Extra hours in France: what obligations do employers have?

Extra hours for French employees

Extra hours” refers to hours employees do that their employment contracts don’t account for. These can be particularly helpful if there’s a sudden spike in activity, especially since it tends to be a lot cheaper than hiring another worker. Furthermore, employees can only refuse to do extra hours if they can justify their refusal!
As such, what should an employer keep in mind when using extra hours?


Obviously, employees have to be paid when doing extra hours. How much exactly they are paid depends on many factors, such as their normal salary or the collective agreement, but at the very least, they are paid their hourly wage plus 10%.

Maximum number of hours

There’s also a maximum number of hours an employee can perform. Indeed, employees can only do up to 48 hours a week, and up to 220 hours a year (unless a collective agreement set this amount to something else).

Planning ahead

As stated earlier, the employee technically cannot refuse to do these extra hours unless he can give a proper justification. However, if you didn’t warn the employee that he should do these soon enough, then this is a cause for refusal. While the amount of time you need to plan ahead of isn’t explicitly defined, in practice, you should try to warn them at least 3 days in advance.