Gepubliceerd op 23 november 2022

NLBC.FR: Seconding employees to France: all you need to know

The main advantage of seconding employees to France is that they continue to pay social security contributions in their country of origin. They are not required to contribute to the French social security system.

Foreign companies with no presence in France often send employees for a temporary period and unwittingly fall foul of France’s secondment rules.

Failure to comply can have serious consequences. Outlined below is a review of the main rules that employers need to know.

1. Employers based outside Europe must obtain a work permit

Employers based outside the European Union, such as in the United States, are required to apply for a work permit for each secondee. The work permit must be valid throughout the assignment in France and must be obtained prior to the start date.

2. A pre-declaration must be filed with the local labour authority

With some exceptions, a pre-declaration must be completed online via the SIPSI website and filed before the assignment begins.

3. A representative of the employer in France must be appointed

Except in certain cases, employers based abroad must appoint a representative in France. Their role is to liaise with the labour inspector on the employer’s behalf and provide any necessary documents if there is an audit. The representative is appointed in the secondment pre-declaration.

4. Labour inspection audits must be complied with

During the secondment period, if the labour inspector orders an audit, certain documents must be made available, including inter alia:

  • pay slips;
  • evidence that salaries have actually been paid; and
  • detailed time sheets’

5. French employment law applies

Employers seconding employees to France must comply with a set of minimum rules under the French Labour Code and the sector-specific industry-level collective bargaining agreement, including inter alia rules governing remuneration, working time, paid leaves, maternity, paternity, child care and family-related leave.

If the secondment exceeds 12 months, the employer must also apply all the provisions contained in the French Labor Code and the applicable industry-level collective agreement, with specific exceptions for contract changes on economic grounds, transfer and termination, safe voluntary mobility schemes, fixed-term contracts and other specific contracts.

NB: the application of the minimum rules only can be renewed for a 6-month period if the employer obtains authorisation from the French administration.

6. Social security coverage

Secondees who fall within European regulations or a bilateral social security agreement are subject to the social security system of their home country. Otherwise, they are, in principle, subject to the French social security system.

An EU/EEA based company must request an A1 form from the competent social security institution of its home country for each secondee. This document proves that the secondees are affiliated to the social security system of their home country and avoids them having to pay social security contributions in more than one country.

7. Penalties for non-compliance

It must be stressed that failure to comply with some of the above-cited legal requirements is punishable by a fine of €4,000 per worker (up to a maximum of €500,000). In addition, in certain cases, the performance of the service provided in France can be suspended by the Labour inspector.


MGG Voltaire is a member of the Netherlands Business Council France.