14 What rules apply on redundancies?Real and Serious Grounds for Redundancies
The general rule regarding redundancies is that they are only lawful for real and serious economic reasons. More specifically, these real and serious economic reasons must be of relatively long duration and must exist at the time of the redundancy. Any redundancy carried out in the absence of such real and serious economic grounds will render the employer civilly liable to the employee(s) concerned for wrongful termination as well as for various legal sanctions set forth in the French Labour Code. It should be noted that as a matter of public policy, French laws and courts favour protecting employees and their employment.
There are extensive procedural rules governing redundancies. Indeed, all of our comments above to questions 12 and 13 apply to redundancies, in addition to the special rules applicable only to redundancies. The application of these special rules depends on the (1) number of redundancies involved, (2) the size of the employer company and (3) the time period in which the redundancies occur.
There are six distinct sets of procedural rules governing the following classes of redundancy:
1. redundancy of an individual employee:
a. within a company having less than 50 employees;
b. within a company having 50 or more employees;
2. collective redundancy (two or more redundancies) within a company having less than 50 employees:
c. concerning less than 10 employees over a period of 30 days;
d. concerning 10 or more employees over a period of 30 days;
3. collective redundancy within a company having 50 or more employees:
e. concerning less than 10 employees over a period of 30 days; and
f. concerning 10 or more over a period of 30 days.
There are, however, general rules which apply to most or all of these types of redundancy regarding the ordering of the redundancies, the interview prior to termination, the termination notice to the employee and the termination notice to the French labour authorities.
Procedural Requirements for Redundancies
Order of redundancies
For individual redundancies and collective redundancies, except in the case where all of the positions within a particular category are eliminated, the employer must use an established set of ordering criteria to determine the order in which employees will be made redundant.
These criteria may be set by the applicable CA or CBA or where it is not, the employer must create them itself, after consulting its Works Council or the employee representatives, in the absence of a Works Council.
Factors that the ordering criteria must take into consideration, among others, are:
• family responsibilities (especially for single parents);
• years of service;
• certain factors which may make it more difficult for an employee to find a new job, such as a handicap or the age of the employee; and
• professional skills.
In general, these ordering criteria must be applied to all of the employer’s personnel, whether full time or part time employees, not just the department(s) in which positions will be eliminated. Special rules apply to employees on parental leave and employees that have suffered from a work accident.
Additionally, if requested by an employee, the employer must provide a copy of these ordering criteria to the employee.
As in question 12.3 above
Notice of Termination to the Employee
As in question 12.3 above
Notice of Termination to the Works Inspector
Once the employer has decided to dismiss the employee for economic reasons, it must inform the competent Works Inspector thereof within 8 days of the date on which the employer mailed the notice of termination to the employee by registered mail.
As you can see, French law provides for extensive regulation of redundancies and failure to meet any one of these requirements may result in costly delays and/or lawsuits brought by the affected employees for wrongful dismissal.
Sanctions for Irregularities in the Redundancy Procedure
See ‘Sanctions for Procedural Irregularity’ at question 12.3
15 Are employees entitled to management representation (such as on the board of directors) or to be consulted about issues that affect them?Yes, employees are entitled to collective management representation on the board of directors or the board of trustees and to be consulted about issues affecting them.
The Works Council must be represented at meetings of the Board of Directors or Board of Trustees in all companies having a Board of Directors or Trustees.
The Works Council appoints two of its members as delegates to the Board. These delegates have the right to (1) attend, (2) participate in Board meetings, (3) receive all documents provided to the directors or trustees in relation to Board meetings, but (4) have no voting rights. They may also submit the wishes of the Works Council to the Board, the Board must then issue an opinion on these, specifying their reasons for the opinions.
In case of emergency, the Works Council may also seek a Court ordered appointment of an agent to call a general shareholders‚Äô meeting and add draft resolutions to the meeting agenda. Additionally, two members of the Works Council may attend and be heard at general meetings when decisions must be made unanimously.
Employees’ representative bodies
The kind of employee representation that exists within a given company will depend on its size as well as other factors, such as the existence of other businesses on their site, the company’s inclusion in a group, whether French, European or international.
The two most common employees representative institutions are the personnel delegates and the Works Council.
Companies having 11 or more employees are required to organise elections for personnel delegates. The number of a given company’s personnel delegates depends on the size of the company, with a minimum of one principal personnel delegate and one deputy personnel delegate.
Companies having 50 or more employees are required to have a Works Council comprised of the employer or its representative, who chairs the Council, and at least 3 principal and 3 deputy Works Council Personnel Delegates elected by the employees. The actual number of a company’s Works Council Personnel Delegates will depend on the number of the company’s employees.
Companies with less than 11 employees are not required by law to organise elections for personnel delegates or to establish a Works Council.
French law requires employers to consult with their employees on a very wide range of matters concerning the company, in particular matters concerning the company’s financial and economic situation as such matters will have an effect on the employees.
Employee Representative Bodies
In general, employers must consult the Works Council on an extensive list of matters concerning the financial and economic situation of the company in question. This consultation must usually take place prior to any decision made by the employer. Additionally, in order to permit the Works Council to prepare a reasoned opinion on the matter for the employer, the employer must provide the Works Council with detailed, written information on which it can base its opinion and with sufficient time to review the matter.
For companies having no Works Council, but which are required to have Personnel Delegates, these Personnel Delegates must be consulted in the same manner and on many of the same matters as for the Works Council.
Employers who fail to duly consult with either the Works Council or the Personnel Delegates subject themselves to the sanctions discussed in Question 16 below.
15.1 Is employee consultation or consent required for major transactions (such as acquisitions, disposals or joint ventures)?Yes, the Works Council (‘CE’ ) or the Personnel Delegates must be consulted for major transactions such as acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures. They must also be consulted on bankruptcy related matters as well.
The CE must be consulted on a wide range of matters including major transactions such as acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures as well as:
• the organisation, management and general operation of the business, including measures affecting the volume or the organisation of the personnel, working hours or employment, working or professional training conditions;
• any change of the employer’s economic or legal business form; including mergers, sales, important modification to production structures, acquisition or sale of subsidiaries, purchase of interest in the employer by another company;
• changes to the duration or the organisation of work hours;
• introduction of new technology;
• changes to the internal rules;
• collective redundancies;
• termination of employee representatives.
Additionally, the CE must be regularly provided with certain quarterly, bi-annual or annual reports, many pertain to the employer’s financial, economic and accounting situation. It is also entitled to call for the assistance of a certified accountant, paid for by the employer, for certain purposes, such as to present a report on the financial situation of the company.
Again, for companies without a Works Council, but which are required to have Personnel Delegates, these Personnel Delegates must be consulted in the same manner and on many of the same matters as for the Works Council.
In the following cases, the positive opinion, absence of opposition or approval of the Works Council is required:
• Appointment and termination of the occupational physician, and employment litigation counsellor;
• Implementation of individualised working hours;
• Replacement of payment of overtime for comp time;
• For the determination of the number of Health, Safety and Work Conditions Committee, appointment of employee representatives;
• Refusal by the employer of an employee’s request for time off to participate in professional training, participate in economic, labour or union training or participate in meetings of family associations of which he/she is a representative; and
• The employer’s decision to opt for the lump sum deduction for professional expenses.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of the matters on which employees’ representatives, whether the Personnel Delegates or the Works Council, must be consulted upon.
16 What are the remedies that are available if an employer fails to comply with its consultation duties?The Works Council or Personnel Delegates may either sue the employer for compensation of injuries suffered as a result of the failure to consult or for improper consultation of the Works Council.
Failure by the chief executive or employer’s representative to consult with the Works Council also constitutes criminal interference (‘d√©lit d‚Äôentrave’s ) punishable by one year imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of 3,750 € for the first violation and two years‚Äô imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of 7,500 € for repeated offences. The employer company shall also be subject to a fine of 18,750 €.
16.1 Can employees take action to prevent any proposals going ahead?The Works Council may also seek a court order to suspend the implementation of the employer’s proposal until the employer has duly consulted it. If the Works Council does not seek this suspension, a union may.
17 Is there any statutory protection of employees on a business transfer? In particular:
17.1 Are they automatically transferred with the business?
Yes, the transfer of a business will result in the automatic transfer of its personnel.
More precisely, the transfer of any autonomous economic entity, for example, an organised group or persons with its own operating resources, clients and line of business, will result in the automatic transfer of the entity’s personnel. Thus the personnel of a business may also be automatically transferred as a result of the transfer of part of a business or as a result of a sub-contract, service provider agreement or change in the company’s activity where the employer does not change.
In derogation of this general rule, the transferor and transferee of the autonomous economic entity may mutually agree that certain employees will stay with the former employer, transferor.
17.2 Are they protected against dismissal (before or after the disposal)?There are no special protections against dismissal in relation to the transfer of employment contracts in the context of the transfer of a business as an on-going concern or a business activity.
However, French law does protect employees against being made redundant immediately prior to the transfer by the transferring employer. Any redundancies carried out in violation of this law are considered to be ineffective and may result in the reinstatement of the employee in question or the payment of an indemnity.
17.3 Is it possible to harmonise their terms of employment with other (existing) employees of the buyer?Individual Employment Contracts
The terms of individual employment contracts that have transferred, may be (1) modified by the employer in conformity with the laws generally governing the modification of employment contracts or (2) the employer and employee may mutually agree to their novation under the same terms as those of the buyer’s other (existing) employees.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
Since CBAs are not automatically transferred with the transferred business and employees, either the employer or the transferred employee must request the initiation of negotiations with a union. Negotiations must commence within three months of this request and will result in either the adaptation of the provisions of the newly applicable collective bargaining agreement or the creation of entirely new collective bargaining provisions.
The transferred employees will continue to benefit from the CBA that was applicable between the transferred employees and their former employer for a limited time, this is usually 15 months. The transferred employees will also benefit, commencing the date of their transfer, from any practices, atypical agreements and generally applicable unilateral undertakings by the employer already existing in the transferee company. However, these benefits may cease, if the new employer formally renounces them or they are now covered by provisions in a new collective bargaining agreement.
18 Is it common to reward employees through contractual or discretionary bonuses? Are there restrictions or guidelines on what bonuses can be awarded? If so, please give details.
Yes, it is common to reward employees through contractual and discretionary bonuses
Contractual bonuses, whether provided for in an individual employment contract or CBA, are considered to be comprised as part of the legal remuneration owed by the employer to the employee. Consequently, they may not be modified without the express consent of the employee concerned.
French case law provides that for a bonus to be considered a contractual bonus: (1) the amount of the bonus must be based on objective criteria; (2) the employee must not share the employer’s risk and (3) the employee’s salary must be equal to or greater than the statutory minimum wage or the minimum wage set by the applicable CBA, whichever is higher.
Discretionary bonuses are bonuses that an employer is under no obligation to grant, but which it nevertheless does grant for an amount and at a time unilaterally determined by the employer. Thus, there are no statutory or regulatory restrictions or guidelines on discretionary bonuses, except those prohibiting unlawful discrimination (such as on the basis of race or gender). As such, discretionary bonuses are not considered an integral part of an employee’s remuneration.
However, the French Civil Supreme Court found in a recent decision that discretionary bonuses (1) must be justified on objective and appropriate grounds which (2) must be provided to the employee prior to entering into the employment contract. Since then it is unclear whether or not discretionary bonuses still exist in France today.
It is important to note that discretionary bonuses that are granted over a period of time (1) on a consistent basis, (2) using the same means for determining the amount (not necessarily a mathematical formula, but for example, if the bonus always equals the employee’s December salary) and (3) generally granted (i.e. to all employees or to all employees within a certain department) may be considered a company practice, in which case it will be considered an integral part of an employee’s remuneration, which the employer will then be obliged to pay.
However, unlike the case for contractual bonuses which may not be altered without the express consent of the employee concerned, French case law permits an employer to cease payment of this kind of bonus, provided that the employer give reasonable notice (usually at least three months) of its decision to alter the bonus, to the employees concerned on an individual basis as well as to any employee representatives.
19 Is it possible to restrict an employee’s activities during employment and after termination? If so, in what circumstances can this be done? Must an employer pay its former employees remuneration while they are subject to post-employment restrictive covenants?Yes, employee’s activities may be restricted both during and after employment.
Regarding employee loyalty, all employees are bound by a general duty of loyalty prohibiting them from engaging in activities which may harm their employer’s interests.
This general duty may be reinforced by the inclusion of a specific non-compete clause in a given employee’s employment contract.
Additionally, an employment contract may include provisions requiring an employee to devote all of his/her efforts to the company’s business and/or prohibiting an employee from participating in any other, compensated or uncompensated, professional activity.
The principal means of restricting an employee’s activities after termination of their employment contract, is by means of a contractual non-compete undertaking by the employee.
However, French courts will only recognise a non-complete undertaking which:
1. is essential to protect the employer company’s legitimate interests;
2. is limited in time (usually no more than two years) and to a specific geographic region;
3. does not prevent the employee from working in his/her field;
4. required the employer to pay the employee an indemnity for the entire period during which he/she is subject to the non-compete restriction.
It should be noted that some non-compete provisions provide that the employer may elect not to enforce the provision against the employee, usually by means of a notice given by registered letter to the employee by a certain deadline.
20 Are there any proposals for major reform of employment law or pensions law in your jurisdiction?Recent reforms in French pension law increased the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 (to be fully implemented by 2018), the pension age from 65 to 67 and the number of years of work required to qualify for a full pension to 41.5 years. These minimum ages may, however, differ for public servants and employees who have worked in particularly difficult jobs or industries.
21 Does an employer need to have a subsidiary company, branch or other legal entity to employ people? If so, is there a requirement for a general manager or other key personnel?An Employer does not need to have a subsidiary company, branch or other legal entity present in France to employ persons in France. However, if the Employee is performing his/her services in France, the Employer will be required to register its company with the French authorities and pay French Social Security contributions (and employment related taxes) for the employee.
This registration will require the employer to select a business form, for the basis on which its tax liability will be determined. Therefore, it is highly suggested that the employer should consult a French labour and/or companies law specialist prior to proceeding with such a registration.
This registration with the French authorities does not, require the employer to hire a general manager or any other key personnel in France; however, for administrative ease the employer may opt to hire legal representative in France, who will be responsible for making any necessary social security filings and payments for employees covered under the French social security system.
22 Does salary need to be paid in the country in which the work is done?In France, the issue is not whether the salary is paid in France or to an account in another country. The issue is where this salary will be subject to social security contributions and taxation in France.
The general rule is that employers and employees are responsible to pay French social security contributions and related taxes for work carried out in France.
However, there is an exception in the case of seconded employees (except in the case of intragroup mobility). Where an employee, duly established and doing business outside of France, regularly works for this employer and performs his/her duties in France for a limited time period at the request of this employer and under certain conditions set forth in the French Employment Code, the employer and employee shall be exempt from paying employment related and social security taxes for the employee working in France.
23 Do meetings and documents need to be in your local language even if both parties speak good English?French law requires that certain documents, often those which must be submitted to French courts or authorities, must be either drafted in or translated into French. Examples of such documents are employment contracts, accounting documents and certain documents relating to the annual approval of accounts.
24 What legal limitations are there on the notice period the parties can agree (for example minimum notice periods)?
Legal limitations on notice periods depend on the subject matter. In the area of labour, the minimum required notice period for terminations depends on the type of employment contract involved, whether it’s part time, full time, contractual or full time employee, managerial or non-managerial, manual worker, etc. Thus the minimum notice period can range from several hours to several months.
In general, minimum notice periods for termination of an employment contract are determined by the individual employment contract, any applicable collective agreement, internal regulations, etc. Where there is a conflict between the minimum notice period set forth in the individual employment contract and another agreement, the longer period shall prevail.
In relation to indefinite term employment contracts, the amount of notice that a resigning employee must give to his/her employer is usually determined by the applicable CBA. It is only in rare cases that French law sets forth a minimum notice period for resigning employees, except in the case of nursery school assistants, professional journalists and sales representatives (‘VRP’s ). However, in the absence of a specific, written agreement providing for a longer notice period, French law provides that employers shall provide employees with the following minimum notice periods:
Number of years of service Minimum required notice period
Less than 6 months The same period for employee resignation
Between 6 months and 2 years 1 month
Greater than 2 years 2 months
As mentioned earlier, the employer is not required to provide this minimum notice period in the event of serious or gross negligence or misconduct.
Additionally, regardless of whether the applicable notice period is set by statute or an agreement between the parties, the employer may elect to release the employee from completing this notice period upon the employee’s request or upon the employer’s initiative. However, in cases where the decision is made on the employer’s initiative, the employer will still be liable to pay the employee his/her full salary for the entire duration of the notice period.
In the event that the employee unilaterally decides not to satisfy his/her notice period, he/she shall be liable to the employer for an indemnity, even if the employer suffered no loss as result of the employee’s non-compliance. The employee may also be liable to the employer for additional damages, if the employee’s non-compliance with the notice period was abusive or with the intent to injure the employer.
25 What benefits does the employer have to provide in addition to salary?In addition to the social security contributions and paid vacation days discussed above, employers are also required to provide employees with compulsory supplemental accident and sickness insurance and a pension plan.
26 Are there circumstances where it is possible to engage someone as a consultant rather than an employee? If so, what are those circumstances?Any business may choose to engage a consultant under a service contract rather than hire an employee under an employment contract.
In this case, the consultant would need to have the right to work in France or the EU as a consultant. In France, the consultant would also have to have the appropriate status, such as ‘travailleur independent’s (independent contractors), ‘profession lib√©rale’s (such as lawyers, accountants, architects, etc.). If the person in question does not already have such a status, he/she would need to go through the appropriate administrative procedures to obtain such a status before being hired as a consultant.
It is, however, extremely important to note that French courts are able to reclassify a consulting contract into an employment contract, if the consultant has a subordinate relationship to the hiring business, if the consultant spends most of his/her time working for the hiring business or if the consultant has no other clients. In such a case, the relationship between the two parties would be reclassified as an employment contract and subject both parties to all of the corresponding provisions of the French Labour Code.
26.1 Where applicable, what are the advantages and disadvantages of engaging as a consultant rather than an employee?The major advantage of engaging a consultant rather than an employee is that the relationship with the consultant will not be subject to French employment laws and regulation which tend to be very restrictive, but to contractual terms mutually agreed upon in advance between the employer and the consultant.
The major disadvantage is that the consultant may be reclassified by a French court as an employee under the conditions discussed above.
27 What other key issues should a company employing someone be aware of?As a general precautionary note, in particular for common law jurisdictions, in practice no at-will employment contracts exist in France. French law strongly favours employee rights over employer rights. Consequently, with the exception of cases of gross negligence or misconduct, the termination of indefinite term employment contracts frequently result in legal proceedings before French employment courts resulting in significant costs to the employer in the form of severance pay and/or compensation indemnities for wrongful termination as well as court and other legal fees.
For these reasons employers should ensure the inclusion of the longest possible probationary period in any indefinite term employment contract and with the assistance of a French employment attorney carefully consider all of the possible hiring options: indefinite term employment contracts, definite term employment contracts, temporary employment contracts, intragroup mobility, secondments, the use of consultants, etc.
Employers would also be well advised to consult with a French attorney whenever the employer intends to change individual or collective employment conditions or terminate individual or multiple employment contracts.
For further information please contact
DDI: +44 (0) 1223 225286
Email: roger.james [at] taylorvinters.com
Articles in this publication are intended as an overview of the subject area and should not be relied on as legal or other professional advice. You should seek specific legal advice before taking action on any of the issues raised.
Taylor Vinters is a trading name of Taylor Vinters LLP. Taylor Vinters LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales (registered number OC343503) which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority for investment business. A list of members is available from our registered office.