5 tips about paid vacations for your employees

Paid vacations in their current form were introduced in 1936. Initially lasting 2 weeks, they have now been extended to 5 weeks since the enactment of the Auroux law in 1982, under the government of Pierre Mauroy. They involve precise monitoring of each employee, and require the use of leave and absence management software for better internal organization. Let’s take a look at paid leave by asking ourselves 5 questions.

Who has priority for company vacations?

It is up to the company to set the order of vacation departures, and to accept or refuse an employee’s request. It must also inform its employees once a company or branch agreement has been put in place. In the absence of the latter, it is then up to the company’s management to decide on the vacation arrangements, after consulting the CSE (social and economic committee), if the company has more than 11 employees. Once the vacation dates have been set, the employer looks at the personal situation of each employee, and has the right to determine the order in which they will go on vacation according to certain criteria. The employee’s family situation: adaptation of vacations according to the spouse’s possibilities and/or the presence of a child, a disabled adult or a dependent elderly person at home. Seniority in the company: this gives an advantage in terms of taking leave over the most recent entrants. Employees with other employers: employees can benefit from an advantage on their vacation dates, so that they can be grouped together with the other companies for which they work. Family responsibilities and custody rights of divorced or separated parents: the employer must try to make vacation periods coincide with the presence of the children. Time off during school vacations: the employer must take these weeks into consideration for the employees concerned. In other words, a single employee who has just joined the company will never be given priority.

How long does my employer have to validate my leave?

The time limit for validating leave is left to the discretion of the employer, although justified absences are an employee right. There is therefore no legal time limit for their acceptance, since the decision must be made reasonably by the employer.

An employee is entitled to go on vacation if his employer has not signed off on his leave before the date indicated on his request. In the event of a dispute, however, the employee must prove that he or she made the request in good time and received no reply. It should be noted that the company has the right to modify the vacation dates requested by the employee, subject to a one-month delay, if no collective bargaining agreement has been reached.

How are paid vacations calculated?

Vacation pay replaces salary during the period of absence. Failure to comply with this obligation would result in the employer being fined €7,500 per employee concerned.

Two calculation methods are permitted by law. The most advantageous amount is always paid to the employee. The first method, often favored by companies, is full payment of salary during the period of absence.

The second corresponds to 1/10th of the salary received during the reference period. To calculate the amount of the indemnity, the employer takes into account either the number of hours actually worked each month, or the average or actual number of working days.

How many paid vacations can I take at a time?

The maximum continuous vacation period is 24 working days. There are exceptions for employees with geographical constraints (overseas) or with a dependent child or disabled adult. All leave not exceeding 12 days must be continuous, unless otherwise agreed by the employer. If it exceeds 12 days (i.e. 2 weeks in working days), it may be split. In the event of the company being closed for vacation, the employee’s agreement to the vacation dates is not required.

Can I be paid for my paid vacations?

Paid vacations are a right, and it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that his employee takes these rest periods. If paid leave is not taken during the reference period, it is deemed to have been lost. The reference period runs from June 1 of the current year (year n) to May 31 of the following year (year n+1). The employer may agree to an exceptional carry-over of unused leave. The only case in which leave may be paid is where the employer has not authorized the employee to take leave within the allotted time. In this case only, the employee can request payment for the days taken. How are paid vacations calculated? The French Labor Code specifies that vacation entitlement is calculated on the basis of working days, i.e. 6 days per week. Some companies use working days for their calculations. Vacation can be taken as soon as the employee is hired.

What is a working day?

Working days correspond to the days of the week excluding the weekly rest day and non-working public holidays, i.e. 6 days a week. In this case, Saturday is included in the calculation, even if it is not worked. Employees are entitled to 30 days’ paid vacation (5 weeks of 6 days each). Thus, an employee taking 3 weeks off will be credited with 3 x 6 days, i.e. 18 days. The same employee choosing a vacation from Thursday to Monday morning will be credited with 3 days (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). This means 2.5 days of leave per month.

What is a working day?

Working days correspond to days actually worked, generally 5 days a week. The number of days off then rises to 25 days a year (5 days x 5 weeks). Depending on the case, Saturday or Monday is not counted if the company is closed. In the first case, the employee benefits from 30 days of paid vacation, i.e. 6 days of vacation per week x 5 weeks. In the second case, the employee is entitled to 25 days’ annual leave, i.e. 5 days withdrawn per week of leave x 5 weeks. He thus accumulates 2.08 days of leave per month.