An original organization of working hours in France: “le forfait en jours”

Posted on 12th October, 2022

Estimated reading time 5 minutes

In France, working time regulations may be confusing. Although the legal duration of work is equal to 35 hours per week, exceptions to this rule are numerous.

French Labor Law provides for multiple arrangements, including but not limited to a fixed annual working time in days ("forfait (annuel) en jours"). This type of working time arrangement provides for an employee’s working time to be calculated by the number of days worked per year instead of the number of hours worked per week.

Let’s discuss the main advantages, constraints, and risks of this arrangement.

The main advantage of a “forfait jours” is that the employer does not have to control the working hours. The employer has to check with the employee that he/she respects the mandatory rest periods and that his workload is not excessive.

Therefore, an employee could exceptionally work up to a maximum of 78 hours per week. However, considering health and safety issues and the necessity to respect work/personal life balance, it is strongly advised to ensure that the employee does not regularly exceed the maximum of 48 hours per week.

I — Eligible employees

Employees eligible to a "forfait-jour" arrangement are strictly limited. Indeed, only those who benefit from a genuine autonomy in the organization of their working hours and either whose duties do not require them to follow a collective timetable or whose working hours cannot be predetermined are eligible, pursuant to Article L. 3121-58 of the French Labor Code.

Before enforcing a "forfait-jour" arrangement, it is essential to ensure that the employee has the required autonomy. Failing that, the employee cannot be forced to comply with the "forfait-jour" arrangement and can claim overtime payment for any hours worked in excess of 35 hours per week.

II — Implementation

Implementation of a "forfait-jour" arrangement is subject to two conditions.

1°/ A company collective agreement or an industry wide agreement must expressly authorize the implementation of a "forfait-jour" arrangement. Such agreement must determine the professional categories of employees eligible to the arrangement, as well as the maximum number of days that could be worked and the main characteristics of the arrangement.

In addition, case law requires the agreement to ensure compliance with mandatory daily and weekly rest periods (11 hours per day and 35 hours per week, without interruption). The employer is responsible for ensuring a reasonable workload and must accordingly, regularly follow-up on the organization of work. In this respect, the employer and the employee must meet at least one time every year to discuss the employee’s workload, the organization of work, remuneration, and work/personal life balance.

Unless the collective agreement complies with all the aforementioned conditions, the individual "forfait-jour" arrangement may be canceled and the employee may claim overtime payment.

2°/ The employment contract or an amendment signed with the employee must provide for the application of a "forfait-jour". Such convention sets out the number of days worked, the remuneration (respecting the minimum defined by the applicable industry wide agreement, if any), as well as the workload control modalities.

It is mandatory to have a monthly monitoring document of the days worked and not worked declared by the employee, also allowing the employer to ensure that the employee complies with his mandatory rest periods.

III — Number of days worked

Determined in the agreement, the number of days worked may not exceed 218 days per year. However, subject to the employer’s agreement, an employee may voluntarily work more than 218 days per year with at least 10% extra pay for the remuneration of the additional days worked (up to 235).

Find out more

This article was produced Fidere Avocats, France, a CELIA Alliance member firm.

For further information or if you have any queries relating to the content of this communication, please contact us.

CELIA Alliance
CELIA Alliance members are identified here. Members of the CELIA Alliance are each independent law firms and do not practice law jointly with any other member of the CELIA Alliance. "CELIA Alliance" and "CELIA" are not trading names. For more information about the CELIA Alliance click here.

Content is for general information purposes only. The information provided is not intended to be comprehensive and it does not constitute or contain legal or other advice. If you require assistance in relation to any issue please seek specific advice relevant to your particular circumstances. In particular, no responsibility shall be accepted by the authors or by Abbiss Cadres LLP for any losses occasioned by reliance on any content appearing on or accessible from this newsletter. For further legal information click here.

Circular 230 disclosure
To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS and other taxing authorities, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

If you would like to copy or otherwise reproduce this article then you may do so provided that: (1) any such copy or reproduction is for your own personal use or if it is made available to any third party it is done so on a free of charge basis; and (2) the article is reproduced in full together with the contact details, disclaimer and any logos as they appear on each article.