Knowing the notice periods for paid leave

Are you responsible for managing your company’s schedules? Between the obligations imposed by the French Labor Code, collective bargaining agreements, departmental needs and employee expectations, it’s easy to get lost. Nevertheless, it’s essential to respect the notice periods for paid leave. Leave periods, order of priority, refusals – all these situations need to be anticipated, and employees need to be informed at the right time. Find out all the information you need to know here, and to make things easier for yourself, don’t hesitate to use leave and absence management software!

Who sets the notice periods for paid leave?

When it comes to paid vacations, there are many rules to be respected by the company. Each employee is entitled to 2.5 days’ vacation per month worked. These days must be taken within a period specified by the employer, and no employee may take more than 4 weeks off in succession. The company manager may also close his establishment, for a period of between 12 and 24 working days. This obliges employees to take imposed days off.

In all cases, notice periods must be respected for all matters relating to the taking of paid leave. These are normally laid down in the French Labor Code. However, a collective bargaining agreement, a branch agreement or even an employment contract may specify different periods, which must be taken into account.

When should employees be informed about their paid vacations?

Vacation period

All employers must inform their employees of the period during which they must take paid leave. This legal period must fall between May 1 and October 31, and be presented to employees well in advance. This allows everyone (employer and work teams) to organize and make arrangements. Article D3141-5 of the French Labor Code stipulates that “the employer must inform employees of the vacation entitlement period at least two months before it begins”. In the absence of a collective bargaining agreement or a company-specific agreement, the manager of a company must therefore inform employees of the vacation period no later than 2 months before it begins.

Order of leave

In every company, an order of leave entitlement must be established. This enables employees to know who has priority when it comes to taking leave, and what factors influence this order (dependent children, seniority, age…). For good organization, it is essential that work teams are aware of this order in advance. According to the French Labor Code (D3141-6: l’ordre des départs en congé est communiqué, par tout moyen, à chaque salarié un mois avant son départ), employees must be given one month’s legal notice of the departure order. This period may be different if provisions have been made via a collective agreement.

How long does it take to validate an employee’s leave?

Once an employee has applied for paid leave, it’s normal for him or her to wait for validation. Informing the employee of the approval (or refusal) of his paid leave protects the company in the event of a dispute. If the employee does not receive a reply within a reasonable time, he or she may consider that the dates of absence have been accepted, and you will not be able to take action against him or her.

Strictly speaking, there is no time limit for validating leave. In the event of refusal or modification of departure dates, however, the employee must be informed at least one month before departure. Refusal of paid leave must be justified, in three situations:

  • service continuity ;
  • a period of intense activity;
  • exceptional circumstances.

On the other hand, certain absences cannot be refused under any circumstances (sick leave, family leave, etc.).

Failure to meet deadlines: risks incurred by the employer

To sum up, the employer must inform his employees of the vacation period two months in advance, and of the order of priority one month before departure. Refusal of paid leave must also be given one month’s notice. All employers are entitled to refuse paid leave to their employees, as long as this is justified and complies with the legal framework. In the event of abuse, sanctions may be taken against the company.

Among other things, the employer risks having to pay compensation to the employee, as well as a fine depending on the facts of the case. Employers have the last word when it comes to employee leave. However, this power requires compliance with certain rules. For example, it is essential to observe the notice periods for paid leave. This enables everyone to organize the major vacation periods in the best possible way. And to protect the company while respecting employees’ rights, using a scheduling tool is an excellent solution!