Thinking of working in France? Check out our guide for all the important bits you’ll need to know.
There’s plenty to consider before putting pen to paper for a job in France. Crucial factors such as working hours, taxes, visas and travel all need addressing before you make any major moves.
If you’ve got your eye on working in France and want to know more, read through our guide as we attempt to cover all bases for working life in France.
Working in France from the UK
Working in France while living in the UK might seem slightly far-fetched but it’s becoming more common than you might think. With the ‘jetset commuter’ lifestyle growing in popularity, and the coronavirus pandemic catalysing developments in remote working, getting a job across the Channel while living in the UK has never been more logistically possible.
If you have to travel to France for work from the UK, you will need a visa and a work permit. You can apply for both temporary and long-stay visas depending on how long you plan to stay; you’ll need a long-stay visa for any visit to France lasting more than 90 days over a 180-day period.
You will be taxed on your earned income in France by your employer and, as the UK and France have a double taxation agreement, you won’t face a second tax from the UK.
Working hours in France
When living in France, a standard working week is 35 hours. You’re also unlikely to work more than 10 hours in one day and should be given a break every 4.5 hours. Collective agreements can be arranged to alter these figures slightly, such as working 12-hour days.
Overtime in France is paid at 25% for the first eight hours of weekly overtime. This increases to 50% for every hour after that. You can also receive extra days of holiday for working overtime.
To emphasise the importance of a good work-life balance, France introduced the “right to disconnect” law in 2017. The law banned employees of companies with over 50 employees from sending or receiving emails after their allotted working hours. So, if you work or are set to work for a company in France with 50 employees or more, expect to clock off as soon as the final whistle of the day blows.
As well as having a shorter working week, France also trumps the UK with its national holidays. French citizens enjoy 11 public holidays every year, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Living in France working in Geneva
There are many reasons why you might want to live in France and work in Geneva – and you wouldn’t be alone. Around 20% of Switzerland’s foreign workers are cross-border workers and roughly half journey from France.
To become a cross-border worker, you’ll need to get yourself a G-permit. The G-permit is the Swiss work permit for cross-border workers and is valid for one year at a time. To qualify, you must have a permanent residence in France and have fulfilled the labour market requirements.
Switzerland has a double taxation agreement with France, meaning you won’t be taxed twice. Your earned income will only be taxed in Switzerland and will be deducted from your salary by your employer; you still have to fill in a French tax form and may be taxed on unearned income.
You will also need to ensure you have valid health insurance to work in Geneva while living in France. French residents can choose between French or Swiss health insurance and must be covered from day one of employment.
It’s also worth noting that Swiss employers prefer to pay your salary into a Swiss bank account. It shouldn’t be difficult opening an account as a cross-border worker but you may be charged to do so.
Working in France tax
In France, the amount of income tax you pay differs depending on a few factors. For example, your marital status, number of children, income and employment status all affect the total tax you owe.
French residents pay taxes on earnings from employment, investment, property, dividends, bank interest and pensions. Currently, the income tax thresholds in France are:
- Up to €10,084 = 0%
- €10,085–€25,710 = 11%
- €25,711–€73,516 = 30%
- €73,517–€158,222 = 41%
- €158,223+ = 45%
France uses a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme meaning income tax is paid on the spot with every monthly paycheque. If you’re self-employed and operate as the only employee, you’ll need to file a tax return.
Working in France visa
If you are an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen, you won’t need a visa to work in France. As the UK left the EU in January 2021, Brits will now need a visa and a work permit to live and work in France.
Usually, you will need authorisation from your prospective employer before you can get a visa; this is something your French employer handles on your behalf.
The type of visa you need depends on the length of your stay. If you’re working in France for less than 90 days, you can do so legally with a short-stay visa; your employer will sort out a temporary work permit for you during this period.
If you’re planning to work in France for more than 90 days, you’ll need a long-stay visa. This visa permits you to live and work in France for extended periods; they’re ideal for people moving to France for work. Once you’ve obtained your visa, you can get your hands on a residence work permit.
You can find more details about France visas on the Schengen Visa Information website.
Working in France pros and cons
Deciding on which country to work in demands a lot of thought, and making a pros and cons list can be a handy way to tackle the task. Here, we’ve written up a few things to think about when weighing up whether to work in France.
PRO: Work-life balance
We’ve already touched on France’s approach to a good work-life balance: its 35-hour working week and right to disconnect, but there’s even more to suggest the French have got it down to a tee. As well as 11 public holidays per year, employees in France receive 2.5 days of paid holiday for every month they work; this equates to five weeks over the course of a year.
CON: Need to learn the language
It’s always a good idea to try and learn the language of the country you’re working in, and this is especially true in France. While some European countries are very relaxed about the need to speak their native tongue, the same can’t always be said in France. Speaking French at a basic level is required for many jobs, even roles based around English.
PRO: Job security
In France, job contracts are often created with a guarantee to protect the rights of the employee. Employers must give legitimate reasons for any dismissals making it difficult to get rid of employees while their company still exists. This means you won’t have to worry about losing your job – unless you give your employer good reason to swing the axe.
CON: The job hunt
Finding a job in Europe hasn’t been easy in recent years, and France is no exception. According to Statista, France currently has an unemployment rate of 7.9%, which is slightly higher than the EU 27 average of 7.3%. This isn’t to say finding a job is impossible, so don’t give up trying if you are on the hunt for a job in France.
Sending money to France
Preparing to work in France can be a stressful time. Pressures from sorting out visas, taxes and travel can make it a difficult experience.
What’s more, you need to think about is what to do with your money. Spending time in Europe means spending money too and you won’t get much use out of your British pounds on the continent.
At Privalgo, we offer top-tier exchange rates, so you get more for your money. We’ll also walk you through your transaction every step of the way and support you with our friendly personal service. If you’re interested, follow the link below for a free quote and see how we can help.Request a currency quote