French labour laws: Wages and pay slips
Read about wages in France with this comprehensive guide to remuneration and pay slips in France.
In France the SMIC is the legal minimum wage any employee can be paid.
Since 1 July 2009, the SMIC has stood at EUR 8.82 gross per hour (EUR 6.93 net) which totals to EUR 1337.70 gross per month (EUR 1050.63 net) for a 35-hour week.
Only apprentices and young employees may be paid less than the SMIC. Collective agreements set minimum wage levels in line with the employee’s qualifications. These wage levels may never be lower than the SMIC.
In France, only social security contributions are deducted from an employee’s pay. Tax is not deducted at source. Employees must declare their income in their annual tax return in May (for example: the declaration made in May 2009 relates to the income for the year 2008).
The difference between gross and net pay is about 22 percent.
The pay slip (Bulletin de Paie)
Wages are paid on a monthly basis on a given date each month, generally by bank transfer. Each employee must be sent a pay slip.
The pay slip must include certain information:
- the employer (name, address, registration number, APE code (code denoting principle activity), Siret number (Companies register identification number)
- the employee (name, post occupied, position in the classification of the collective agreement)
- the URSSAF (main social security office) (or the agricultural social security benefit scheme) to which contributions are paid
- the supplementary pension funds
- the collective agreement applicable
- the components that make up gross pay (the number of hours worked, the number of hours paid at the normal rate and those paid at higher rates (for overtime or night work for example) indicating the rate(s) applied, the wage bonuses subject to social secuirty contributions (seniority and turnover bonus, tips, end-of-contract instability of work bonus, where appropriate the supplementary differential rate awarded following the reduction of working hours to employees receiving the SMIC minimum wage etc.)
- the nature and amount of the flat rate for employees whose pay is determined on the basis of a weekly or monthly flat rate in hours or an annual flat rate in hours or in days
- social security contributions and tax deductions: CRDS (social security repayment contribution), CSG (supplementary contribution for the underprivileged), contributions based on salary
- any amounts not subject to social security contributions (refund of professional expenses)
- the net amount actually paid to the employee
- the date of payment of this net amount
- the dates of any paid leave included in the payment period and the corresponding allowance.
Also note that your pay slip should also indicate that an employee must keep the pay slip for an indefinite length of time. This may be worded as follows: “pour vous aider à faire valoir vos droits, conservez ce bulletin de paie sans limitation de durée” (to enable you to provide evidence of your rights, please keep this pay slip indefinitely). The employer should also keep these slips for five years after they have been issued.
Pay slips should not mention workers exercising their right to strike or staff representation activities:
- hours not paid due to strike action are indicated as 'unpaid absence'.
- hours given to staff committee work are included under normal working time.
EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal/ Expatica
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