BY CONTACTING THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS:
- EURES (European employment services)
The EURES network in France is supported by Pôle emploi with APEC and CHEOPS-Cap emploi with advisers dedicated to international mobility.
See website: www.eures.europa.eu
- PÔLE EMPLOI (French governmental employment agency)
On the website: www.pole-emploi.fr, from abroad, you can create your candidate area via the ‘user area’ section, submit your profile online and search for job vacancies. Once you have arrived in France, you can register via the section ‘m'inscrire (demandeur d'emploi)’ (registering as a jobseeker), and you will be affiliated with the agency closest to you (network of over 890 agencies).
- APEC (Managerial Staff Employment Association) helps executives (positions of responsibility) and young graduates in their search for employment.
See website: www.apec.fr
- The CHEOPS-Cap emploi network....
- TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES charge the employer for their services, not the job seeker. See website: www.prisme.eu
- RECRUITMENT AGENCIES
These agencies are contracted by companies to manage the recruitment of certain highly skilled staff or those entrusted with positions of responsibility.
Examples of websites to visit: www.cadremploi.fr - www.cadresonline.com
- COMPANY WEBSITES
Companies often have a ‘Recruitment’ area. Use a search engine or business directory to find their internet address. You can also search the following website: www.labonneboite.pole-emploi.fr
- WRITTEN PRESS
The specialised trade press enables companies to recruit staff by publishing their vacancies. All titles and corresponding links can be found at: www.press-directory.com.
BY OBTAINING INFORMATION ABOUT THE DESIRED JOB
- The employer’s name is given in the job ad or you are sending an unsolicited application: obtain information about the employer in order to adapt your Curriculum Vitae and cover letter and prepare for your interview.
- Information to search for: sector of activity, company values, workforce, turnover, market share, name of a specific contact (unsolicited application), etc.
- Where can you find this information?
- On the internet by visiting the employer’s website and by using search engines.
- In the business directory: www.pagesjaunes.fr.
- Through the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in your country: www.uccife.org.
- The employer’s name is not given: work on your application by adapting your CV and/or cover letter based on the terms used in the job ad.
WORK ON YOUR APPLICATION TOOLS
- A ‘CV’ (Curriculum Vitae), which should be no more than two pages in length, usually contains the following sections:
- Civil status: First name, SURNAME, address, telephone number (with the international dialling code) and email address. Marital status, age and nationality (if you a national from the European Economic Area) are optional.
- Title: State the desired position, possibly including your strengths, for example: ‘TRILINGUAL SALES ASSISTANT – French-English-Spanish’.
- Work experience: include one paragraph per job, noting the dates, the position held, the company name, the economic sector and location, and detailing your responsibilities, tasks, results and the skills you applied. Your CV can be arranged in reverse chronological order (giving the last job first), in chronological order (from your first to your last job, which is used less and less), by skill (covering several jobs) or a combination of the above (by skill, with the company names and dates).
- Education: give the dates when you obtained your qualifications and their equivalent in the French educational system. See this website ‘4. Living conditions 4.7 Educational systems’.
- Language and computer skills: for languages, give your mother tongue. For French, specify your reading, writing and speaking levels.
- Another section (often entitled ‘Interests’): if you have already stayed in France, do not hesitate to mention it.
For more information, go to the Pôle Emploi website, specifically the ‘Vos services en ligne’ section [Your online services] via the following link:
- AN APPLICATION LETTER (cover letter), which should be no more than one page in length, is usually typed (applications are increasingly being sent by email). It allows you to show why you are interested in the company. It must also show how your profile matches the job requirements. A cover letter should have the following format:
- At the top left: Your first name, SURNAME, full address, telephone number (with the international dialling code) and email address.
- At the top right: the place from which the letter is being sent and the date.
- A few lines further down: the company’s address and the name of the person to whom the letter is being sent.
- The subject of the letter and/or the reference, for example: ‘Re: Product Manager - Ref. 758945L’.
- The body of the letter.
- At the bottom right: your signature.
For more information, go to the Pôle Emploi website, specifically the ‘Vos services en ligne’ section [Your online services] via the following link:
For more information, go to the Pôle Emploi website, specifically the ‘Organiser sa recherche’ section [Preparing for your job search] via the following link: https://www.emploi-store.fr/portail/centredinteret/preparersacandidatur…
An internship is a temporary placement in a professional environment that enables pupils or students to acquire professional skills related to their training. The trainee must be entrusted with tasks in accordance with the educational aims of his/her educational establishment.
- Traineeships and dual learning for young people in vocational training (CAP, BAC Pro, BTS).
- Traineeships for students undergoing university studies or vocational training: the traineeship is included in the university curriculum (for traineeships of 1 to 3 months) or takes place after the studies (for traineeships up to 6 months).
- Traineeships for foreign students in the framework of EU programmes. (Erasmus +).
Regardless of the category of traineeship, all applicable laws and regulations must be complied with.
- Young people in vocational training follow theoretical (general and vocational) and practical courses. An internship, the length of which varies depending on the course, is compulsory.
- The organisation of the school or university year and the duration and content of the student work placement are linked to the educational establishment and the corresponding university or vocational study programme.
- Internships for foreign jobseekers meet the requirements of the various European Union programmes.
Traineeships are open to all EU citizens.
In the case of third-country nationals, a Schengen visa is required for traineeships of less than three months, while a long-stay visa is required for traineeships of more than three months.
For more information:
Legislative and regulatory texts guarantee minimum standards regarding learning content, working conditions and transparency.
A traineeship cannot be offered to:
- replace an employee in the event of absence, suspension of employment contract or dismissal;
- perform a regular task within a permanent workstation;
- cope with a temporary increase in activity;
- carry out seasonal work.
Traineeships outside the curriculum are not allowed. They have to be part of a school or university curriculum. The work placements must be part of a training programme with a minimum of 200 hours of teaching in the presence of pupils or students per academic year.
A traineeship may not exceed 6 months per academic year (maximum 924 hours if the traineeship is completed in fractional periods), unless there are derogations.
Employers are required to comply with a cooling-off period between two traineeship periods: this period must be equivalent to 1/3 of the previous traineeship period. For example, after a 6-month traineeship, the employer must wait 2 months before hosting a new trainee in the same post (unless the traineeship is interrupted on the initiative of the trainee).
An agreement must be signed between the trainee, the host organisation, the educational establishment, the mentor teacher and the tutor within the host organisation. The traineeship agreement must mention a number of mandatory points, including the activities entrusted to the trainee.
The mentor teacher is responsible for monitoring the educational progress of the trainee pupil or student. The educational establishment defines the terms and conditions of this regular monitoring.
Living and working conditions
Employers who take on trainees for more than two months (the equivalent of 44 days at 7 hours a day) during the same school or university year must pay them a minimum compensation.
The hourly rate of the minimum wage for a traineeship has been equal to EUR 4.05 per hour of traineeship since 1 January 2023.
The bonus is calculated on the basis of the number of hours the trainee is actually present.
Under 309 hours, compensation is not compulsory.
Public organisations may not pay compensation in excess of the statutory minimum amount.
In the private sector, certain agreements may specify a higher amount of compensation.
Even if the trainee is not considered to be an employee, he/she has the same obligations as the other employees of the company, with regard to internal rules and regulations, working hours, working time, health and safety rules, etc.
For traineeships exceeding two months, the traineeship agreement must provide for the possibility of leave and absence for the trainee. Holiday pay is optional for the employer.
Rights and benefits
Even if the trainee is not considered to be an employee, he/she may benefit from the social and cultural activities offered by the host organisation.
When a company restaurant or restaurant vouchers are offered to employees, the trainee must have access to these benefits.
The employer is required to reimburse part of the transport costs incurred by the trainee, as provided for in the legislation.
The terms and conditions of social security cover depend on whether compensation is paid and the amount paid.
At the end of the traineeship, the host organisation must provide the trainee with a traineeship certificate stating the total effective duration of the traineeship and the amount of compensation paid.
Where to find opportunities / job vacancies
Legislative and regulatory texts:
How to come to France for a traineeship:
Where to find a traineeship and obtain information:
Funding and support
See the EURES portal for specific funding programmes:
Where to advertise opportunities
Employers can contact the educational institutions directly depending on the nature and content of the traineeship they offer.
They can publish their vacancies on the national website http://www.cidj.com/offres-de-stage or through the various social media channels.
They can also rely on spontaneous applications.
Funding and support
See the EURES portal for specific funding programmes:
The Law of 5 September 2018 gives a prominent place to apprenticeships.
The law on the freedom to choose one's professional future transforms the terms and conditions to make this training pathway more attractive as one of passion, excellence and the future, for young people, their families and businesses.
- Apprenticeships are fostered by market liberalisation for all training organisations wishing to provide training through apprenticeships and for which funding for each contract will be provided.
- It has been revalued with an increase in apprentices’ salaries, financial support for adult apprentices wishing to pass the B driving licence and the creation of one-off support for companies with fewer than 250 employees who sign an apprenticeship contract with a young person who prepares a diploma or qualification with a professional purpose that is at most equivalent to the baccalaureate;
- It has been extended, as apprenticeships are now open to people up to the age of 29, with the possibility of starting training at any time of the year, and with the duration of training adapted to the level of the apprentice.
The age limit for apprenticeship training is increased from 26 to 30 years. Young people over 26 are paid at least at the level of the minimum wage, as for the professionalisation contract.
Apprentices sign an apprenticeship contract with a company (in the public or private sector), which must be sent to the consular chamber for registration and to the Regional Directorate for Enterprises, Competition, Consumption, Work and Employment (DIRECCTE, Direction régionale des entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l'emploi), which issues an agreement.
Through this agreement, the apprentice is recognised as an employee for a period of between 1 month and 3 years, which alternates between the apprenticeship in-company phases and the course periods in an apprenticeship training centre (centre de formation d’apprentissage, CFA), an apprenticeship section or an apprenticeship training unit.
Apprenticeship contracts are aimed at young people (aged 16 to 30) preparing for one of the professional qualifications registered in the Répertoire national des certifications professionnelles (RNCP).
Special cases: there is no age limit for disabled workers, entrepreneurs and corporate rescuers in the case of involuntary termination of the previous apprenticeship contract.
A contract can be signed with two different companies (as part of a seasonal activity).
Since 2014, an apprenticeship contract can be concluded as part of a permanent contract, but the latter must begin with the apprenticeship period.
Description of schemes
The duration and content of the apprenticeship depend on the vocational training followed by the apprentice.
In general, the training comprises 400 hours of courses per year in an apprenticeship training centre, or CFA (at least 200 hours over 6 months), and work-based learning phases.
Throughout the apprenticeship period, an apprentice master (an employee or manager of the company) is responsible for the apprenticeship work carried out by the apprentice in the company. The tasks entrusted to the apprentice must be directly related to the vocational training being undertaken.
Every month, the apprentice receives a salary paid by the company, which depends on his or her age and qualification. (see ‘Living and working in France’).
If successful, the apprentice receives a diploma or professional certificate at the end of the apprenticeship period.
Links to the organisations in charge:
- The French Ministry of Labour, Full Employment and Integration (the website provides more information on the legal framework and provides examples of apprenticeship contracts): www.alternance.emploi.gouv.fr
- The French Ministry of National Education and Youth (information on the CFA apprenticeship training centres): www.education.gouv.fr
- The National Register of Professional Qualifications: www.rncp.cncp.gouv.fr
- The French network of chambers of commerce and industry (CCI) (with the list of consular chambers): www.cci.fr
- FIPA (Innovation Foundation for Apprenticeships), under the auspices of the FACE Foundation: http://www.fondationface.org
All EU citizens are eligible for apprenticeships. For non-EU citizens, a valid residence permit and a work permit are required. The application must be submitted by the prospective employer
Living and working conditions
As an employee, the apprentice has the same rights and obligations as any other employee within the company. The salary depends on the age and experience specified in the apprenticeship contract. See below:
Seniority of the contract
Below 18 years old
From 18 to 20 years old
Over 21 years old
27 % of the minimum wage
43 % of the minimum wage
53 % of the minimum wage
39 % of the minimum wage
51 % of the minimum wage
61 % of the minimum wage
55 % of the minimum wage
67 % of the minimum wage
78 % of the minimum wage
Where to find opportunities / job vacancies
- Pôle Emploi: www.pole-emploi.fr
- The French Ministry of Labour, Full Employment and Integration: www.alternance.emploi.gouv.fr
- The Apprenticeship Exchange: www.bourse-apprentissage.com/?
- France apprentissage: www.franceapprentissage.fr
- In the public sector: www.biep.fonction-publique.gouv.fr
- Directly on company websites
Funding and support
no information available
Where to advertise opportunities
See the previous section ‘Where can I find job vacancies’
Funding and support
There are various financial mechanisms: exemptions from social contributions for employers, subsidies (for small enterprises), reduced apprenticeship tax (for large companies), tax credits.
These benefits depend on the size of the company and its location.
Note: a disabled trainee can obtain financial support from the AGEFIPH organisation. www.agefiph.fr
To obtain financial aid and funding, employers must send the apprenticeship contract they have signed to the Skills Operator (Opérateur de Compétences, OPCO) responsible for their area.
The free movement of goods is one of the cornerstones of the European Single Market.
The removal of national barriers to the free movement of goods within the EU is one of the principles enshrined in the EU Treaties. From a traditionally protectionist starting point, the countries of the EU have continuously been lifting restrictions to form a ‘common’ or single market. This commitment to create a European trading area without frontiers has led to the creation of more wealth and new jobs, and has globally established the EU as a world trading player alongside the United States and Japan.
Despite Europe’s commitment to breaking down all internal trade barriers, not all sectors of the economy have been harmonised. The European Union decided to regulate at a European level sectors which might impose a higher risk for Europe’s citizens – such as pharmaceuticals or construction products. The majority of products (considered a ‘lower risk’) are subject to the application of the so-called principle of mutual recognition, which means that essentially every product legally manufactured or marketed in one of the Member States can be freely moved and traded within the EU internal market.
Limits to the free movement of goods
The EU Treaty gives Member States the right to set limits to the free movement of goods when there is a specific common interest such as protection of the environment, citizens’ health, or public policy, to name a few. This means for example that if the import of a product is seen by a Member State’s national authorities as a potential threat to public health, public morality or public policy, it can deny or restrict access to its market. Examples of such products are genetically modified food or certain energy drinks.
Even though there are generally no limitations for the purchase of goods in another Member State, as long as they are for personal use, there is a series of European restrictions for specific categories of products, such as alcohol and tobacco.
Free movement of capital
Another essential condition for the functioning of the internal market is the free movement of capital. It is one of the four basic freedoms guaranteed by EU legislation and represents the basis of the integration of European financial markets. Europeans can now manage and invest their money in any EU Member State.
The liberalisation of capital markets has marked a crucial point in the process of economic and monetary integration in the EU. It was the first step towards the establishment of our European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the common currency, the Euro.
The principle of the free movement of capital not only increases the efficiency of financial markets within the Union, it also brings a series of advantages to EU citizens. Individuals can carry out a broad number of financial operations within the EU without major restrictions. For instance, individuals with few restrictions can
- easily open a bank account,
- buy shares
- invest, or
- purchase real estate
in another Member State. EU Companies can invest in, own and manage other European enterprises.
Certain exceptions to this principle apply both within the Member States and with third countries. They are mainly related to taxation, prudential supervision, public policy considerations, money laundering and financial sanctions agreed under the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy.
The European Commission is continuing to work on the completion of the free market for financial services, by implementing new strategies for financial integration in order to make it even easier for citizens and companies to manage their money within the EU.
You may be able to find accommodation through your contacts, but also:
- BY LOOKING AT ADVERTISEMENTS
- In daily newspapers, there is often a separate section for property ads. The weekly newspaper ‘De particulier à particulier’ publishes advertisements placed directly by private individuals (website: www.pap.fr, le bon coin).
- On the internet, many specialist websites contain advertisements (rentals, house-shares, sales) arranged by geographical location and type of accommodation (house, flat). You can narrow down your search by: surface area, number of rooms, budget. These websites also provide advice about renting and buying.
- BY USING THE SERVICES OF AN ESTATE AGENCY
Estate agencies act as intermediaries between the tenant/purchaser and the owner. They organise visits and draw up rental/sale contracts. They are paid through commission (for rental: the amount generally corresponds to one month’s rent). Contact details for many estate agents can be found here: www.fnaim.fr
- BY CONTACTING YOUR EMPLOYER
All private companies with more than 10 employees must pay a contribution, known as ‘1 % logement’ [1 % accommodation], to approved building organisations. In return, they enjoy preferential access to a stock of rental accommodation with preferential rental conditions.
- BY APPLYING FOR SOCIAL HOUSING
If you meet the required criteria, you may apply for a local HLM (low-rent housing) organisation via the prefecture or town hall.
For more information on the procedures and costs, see “4. Living conditions 4.5 Accommodation’ on this website.
De particulier à particulier
WHERE CAN I OBTAIN INFORMATION?
To enrol your child in a school, go to your town hall. You can also consult the following website: www.education.gouv.fr
For example, to enrol your child in primary school (from 6 years of age):
- You need to go to your town hall, taking the following documents with you:
- your family record book, your identity card or a copy of your birth certificate;
- proof of address;
- evidence (health record book) that your child has had the compulsory vaccinations for his/her age (against diphtheria, tetanus and polio).
The town hall will give you a certificate of enrolment indicating the school that your child will attend.
- You then need to go to the school. Your child’s enrolment will be recorded by the school’s headteacher upon presentation of the same documents listed above, in addition to the certificate of enrolment issued to you by the town hall.
In principle, your child must be enrolled no later than June prior to the start of the next school year. If your child does not change schools, their enrolment does not need to be renewed each year.
See the following website: www.service-public.fr
The implementation of the principle of free movement of people, is one of the cornerstones of our European construction, has meant the introduction a series of practical rules to ensure that citizens can travel freely and easily to any Member State of the European Union. Travelling across the EU with one’s car has become a lot less problematic. The European Commission has set a series of common regulations governing the mutual recognition of driving licences, the validity of car insurance, and the possibility of registering your car in a host country.
Your driving licence in the EU
The EU has introduced a harmonised licence model and further minimum requirements for obtaining a licence. This should help to keep unsafe drivers off Europe's roads - wherever they take their driving test.
Since 19 January 2013, all driving licences issued by EU countries have the same look and feel. The licences are printed on a piece of plastic that has the size and shape of a credit card.
Harmonised administrative validity periods for the driving licence document have been introduced which are between 10 and 15 years for motorcycles and passenger cars. This enables the authorities to regularly update the driving licence document with new security features that will make it harder to forge or tamper - so unqualified or banned drivers will find it harder to fool the authorities, in their own country or elsewhere in the EU.
The new European driving licence is also protecting vulnerable road users by introducing progressive access for motorbikes and other powered two-wheelers. The "progressive access" system means that riders will need experience with a less powerful bike before they go on to bigger machines. Mopeds will also constitute a separate category called AM.
You must apply for a licence in the country where you usually or regularly live. As a general rule, it is the country where you live for at least 185 days each calendar year because of personal or work-related ties.
If you have personal/work-related ties in 2 or more EU countries, your place of usual residence is the place where you have personal ties, as long as you go back regularly. You don't need to meet this last condition if you are living in an EU country to carry out a task for a fixed period of time.
If you move to another EU country to go to college or university, your place of usual residence doesn't change. However, you can apply for a driving licence in your host country if you can prove you have been studying there for at least 6 months.
Registering your car in the host country
If you move permanently to another EU country and take your car with you, you should register your car and pay car-related taxes in your new country.
There are no common EU rules on vehicle registration and related taxes. Some countries have tax-exemption rules for vehicle registration when moving with the car from one country to another permanently.
To benefit from a tax exemption, you must check the applicable deadlines and conditions in the country you wish to move to.
Check the exact rules and deadlines with the national authorities: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/registration/registration-abroad/index_en.htm
EU citizens can insure their car in any EU country, as long as the chosen insurance company is licensed by the host national authority to issue the relevant insurance policies. A company based in another Member State is entitled sell a policy for compulsory civil liability only if certain conditions are met. Insurance will be valid throughout the Union, no matter where the accident takes place.
Value Added Tax or VAT on motor vehicles is ordinarily paid in the country where the car is purchased, although under certain conditions, VAT is paid in the country of destination.
More information on the rules which apply when a vehicle is acquired in one EU Member State and is intended to be registered in another EU Member State is available on this link https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/registration/taxes-abroad/index_en.htm.
NATIONALS FROM THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA AND SWITZERLAND
If you are a citizen of one of the Member States of the European economic area or a Swiss national, you can freely move and stay in France for a period of 3 months. You may be accompanied by close family members. You have the right to freely move and stay in France up to 3 months, regardless of the reason for your stay: tourism, placement, short-term employment, etc. This right may be limited.
However, you can apply for a residence card for the first 5 years of residence if you are working (employed or self-employed) in France. To obtain a residence card, you must submit a request to the prefecture in which your home is located.
Pending the processing of your file, and if your file is complete, you will receive a receipt.
They must obtain information from their consulate or from the French consulate in the country where they live.
Third country nationals with a long-term resident status in another Member State are not entitled to access the French labour market. After three months, if they can prove that they have sufficient resources and health insurance, they can obtain a ‘visitor’s’ residence permit, which does not allow them to work but is a first step towards changing their status (towards obtaining an employee status, if need be).
Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr
BEFORE LEAVING FOR FRANCE, THINK ABOUT THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS:
- Identity card, valid passport, work permit.
- Birth certificate and/or family record book.
- Your European health card issued by your country’s health authority.
- Your driving licence.
- Copies of your qualifications and sworn translations in French.
- Curriculum Vitae, cover letters and reference letters translated into French, preferably in electronic format so that they can be modified.
BEFORE LEAVING FOR FRANCE, THINK ABOUT DOING THE FOLLOWING:
- Contact the authorities in your country to inform them of your departure (health authority, pension funds, family benefits funds, tax authority, public employment services). They will send you the documents that you will need to present in France to prove your rights.
- Ensure that you have sufficient financial resources to cover your set-up costs (deposit for your accommodation, estate agency fees, electricity and telephone services, etc.).
- Ask your bank if you can transfer your bank account to another bank in France. This is often easier than opening a bank account once you have arrived.
- Improve your level of French before leaving by taking French lessons. Contact ‘Alliances françaises’: www.alliancefr.org
- If you receive unemployment benefits, consider transferring these to France by asking your public employment service for form U2.
- If you have found a job in France, think about asking your public employment service for form U1 so that the periods when you will receive unemployment benefits in your country and in France can be added up.
ON YOUR ARRIVAL IN FRANCE:
- Remember to register with your consulate in France, which will give you useful advice about the steps to take on your arrival. For more information on the steps to take, click on this link: http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/N19804.xhtml
- Take out a home insurance policy to protect your assets. This is compulsory when renting accommodation.
- If you have a car, you will have to pay road tax and take out a car insurance policy.
Customs and tax
Quality of work and employment - a vital issue, with a strong economic and humanitarian impact
Good working conditions are important for the well-being of European workers. They
- contribute to the physical and psychological welfare of Europeans, and
- contribute to the economic performance of the EU.
From a humanitarian point of view, the quality of working environment has a strong influence on the overall work and life satisfaction of European workers.
From an economic point of view, high-quality job conditions are a driving force of economic growth and a foundation for the competitive position of the European Union. A high level of work satisfaction is an important factor for achieving high productivity of the EU economy.
It is therefore a core issue for the European Union to promote the creation and maintenance of a sustainable and pleasant working environment – one that promotes health and well-being of European employees and creates a good balance between work and non-work time.
Improving working conditions in Europe: an important objective for the European Union.
Ensuring favourable working conditions for European citizens is a priority for the EU. The European Union is therefore working together with national governments to ensure a pleasant and secure workplace environment. Support to Member States is provided through:
- the exchange of experience between different countries and common actions
- the establishment of the minimum requirements on working conditions and health and safety at work, to be applied all over the European Union
Criteria for quality of work and employment
In order to achieve sustainable working conditions, it is important to determine the main characteristics of a favourable working environment and thus the criteria for the quality of working conditions.
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) in Dublin, is an EU agency that provides information, advice and expertise on, as the name implies, living and working conditions. This agency has established several criteria for job and employment quality, which include:
- health and well-being at the workplace – this is a vital criteria, since good working conditions suppose the prevention of health problems at the work place, decreasing the exposure to risk and improving work organisation
- reconciliation of working and non-working life – citizens should be given the chance to find a balance between the time spent at work and at leisure
- skills development – a quality job is one that gives possibilities for training, improvement and career opportunities
The work of Eurofound contributes to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe.
Health and safety at work
The European Commission has undertaken a wide scope of activities to promote a healthy working environment in the EU Member States. Amongst others, it developed a Community Strategy for Health and Safety at Work for the period 2021-2027. This strategy was set up with the help of national authorities, social partners and NGOs. It addresses the changing needs in worker’s protection brought by the digital and green transitions, new forms of work and the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the framework will continue to address traditional occupational safety and health risks, such as risks of accidents at work or exposure to hazardous chemicals.
The Community policy on health and safety at work aims at a long-lasting improvement of well-being of EU workers. It takes into account the physical, moral and social dimensions of working conditions, as well as the new challenges brought up by the enlargement of the European Union towards countries from Central and Eastern Europe. The introduction of EU standards for health and safety at the workplace, has contributed a lot to the improvement of the situation of workers in these countries.
Improving working conditions by setting minimum requirements common to all EU countries
Improving living and working conditions in the EU Member States depends largely on the establishment of common labour standards. EU labour laws and regulations have set the minimum requirements for a sustainable working environment and are now applied in all Member States. The improvement of these standards has strengthened workers’ rights and is one of the main achievements of the EU’s social policy.
The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers
The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will not become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.
Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU
As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.
For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.
Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe
The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:
- An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
- The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.
Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the EU
Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.
In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.
The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.
A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.
The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.
Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents
- a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
- a cover letter editor,
- certificate supplements,
- diploma supplements, and
- a Europass-Mobility document.
The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.
To find out about your employment rights in France, you should refer to the Labour Code.
THE MINIMUM LEGAL AGE for working is 16. However, in some cases strictly laid down by law, the employment of young people under 16 is allowed:
- in family-run businesses,
- during school holidays: minors who are no younger than 14 years old (13 years old in farm businesses) can be employed to carry out light work,
- in the case of apprenticeships or sandwich courses,
- in entertainment businesses and modelling.
TYPES OF CONTRACTS
There are two main types of contracts: permanent contracts and fixed-term contracts (the latter must be used in the cases and under the conditions laid down by law).
EXAMPLES OF WHEN FIXED-TERM CONTRACTS ARE USED:
- To replace an absent employee.
- To cover business fluctuations.
- Seasonal work (in agriculture, tourism, etc.).
In principle, these contracts have a maximum term of 18 months. In addition to their remuneration, employees receive a bonus for lack of job security of 10 %.
OTHER TYPES OF CONTRACTS
- Temporary employment contract. The temporary assignment is carried out for a period provided for in the contract which cannot exceed the maximum legal duration. That maximum legal duration varies depending on the nature of the assignment. This type of contract is governed by the same rules as the fixed-term contract and is characterised by the relationship between: the temporary employment agency, the employee on assignment, the customer.
- The ‘contrat d'extra’ or customary contract is a particular type of fixed-term contract which allows an employer to hire an employee for the execution of a specific and temporary job (from a few hours to several days). That contract can be used only to meet occasional and immediate needs for a particular position. Such a contract can only be concluded in strictly defined sectors of activity.
- Intermittent employment contract This type of contract is signed with a company in an industry sector which experiences genuine fluctuations throughout the year that it cannot always foresee.
- This type of contract is aimed at young people, aged 16 to 25, who want to obtain a professional qualification.
- The contract known as the senior fixed-term contract (CDD senior) is a fixed-term contract which aims to facilitate the return to employment of seniors and allow them to acquire additional rights for drawing their pension. The duration of such a contract is specifically regulated.
- The CDI Intérimaire contract guarantees temporary employees a minimum monthly remuneration during idle periods between two assignments.
- Specific employment contracts exist to promote the recruitment of certain categories of unemployed people.
- The ‘contrat unique d'insertion’ [single integration contract] (CUI) combines training and/or professional support for its beneficiary and financial assistance for the employer. Its purpose is to facilitate the hiring of people who have difficulty finding a job.
- A ‘contrat adultes-relais’ [community outreach contract] allows particular unemployed people to carry out local social and cultural mediation assignments as part of a back-to-work contract. Age and residency conditions must also be met. The employer must be an administration, an association or a private company responsible for managing a public service.
For more information, see the following section of this website ‘Working conditions 3.5 Specific working categories’: http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/N19871.xhtml
Certain information must be brought to the employee’s attention in writing:
- identity of the parties,
- place of work,
- the title, grade, category or nature of the job carried out by the employee or a brief description thereof,
- start date of the contract,
- the duration or the terms and conditions for granting and determining this leave,
- notice periods,
- information on the salary and the frequency of remuneration,
- working hours: daily or weekly;
- collective agreements which govern the working conditions.
The French Labour Code states that a written contract is required for fixed-term contracts, apprenticeship contracts, etc.
AMENDING EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS
A distinction must be made between ‘changes to working conditions’, which the employer can decide unilaterally (hours, dates of leave, etc.), and ‘amendments to the employment contract’, which require the employee’s agreement and which concern:
- remuneration methods or amounts,
- working hours,
- place of work,
- employee’s classification,
- any other information deemed essential by the parties.
One exception to this is where the employee has agreed to the amendment in advance, for example, a mobility clause or non-competition clause under certain conditions. The employer must notify the employee of the amendment. Failure by the employee to respond is taken as acceptance.
A fixed-term contract can be renewed more than 2 times. The maximum number of times a fixed-term contract could possibly be renewed is fixed by a convention or agreement pronounced by the French Minister of Labour. In practice, this means that an agreement may very well provide for an employee’s work contract to be renewed 3 times, if not more.
It is only in case of failure to make this stipulation in the convention or agreement that the fixed-term contract is renewable 2 times for a fixed-term.
The purpose and result of this period cannot be to durably provide for a job that is linked to the company’s standard and permanent operations.
Permanent contracts for work sites
This type of contract allows an employer to hire employees to carry out a body of work or specific works, of which the exact end date cannot be determined in advance.
Permanent contracts can be terminated by the employer or the employee.
See the following section on this website: ‘Working conditions 3.10 End of employment’.
See websites: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr
Types of employment contract
Special measures have been taken to help young people enter the labour market. If you are a non-EU national, younger than 18 years old and live in France, you can take up paid employment or start a work placement, under certain conditions. Before starting, you must have received a work permit or a residence permit which can be used as a work permit. The rules differ depending on your age.
The apprenticeship contract and the professionalisation contract enable people to follow alternating periods of training in a company and in a training centre in order to obtain a vocational qualification.
Duration of the contract
6 months to 3 years
(4 years for persons with disabilities)
6 to 12 months
16 to 35 years
16 years and more depending on the public
Between 27 % and 100 % of the minimum wage
From 55 % to 100 % of the minimum wage
For further information: https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F31704
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Companies with more than 20 employees must ensure that 6 % of their staff are disabled workers, or must pay a corresponding contribution in proportion to the number of disabled staff employed to the Agefiph (National association funding the professional integration of disabled persons). The salary paid to workers recognised as disabled must correspond to their job position and their qualifications, under ordinary legal conditions. No salary reduction can be applied to them. For more information, please consult the link of the Departmental Houses of Persons with Disabilities (Maisons Départementales des Personnes Handicapées, MDPH): http://informations.handicap.fr/carte-francemdph.php
Pregnant women are protected by special measures as a result of which discrimination in recruitment is prohibited by law and may lead to prosecution. Their working conditions are adapted: they may not work outdoors in temperatures below 0°C or after 22:00.
Seniors (from the age of 57), who have been registered as job seekers for more than 3 months or who have accepted a personalised redeployment agreement, may benefit from specific fixed-term contracts so that they can complete a sufficient number of years to be able to receive a full pension. Duration: 18 months, renewable once, up to a maximum of 36 months. See websites: http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/F15759.xhtml
Ministry of Labour
If you wish to establish yourself as a self-employed person in France, you must complete your registration procedures on the website of the Company Formalities Office: https://entreprendre.service-public.fr/vosdroits/R61572
TO HELP YOU:
- Pôle Emploi arranges meetings to help job seekers set up companies. APEC (Managerial Staff Employment Association) does the same for managers.
- The Réseau Entreprendre (Enterprise Network) brings together entrepreneurs to help with the setting up or taking over of companies.
- The Boutiques de Gestion (BG – Management Shops) brings together teams of general experts to welcome and guide you. You can take part in training sessions on how to set up a company.
See website: www.bge.asso.fr
- The APCE (Agence Pour la Création d’Entreprises – Business Creation Agency) is a centre which provides information on how to set up a company.
See website: www.bpifrance-creation.fr/
- The ADIE (Association pour le Droit à l’Initiative Economique – Association for the Right to Economic Initiative) finances, through microcredits, and assists entrepreneurs who do not have access to bank funding.
See website: www.adie.org
- You can also talk to a Centre de Gestion Agréé (CGA – Approved Management Centre) or an accountant.
SMIC (guaranteed minimum wage)
In France, the SMIC is the minimum wage that an employee can be paid.
Only apprentices and young employees may be paid less than the SMIC. Collective agreements set minimum wages in line with employees’ qualifications, but these may never be less than the SMIC.
The gross amount of the SMIC in 2023 based on the legal working time, i.e. 35 hours per week or 151.67 hours per month, is EUR 1 747.20.
SMIC gross hourly rate: EUR 11.52 in 2023.
There are two types of deductions on wages:
- social security charges:
- Tax deductions at source (made by the employer and paid back to the tax administration).
The difference between gross and net pay is around 23 %. The amount of the tax levy depends on the tax rate. It can be deducted as a lump sum or in instalments. For more information: www.impots.gouv.fr
In principle, wages are paid monthly, on the same date each month and generally by bank transfer.
Each employee must be given a payslip.
This payslip must include specific information:
- employer (name, address, registration number, principal activity code (APE code), company registration number (Siret number), etc.);
- employee (name, job, position in the collective agreement classification);
- URSSAF (Social Security and Family Allowance Contribution Collection Office) (or agricultural social mutual fund, Mutualité sociale agricole) to which contributions are paid;
- supplementary pension funds;
- the applicable collective agreement;
- components making up the gross pay (number of hours worked, number of hours paid at the standard rate and those paid at higher rates (for overtime or night work) indicating the rate(s) applied, bonuses subject to social security contributions (length of service bonus, performance bonus, lack of job security bonus and, where applicable, the differential supplement awarded due to reduced working hours for employees receiving the SMIC);
- the nature and amount of the flat rate for employees whose pay is calculated on the basis of a weekly or monthly flat rate in hours or an annual flat rate in hours or days;
- social security and tax deductions: CRDS (social security debt repayment tax), CSG (general social security contribution), employee contributions;
- any amounts not subject to deductions (reimbursement of business expenses);
- ‘net amount to be paid’ before tax.
- ‘Net amount to be paid’, which is the amount that is actually paid to employees;
- date of payment of this net amount;
- dates of any paid leave included in the pay period and amount of the corresponding allowance.
The payslip must also state that the employee should keep the payslip indefinitely. This may be worded as follows: ‘pour vous aider à faire valoir vos droits, conservez ce bulletin de paie sans limitation de durée’ (please keep this payslip indefinitely as evidence of your rights). The employer must also keep these payslips, for five years after they have been issued.
Payslips should not refer to instances where employees can exercise the right to strike or to perform staff representation activities:
- hours not paid due to strike action are marked as ‘unpaid absence’;
- The time spent on trade union activities is included in the standard working hours.
See website: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr
In France the legal working week is 35 hours in all companies. The working day may not exceed 10 hours.
Furthermore, employees may not work for more than 4½ hours without a break.
The maximum working day may be extended to 12 hours under a collective agreement.
In principle, employees may not work more than 48 hours per week, or 44 hours per week on average over 12 consecutive weeks (up to a maximum of 46 hours, under certain conditions).
Employees must be permitted to take breaks, lasting a minimum of 20 minutes, at least every 6 hours.
As part of the collective negotiation, the amended Article L 3121-19 of the French Labour Code indicates that the maximum daily amount of time actually worked can be extended:
- In case of increased activity or for reasons linked to the company's organisation;
- Provided that this extension does not extend the time worked to more than 12 hours.
The maximum working day for under 18-year-olds and apprentices is 8 hours (7 hours per day for under 16-year-olds working during school holidays).
For under 18-year-olds and apprentices, the absolute maximum working week is 35 hours.
Employers must grant employees who are subject to the obligation to attend professional courses during their workday the necessary freedom with regard to this obligation.
The time spent training in an educational institution is considered to be time spent actually working.
All employees must be allowed a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours (9 hours in certain cases depending on collective agreements).
The weekly rest period is often taken on Sundays. It is forbidden to make an employee work more than 6 days per week. The weekly rest period must be at least 35 consecutive hours.
The overtime worked by the employee is paid under the following conditions:
- when the overtime has been completed as requested by the employer,
- or when the overtime is directly carried out by the employee, without any objection on behalf of the employer (implicit agreement).
The payment of overtime is subject to an increased rate, fixed by a company or institution convention or collective agreement (or, failing that, a branch convention or agreement). Each rate is fixed at a minimum of 10 %.
It should be noted that many exceptions exist, especially under collective agreements.
In the absence of an agreement or convention, the rates of increase are fixed at:
- 25 % for the first 8 hours of overtime worked within the same week (from the 36th to the 43rd hour),
- 50 % for anything above eight hours.
However, the payment of overtime can be, fully or partially, replaced by an equivalent compensatory rest period.
Some managerial staff classed as ‘non-office-based’ work more than 35 hours a week but receive additional days of leave.
Night work performed between 21:00 and 06:00 may not, in principle, exceed 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week (44 hours if authorised by decree or collective agreement). Night work is compensated by weekly rest periods or extra pay.
Employed pregnant women who work at night must be given daytime work during their pregnancy and during their legal postnatal leave if they so request.
See website: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr
ANNUAL PAID LEAVE
All employees are entitled to paid leave once they have worked at least one month during the reference period (which runs from 1 June of the previous year to 31 May of the ongoing year).
Therefore, employees are entitled to two and a half working days of leave per month worked, i.e. five weeks of paid leave per year worked.
Dates of paid leave are decided by mutual agreement between the employer and the employee, or, failing that, by the employer. Employees must always have the possibility to take leave during the period from 1 May to 31 October. When planning leave, the employee must comply with the rules in force in his/her company. In practice, the employee informs the employer of the dates on which he wishes to take his holidays.
OTHER TYPES OF LEAVE
- Sick leave: In the event of an accident or a non-occupational disease, the employee is entitled to an absence from work.
- Maternity leave: 16 weeks for one child (6 weeks before and 10 weeks after birth).
- Paternity and childcare leave of 25 calendar days or 32 calendar days in the event of multiple births.
- Birth, marriage, conclusion of a PACS, death of a relative... at least 1 to 7 days, depending on the circumstances.
- Child-care leave: following maternity leave, in order to look after the child, either employed parent may ask for this leave. Maximum duration: 3 years.
- Parental leave (to look after a child who is disabled, has suffered an accident or is seriously ill).
- The professional transition project replaces the former individual training leave (congé individuel de formation, CIF) scheme, which was abolished on 1 January 2019: it ensures funding continuity for retraining courses with corresponding days of leave.
- Sabbatical leave (on personal grounds): between 6 and 11 months.
Eligibility for some of these types of leave may be conditional upon the length of service in the company or the minimum contributions paid to the public social security scheme.
See website: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr
Public holidays are the legal holiday days listed in Article L. 3133-1 of the Labour Code: 1 January, Easter Monday, 1 May, 8 May, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, 14 July, Assumption (15 August), All Saints Day, 11 November, 25 December.
There is no legal provision that extra days off must be taken between two public holidays or between a public holiday and a weekend. The employer may, however, grant a rest period of one or two days between a public holiday and a weekly rest day or a day preceding paid holidays. If granted, this rest period must be paid.
See website: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr
WAYS TO TERMINATE A CONTRACT
Termination of the employment contract, i.e. termination before the scheduled date, may take different forms: resignation, contractual termination, dismissal.
The termination procedure varies depending on the situation. A number of documents must be provided to the employee, who may also be entitled to compensation in certain cases.
A fixed-term contract is concluded for a limited and specified period. The total duration, taking into account up to two potential renewals, must not exceed the maximum authorised limit.
Resignation allows employees to terminate their permanent contract on their own initiative, provided that the notice period, if any, is complied with. Resignation may be given orally or in writing (preferably by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt). Written resignation allows employees to establish the beginning of the notice period.
Contractual termination allows the employer and the employee to mutually agree on the termination of the employment contract.
Dismissal on personal grounds must be justified and employers who wish to terminate an employee’s permanent contract must follow a specific procedure.
Dismissal on economic grounds is the result of the termination or conversion of employment which has been refused by the employee, owing to economic difficulties, technological change, etc.
Collective contractual termination is the subject of a collective agreement which determines the maximum number and conditions for termination, and the amount of severance pay.
The legal retirement age depends on the employee’s year of birth. It has gradually increased from 62 to 64 years of age. Employees can take retirement between 62 and 70 years of age. Above the age of 70, employers can force employees to retire. In order to obtain the highest possible pension, you must have paid contributions for a minimum of 167 quarters for the generation born in 1957, compared to 172 quarters for people born from 1973 onwards.
See website: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr
In France, there are many trade unions which represent employees.
The following trade unions are recognised as representative at national and inter-professional level:
- The Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT);
- The Confédération générale du travail (CGT);
- The Confédération générale du travail-Force ouvrière (CGT-FO);
- The Confédération française de l'encadrement-Confédération générale des cadres (CFE-CGC);
- The Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens (CFTC).
To participate in national, sector or branch negotiations, companies themselves are also represented by different groups, the main ones being:
- The Medef (mouvement des entreprises de France),
- The CGPME (Confédération Générale des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises).
ROLE OF A TRADE UNION
Trade unions operate within occupational branches and companies to defend workers’ interests and rights:
- Trade unions make proposals in their economic sector.
- They inform, help and support workers.
- They represent workers in their dealings with employers and public authorities.
- They work in coordination with trade unions across Europe.
The Social and Economic Committee (comité social et économique, CSE), established in all companies with more than 11 employees since 1 January 2020, replaces the elected employee representatives in the company. It merges the personnel's representative bodies (IRP), the staff representatives (DP, délégués du personnel), the company committee (CE, comité d’entreprise) and the health, safety and working conditions committee (CHSCT).
When employees are in dispute with their employer, they can consult the staff representatives. Employees can also contact the labour inspectorate. They can refer the matter to the Conseil des Prud'hommes (French Labour Courts) which is in charge of settling individual conflicts between employers and employees regarding private law employment contracts.
The right to strike in France is a right that is recognised and guaranteed by the Constitution for all employees to stop working (to go on strike) to show their disagreement or to demand improvements to their working conditions. It involves a concerted stoppage (at least two people must participate).
It results in the suspension, not the termination, of the employment contract. The employer may also withhold the wages payable during the period of the strike.
Furthermore, in the civil service, management must be given specific notice of the strike five clear days (excluding public holidays and weekends) before the date of the strike. No notice is required in the private sector. There is no legal time-limit to a strike. Workers do not need to belong to a trade union to exercise their right to strike.
There are certain restrictions:
- Continuity of public service: the right to strike is not recognised for members of the police, the prison administration, the communication divisions of the Interior Ministry, the judiciary or the army. Other categories of staff must ensure that a minimum service is provided (transport, health).
- Respect for property rights: any damage and assaults committed during a strike will be regarded as an offence and may lead to criminal convictions.
- Respect for the freedom of non-strikers and the employer to continue work: strikers must not obstruct the work of non-strikers or prevent them from entering the workplace.
See website: www.travail-emploi.gouv.fr
The term Vocational Education and Training refers to practical activities and courses related to a specific occupation or vocation, aimed at preparing participants for their future careers. Vocational training is an essential means to achieve professional recognition and improve chances to get a job. It is therefore vital that vocational training systems in Europe respond to the needs of citizens and the labour market in order to facilitate access to employment.
Vocational education and training has been an essential part of EU policy since the very establishment of the European Community. It is also a crucial element of the so-called EU Lisbon Strategy, which aims at transforming Europe into the world’s most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based society. In 2002 the European Council reaffirmed this vital role, and established yet another ambitious goal – to make European education and training renowned globally by the year 2010 – by championing a number of world-class initiatives, and in particular by strengthening cooperation in the area of vocational training.
On 24 November 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted a Recommendation on vocational education and training for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience.
The Recommendation defines key principles for ensuring that vocational education and training is agile in that it adapts swiftly to labour market needs and provides quality learning opportunities for young people and adults alike.
It places a strong focus on the increased flexibility of vocational education and training, reinforced opportunities for work-based learning, apprenticeships and improved quality assurance.
The Recommendation also replaces the EQAVET – European Quality Assurance in Vocational Education and Training – Recommendation and includes an updated EQAVET Framework with quality indicators and descriptors. It repeals the former ECVET Recommendation.
To promote these reforms, the Commission supports Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVEs) which bring together local partners to develop ‘skills ecosystems'. Skills ecosystems will contribute to regional, economic and social development, innovation and smart specialisation strategies.
Erasmus+ is the EU's programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.
It has an estimated budget of €26.2 billion. This is nearly double the funding compared to its predecessor programme (2014-2020).
The 2021-2027 programme places a strong focus on social inclusion, the green and digital transitions, and promoting young people’s participation in democratic life.
It supports priorities and activities set out in the European Education Area, Digital Education Action Plan and the European Skills Agenda. The programme also
- supports the European Pillar of Social Rights
- implements the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027
- develops the European dimension in sport
Who can take part? Find out here.
Adult Education and Lifelong Learning in Europe
Lifelong learning is a process that involves all forms of education – formal, informal and non-formal – and lasts from the pre-school period until after retirement. It is meant to enable people to develop and maintain key competencies throughout their life as well as to empower citizens to move freely between jobs, regions and countries. Lifelong learning is also a core element of the previously mentioned Lisbon Strategy, as it is crucial for self-development and the raising of competitiveness and employability. The EU has adopted several instruments for the promotion of adult education in Europe.
In order to make lifelong learning a reality in Europe, the European Commission has set itself the objective of creating a European Area of Lifelong Learning. In this context, the Commission focuses on identifying the needs of both learners and the labour market in order to make education more accessible and subsequently create partnerships between public administrations, suppliers of educational services and civil society.
This EU initiative is based on the objective of providing basic skills – by strengthening counselling and information services at a European level, and by recognising all forms of learning, including formal education and informal and non-formal training.
EU organisations promoting vocational education in Europe
With the objective of facilitating cooperation and exchange in the field of vocational training, the EU has set up specialised bodies working in the field of VOCATIONAL TRAINING.
The European Centre for Vocational Training (CEDEFOP / Centre Européen pour le Développement de la Formation Professionnelle) was created in 1975 as a specialised EU agency for the promotion and development of vocational education and training in Europe. Based in Thessaloniki, Greece, it carries out research and analysis on vocational training and disseminates its expertise to various European partners, such as related research institutions, universities or training facilities.
The European Training Foundation was established in 1995 and works in close collaboration with CEDEFOP. Its mission is to support partner countries (from outside the EU) to modernise and develop their systems for vocational training.
Quality of life – on top of the EU social policy agenda
Favourable living conditions depend on a wide range of factors, such as quality healthcare services, education and training opportunities or good transport facilities, just to name a few aspects affecting citizens’ everyday life and work. The European Union has set for itself the aim to constantly improve the quality of life in all its Member States, and to take into account the new challenges of contemporary Europe, such as socially exclude people or an aging population.
Employment in Europe
Improving employment opportunities in Europe is a key priority for the European Commission. With the prospect of tackling the problem of unemployment and increasing the mobility between jobs and regions, a wide variety of initiatives at EU level are being developed and implemented to support the European Employment strategy. These include the European Employment Services network (EURES) and the EU Skills Panorama.
Health and healthcare in the European Union
Health is a cherished value, influencing people’s daily lives and therefore an important priority for all Europeans. A healthy environment is crucial for our individual and professional development, and EU citizens are ever more demanding about health and safety at work and the provision of high quality healthcare services. They require quick and easy access to medical treatment when travelling across the European Union. EU health policies are aimed at responding to these needs.
The European Commission has developed a coordinated approach to health policy, putting into practice a series of initiatives that complement the actions of national public authorities. The Union’s common actions and objectives are included in EU health programmes and strategies.
The current EU4Health Programme (2021-2027) is the EU’s ambitious response to COVID-19. The pandemic has a major impact on patients, medical and healthcare staff, and health systems in Europe. The new EU4Health programme will go beyond crisis response to address healthcare systems’ resilience.
EU4Health, established by Regulation (EU) 2021/522, will provide funding to eligible entities, health organisations and NGOs from EU countries, or non-EU countries associated to the programme.
With EU4Health, the EU will invest €5.3 billion in current prices in actions with an EU added value, complementing EU countries’ policies and pursuing one or several of EU4Health´s objectives:
- To improve and foster health in the Union
- disease prevention & health promotion
- international health initiatives & cooperation
- To tackle cross-border health threats
- prevention, preparedness & response to cross-border health threats
- complementing national stockpiling of essential crisis-relevant products
- establishing a reserve of medical, healthcare & support staff
- To improve medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products
- making medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products available and affordable
- To strengthen health systems, their resilience and resource efficiency
- strengthening health data, digital tools & services, digital transformation of healthcare
- improving access to healthcare
- developing and implementing EU health legislation and evidence-based decision making
- integrated work among national health systems
Education in the EU
Education in Europe has both deep roots and great diversity. Already in 1976, education ministers decided to set up an information network to better understand educational policies and systems in the then nine-nation European Community. This reflected the principle that the particular character of an educational system in any one Member State ought to be fully respected, while coordinated interaction between education, training and employment systems should be improved. Eurydice, the information network on education in Europe, was formally launched in 1980.
In 1986, attention turned from information exchanges to student exchanges with the launch of the Erasmus programme, now grown into the Erasmus+programme, often cited as one of the most successful initiatives of the EU.
Transport in the EU
Transport was one of the first common policies of the then European Community. Since 1958, when the Treaty of Rome entered into force, the EU’s transport policy has focused on removing border obstacles between Member States, thereby enabling people and goods to move quickly, efficiently and cheaply.
This principle is closely connected to the EU’s central goal of a dynamic economy and cohesive society. The transport sector generates 10% of EU wealth measured by gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to about one trillion Euros a year. It also provides more than ten million jobs.
The Schengen area
The Schengen Convention, in effect since March 1995, abolished border controls within the area of the signatory States and created a single external frontier, where checks have to be carried out in accordance with a common set of rules.
Today, the Schengen Area encompasses most EU countries, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania. However, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area and already applying the Schengen acquis to a large extent. Additionally, also the non-EU States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have joined the Schengen Area.
The creation of a single European market in air transport has meant lower fares and a wider choice of carriers and services for passengers. The EU has also created a set of rights to ensure air passengers are treated fairly.
As an air passenger, you have certain rights when it comes to information about flights and reservations, damage to baggage, delays and cancellations, denied boarding, compensation in the case of accident or difficulties with package holidays. These rights apply to scheduled and chartered flights, both domestic and international, from an EU airport or to an EU airport from one outside the EU, when operated by an EU airline.
Over the last 25 years the Commission has been very active in proposing restructuring the European rail transport market and in order to strengthen the position of railways vis-à-vis other transport modes. The Commission's efforts have concentrated on three major areas which are all crucial for developing a strong and competitive rail transport industry:
- opening the rail transport market to competition,
- improving the interoperability and safety of national networks and
- developing rail transport infrastructure.
THE POLITICAL SYSTEM
- THE EXECUTIVE is headed by the President of the Republic, who is Head of State and is elected by direct universal suffrage for a five-year term of office, renewable once. He or she appoints the Prime Minister and, on the latter’s recommendation, the members of the Government. The latter decides and pursues the country’s policies and reports on these to Parliament.
- THE LEGISLATURE is Parliament, which consists of:
- the National Assembly, with 577 members elected by direct universal suffrage for five years;
- the Senate, with 348 senators elected for six years by a specific group of electors (members of Parliament, mayors, municipal councillors, departmental councillors and regional councillors).
- THE JUDICIARY is represented by all courts (judges and magistrates), which resolve disputes between individuals or between individuals and the State. It ensures compliance with the laws adopted by Parliament.
- THE CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL ensures that the laws comply with the Constitution.
- POLITICAL PARTIES
The French political world consists of many parties, most of which have representatives in Parliament.
See website: www.france-politique.fr/partis-politiques.htm
TERRITORIAL ORGANISATION OF FRANCE
- France is divided into 18 regions: 12 regions in metropolitan France along with Corsica and 5 overseas regions (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion and Mayotte). The Regional Prefect represents the authority of the State. Each region is administered by a Regional Council, elected by direct universal suffrage.
- The regions are subdivided into 101 departments (96 metropolitan departments and 5 overseas departments). The Departmental Prefect represents the authority of the State. Each department is administered by a Departmental Council, elected by direct universal suffrage.
- France also has 5 overseas collectivities: French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin and Wallis and Futuna. New Caledonia and the French Southern and Antarctic Lands are sui generis collectivities.
- Each department is subdivided into arrondissements (districts), cantons and communes (towns and villages), each of which are administered by a mayor and a municipal council.
THE PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
In order to carry out any formalities, you need to find the appropriate administrative service. The French administration provides a centralised information service: www.service-public.fr. This website describes the various administrative procedures and where to go to complete them.
Note that some procedures in relation to your country of origin can only be carried out at your consulate (passport, birth certificate, voting).
Policing is carried out by the national police in large towns (police stations) and by the gendarmerie (national police force) everywhere else in the territory.
If you are a victim of a crime, you can contact them by telephone (by dialling 17, or 112 from a mobile phone) or you can go to the police station to make a statement with regard to any legal proceedings or insurance cases.
In France, for an employee, the gross remuneration paid by the employer is subject to various social contributions and taxes. The social security contributions deducted are intended to finance social security guarantees (sickness, retirement, etc.), followed by taxes to reimburse the social debt (CSG and CRDS) and then income tax, which is deducted at source and paid by the employer to the tax authorities.
In France, the main taxes are :
- Income tax: levied at source, its amount is calculated on the basis of the total income, the composition of the tax household and finally the tax credits for which you may be eligible. All income must be declared online each year on the Tax Office’s website: www.impots.gouv.fr
- Local taxes: property tax applies to owners of real estate. The housing tax does not apply to the principal place of residence but only to secondary residences.
- Real estate wealth tax (impôt sur la fortune immobilière, IFI): this tax applies to all persons holding property with a total value exceeding the threshold of EUR 1.3 million. Please note that for foreign nationals considered to be administratively resident in France, the value of assets held abroad is taken into account.
- Social taxes (CSG, CRDS): The generalised social contribution (contribution sociale généralisée, CSG) and the contribution for the repayment of the social debt (contribution au remboursement de la dette sociale, CRDS) are taxes intended to finance social protection in France and to offset social security debt. The rate is 9.2 % for the CSG, of which 6.8 % are deductible from income tax, and 0.5 % for the CRDS.
- Value added tax (VAT) The standard VAT rate is 20 %; it applies to most sales of goods and services. Certain products or services benefit from specific rates, such as food products, which are taxed at 5.5 %.
- Other taxes: domestic tax on petroleum products, tax on driving licences, tax on high-power passenger cars, taxes on insurance agreements, etc.
The cost of living will very much depend on the region in which you live. Owing to the cost of housing, the difference is particularly significant between the Paris region, the large regional metropolitan areas, the coastal areas and the rest of the territory.
Like many countries since the war in Ukraine, France has seen inflation rise, but it remains below European average, with inflation at 4.5 % over 1 year for the month of June 2023 (source: INSEE).
According to the latest ‘family budget’ survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) in 2017, the main items of expenditure in France are:
16.4 % of the budget,
Rental agreements (or ‘leases’) are usually signed for three years and can be tacitly renewed. When you want to leave, you must give three months’ notice (one month if you are relocating for work or have become unemployed). This notice must be sent to the property owner by registered mail.
- A deposit, equivalent to one month’s rent, is usually requested. In principle, it is returned one month after departure.
- Agency fees generally amount to one month’s rent. Rent is payable in advance.
- Many property owners also ask for a guarantor (a third person who undertakes to pay the rent if the tenant should experience financial difficulties).
It is generally accepted that the amount of the rent should not exceed 30 % of the tenant’s net monthly salary (the last three payslips are requested as supporting documents).
COST OF RENT
Except in the case of the rental of a single house, the amount of the rent generally includes charges corresponding to the costs of maintaining and using the common parts of the building; in some cases this may also include water and heating.
To get an idea of the rental prices according to the city you want to live in, you can consult the ‘mobiville’ application, which will also enable you to identify the city’s main recruiters and consult job offers. https://mobiville.pole-emploi.fr/
MEDICAL AND DENTAL CARE
Before going to a doctor or dentist, you need to check that the latter is linked to the state health scheme (‘conventionné’). There are two types of such doctors: those who fully adhere to the state scheme agreement and apply the agreed fees, and those who adhere to the agreement but are free to set their fees. You can find health professionals close to where you live and obtain information about their fees on the following website: http://ameli-direct.ameli.fr/nouvelle-recherche/professionnels-de-sante.html. In both cases, the reimbursement made by the CPAM (Primary health insurance fund) will be based on the agreed fees.
The French hospital system consists of public healthcare institutions, which provide a public health service under state control, and private healthcare establishments. If you are admitted to a private establishment, you need to check that this establishment is in the state scheme.
In France, prescription drugs are only available in a pharmacy. Over-the-counter medicines are available in pharmacies, chemists and in some large stores.
Medical expenses are reimbursed at the rate of 70 % of the agreed fee. For example, the agreed fee for a consultation with a general practitioner is € 25 and with a specialist the fee varies between EUR 50 and 80. For a general practitioner, the reimbursement made by the local sickness insurance fund will be EUR 16.10, so you will have to pay EUR 6.90. The indicated reimbursement amount takes account of the patient’s contribution (‘ticket modérateur’) and the flat-rate contribution (‘participation forfaitaire’) of one euro.
As a general rule, health insurance does not reimburse all expenses, as part must be paid by the insured (this is the ‘ticket modérateur’).
You can see the various reimbursement rates on the following website:
Ministry of Health and Prevention.
THE BROAD PRINCIPLES
In France, education is compulsory from 3 to 16 years of age. There are state-run schools (secular and free of charge), private schools under contract to the State (which must adhere to the Ministry’s official guidelines and curricula) and other private schools who are not under contract.
ORGANISATION OF EDUCATION
- PRIMARY EDUCATION
Primary school encompasses nursery schools and elementary schools.
- Nursery school is for children aged 3 to 6 (children who are 2½ years old are accepted under certain conditions).
- Elementary school is for all children, both French and foreign, between the ages of 6 and 11. It covers five years: CP (first year), CE1-CE2 (second and third years) and CM1-CM2 (fourth and fifth year).
- SECONDARY EDUCATION
- Lower secondary school (‘collège’) is for children aged 11 to 15 The classes range from sixth form (Sixième, from 11 years of age) to the third form (Troisième, from 15 years of age). In principle, all children receive the same education. The ‘Diplôme National du Brevet’ is awarded at the end of lower secondary school.
- Upper secondary school (‘lycée’) is for teenagers from 15 to 18 years of age. It comprises three years called: Seconde, Première and Terminale (respectively the first, second, and third and final years of upper secondary school). Upper secondary schools offer a wide variety of subjects. There are two types of lycées: general and technological lycées, leading to the Baccalauréat, and vocational lycées leading to the certificate of vocational proficiency (Certificat d’aptitude professionnelle, CAP), the vocational training certificate (Brevet d’enseignement professionnel, BEP) or the vocational Baccalauréat (Baccalauréat professionnel).
The Baccalauréat is a qualification which marks the completion of secondary education and gives access to higher education.
- HIGHER EDUCATION
- Courses: DUT (Diplôme universitaire technologique) awarded in the IUT (Institut universitaire de technologie) and BTS (Brevet de technicien supérieur) in two years, or studies following the international LMD system (licence 3 years, master 5 years, doctorate 8 years).
- The application for prior admission or registration on the Parcoursup platform (depending on the country of origin) is mandatory for non-French candidates or foreign residents who wish to begin studies in France.
- Colleges (Grandes Ecoles) such as the ENA (National School of Administration), the Ecole Polytechnique, the HEC Paris, and also many engineering and business schools. Candidates work hard for two years in ‘Classes Préparatoires’ [preparatory classes] in order to sit national entrance examinations for these colleges.
Ministry of National Education and Youth
Online encyclopedia, Studying in France
Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation
Culture is an important aspect of France’s image in the world. This image is connected with the use of the language in international institutions and its important cultural heritage. This heritage is extremely varied: towns and cities, historical monuments, listed, ancient and religious sites, castles, and urban or natural sites, most of which are open to visitors. Whether they are public or private, these places attract a large number of visitors from around the world and make France one of the main international tourism destinations.
It is also well-known that gastronomy is inseparable from French cultural life. There are restaurants which offer ‘terroir’ [local] cuisine (traditional French), for all budgets. France offers many high-quality regional products, some of the best known being its wines and cheeses.
See website: www.tourisme.fr
MAIN LEISURE ACTIVITIES
The practice of sport has considerably increased in recent years. There are around 10 million members of sports federations: football and tennis are the two sports clubs with the most members.
Leisure activities such as the theatre, cinema, concerts and exhibitions are advertised in many newspapers, on town hall websites and on specialist websites such as: www.allocine.fr - http://spectacles.premiere.fr/pariscope/theatre.
For all events in your private life, consult your consulate. The French authorities may ask you for certain administrative documents issued by your consulate.
All births on French territory must be registered. Registration must be completed within 5 days of the birth.
This declaration is made at the hospital or town hall of the place of birth by the father, or other persons who attended the birth.
In France, only civil marriage has legal value. Any two people can marry in France, even if they are not French nationals, as long as they are aged 18 or over (exemptions are possible).
Notice of the marriage must be published, for a period of 10 days, at the town hall for the place or places where the future couple reside. The marriage may, therefore, take place from the 11th day.
The marriage is celebrated in a municipality with which at least one of the two spouses has lasting links, either directly or indirectly (i.e. via a parent).
CIVIL SOLIDARITY PACT (PACS)
This is a contract between two adults, which makes arrangements for their life together. Persons bound by a PACS must live at the same address.
For further information, contact the registry of the district court for the place of residence.
Deaths must be registered, within 24 hours, at the town hall for the place where the person died.
See website: http://www.service-public.fr
The national road network comprises 20 849 km: 12 379 km of motorways,
8 470 km of national roads.
Most of the motorways have tolls.
The speed limit on motorways is 130 km/h. The speed limit on main roads is usually 80 or 90 km/h.
See website: http://fr.mappy.com/
Thanks to its 51 217 km of lines in service, including 1 884 km of high-speed lines, France is well-served by trains.
See website: https://www.sncf-reseau.com/fr/reseau
High-speed trains (TGV) make for very short journey times between the main towns and cities of France:
Paris/Lyon: 2 hours
Paris/Lille: 1 hour
The cost of a journey often depends on the period of travel and when the ticket is bought.
See website: https://www.sncf-connect.com/
The main airports in the Paris region are Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly. Most regional hubs have international airports.
Most large towns and cities are well-served by bus networks, trams (increasingly common in France), metros and suburban trains.
In the provinces, a private car is often essential.
Transport companies in large towns and cities normally publish their price lists on their websites and offer monthly deals for daily users.
Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion
Online encyclopedia: List of metros in France
Online encyclopedia: List of trams in France