What exactly is the legal working time in France?

Legal working hours

If you’re setting up a company in France, you might have to hire employees at some point. In these cases, chances are, you’ll want to know as much about the French laws on employment as possible. As such, here’s how working hours precisely work in France.

How long is the work day in France?

The short answer is: French employees work 35 hours a week. However, this does not mean that your employees aren’t allowed to work for longer than 35 hours! Instead, this implies than any time spent working beyond this threshold is considered as extra hours.

Though, it’s worth noting this regulation doesn’t apply to executives.

How are these hours counted?

These hours are counted with effective work. This term refers to the time that employees spend on standby for their employers, and have to obey their orders without being able to spend this time for themselves.

There are still a couple of situations that need additional precision:

  • The time employees spend being on break doesn’t count as effective hours, unless the employment contract or a collective agreement specifically states so
  • Business trips don’t count towards effective work, except when it takes longer than the normal time it takes the employee to go from their home to work