What are the employer’s obligations in terms of paid leave?

All employees are entitled to paid leave, whatever their sector of activity. Employers are bound by a number of legal obligations concerning the calculation of allowances, the legal duration of leave and the time limit for validating leave. Employers should refer to the French Labor Code (Code du travail ) and the collective bargaining agreement applicable to their business sector for details of the applicable terms and conditions. To facilitate the organization of working hours and rest periods, theuse of leave and absence management software is particularly recommended. These online tools optimize the creation of leave schedules, and facilitate modifications and communication between the HR department and employees.

Company policy on paid leave

Every company needs to establish clear rules for taking paid leave, and communicate them as early as possible to its employees. This means defining :

  • how to apply
  • deadlines
  • priority criteria
  • the authorized vacation period

The paid vacation period

The authorized vacation period is defined in a company agreement. If the dates have not been established, it is advisable to consult the collective agreement for your field of activity. Employers are free to choose the vacation period they wish to apply to their company. However, it must be approved in advance by employee representatives. The dates may extend over the whole year, or only concern certain months of peak activity. Nevertheless, the employer is bound by the statutory holiday-taking period running from May 1 to October 31.

Legal vacation entitlement

According to French legislation, the legal duration of paid vacations is 5 weeks per year. This corresponds to a total of 30 working days for a full working year. All employees benefit from this right, regardless of their type of contract (permanent, fixed-term or temporary), weekly working hours or length of service with the company. Paid vacations are calculated according to the reference period defined by the structure, or failing that, during the legal reference interval running from June 1 of the previous year to May 31 of the current year. According to the French Labor Code, employees are entitled to a minimum of 12 working days and a maximum of 24 working days of continuous leave. The remainder of the leave can be taken in instalments, in agreement with the employer.

The amount of vacation pay

Vacation pay amounts to 10% of gross salary. Failure to comply with this obligation would result in a fine of €7,500 for each 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.

Employers’ legal obligations regarding rest periods

The employer is obliged to comply with the rules defined by law and collective bargaining agreements concerning working hours and rest periods for employees, i.e. :

  • 10h of work per day maximum
  • 48 hours of actual work per week
  • 35h minimum weekly rest period No more than 6 working days per week

TheLabor Inspectorate monitors compliance with the legal working hours in France. For this reason, employers are obliged to systematically submit their employees’ work and vacation schedules to the inspectorate.

Validation period for paid leave

An employee who submits a leave request to his company’s HR department generally expects a rapid response to organize his time off, so how much time does the employer have to validate the leave?

Employers are obliged to inform their employees at least 2 months in advance of the period of authorized paid leave. The order of leave must be communicated at least 1 month before the start of the leave.

The employer’s failure to reply to an employee’s request for leave is deemed to constitute acceptance. The employee is entitled to take his vacation without his absence being considered as an abandonment of post. The employee must, however, be able to prove that he has indeed made a request without obtaining a response from the company, failing which he may be penalized.

Refusing leave: rights and obligations

High demand for leave during periods of peak activity or exceptional events can have an impact on a company’s productivity. In such circumstances, is an employer entitled to refuse leave?The answer is yes. An employer can refuse leave under certain conditions. The refusal must be justified, for example, to ensure continuity of service during a period of increased activity. In all cases, the decision must not be considered abusive. In the event of non-acceptance of leave, the employee will have to modify his or her dates.

In the case of an exceptional family event such as a birth, the death of a close relative or a wedding, the employer is not entitled to refuse the request for leave. However, the employee is required to provide proof of this to the HR department.

Using personnel management software to better manage paid leave

The rules governing paid vacations, the calculation of vacation pay and exceptional circumstances can all complicate theorganization of time off for a company’s employees. Using online HR software allows you tooptimize staff management and create efficient work and vacation schedules. All tasks are automated, enabling employees to position themselves autonomously on slots, and employers to be immediately informed of requests. Modifications are made easily, with no risk of input errors. Communication between the HR department and the teams is much more fluid and rapid.

Employers are subject to a number of obligations when it comes to paid leave. These are defined by law and collective bargaining agreements, and concern the period, duration and amount of paid leave. They provide a framework for employees’ working hours and rest periods. To facilitate the management of vacation schedules and ensure compliance with legal provisions, a company can use personnel management software. These tools are designed to facilitate the creation of schedules and foster communication between an employer and his teams.