How to hire employees in France through an Employer of Record (EOR) [2023 Guide]
Apr 27, 2023
Hiring in France? This nation has the sixth-largest economy in the world, making it an attractive option for employers looking to expand their business internationally. However, it’s perhaps best known for its strong worker protections and strict collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) at all levels of government. The result? This makes it a great option for workers, and you’ll find an excellent and highly skilled workforce in this nation.
If you’ve decided to move on from simply working with French contractors and want to hire full-time employees, you’ll either need to establish a legal entity or hire people through an Employer of Record (EOR).
Step by step: How to hire through an Employer of Record in France
Step #1: Decide between a French EOR and a legal entity
First, you’ll need to decide if you want to hire French employees through an EOR or take the proper steps to register your own legal entity.
- Legal entity in France. Setting up a legal entity from scratch usually requires registration with local authorities, selecting the right tax regime for your business, submitting a dossier to the Commercial Court, and issuing a VAT number, among numerous other steps.
- French EOR. An EOR is a third-party service that operates as an employer on a company’s behalf—meaning you don’t need to set up your own entity. As well as allowing you to hire full-time French employees, EORs handle all the legal requirements for complying with French laws for payroll, contracts, and benefits. EOR services also include calculating and withholding taxes, onboarding and managing employees, and running payroll.
Alternatively, you can use an Employer of Record, which handles French payroll, tax, and compliance considerations. Through Rippling EOR’s entities, you can start hiring and working with employees in France quickly and compliantly.
This step-by-step guide will explain how to hire employees through an EOR in France.
While registering a legal entity in France is surprisingly fast—it takes just two weeks—it’s the labor and tax laws you’ll need to watch out for. These complex pieces of legislation take years to master, and you’ll face severe penalties if you’re not in compliance.
Pros and cons of EORs vs. setting up a legal entity
Cost & Implementation
✔ Less time-consuming to set up.
✔ You can start hiring within days instead of months.
✘ Becomes costlier as your headcount increases.
✘ Requires a significant time investment to ensure you’ve followed all the correct steps.
✔ More cost-effective once you’ve hired enough employees in a foreign country.
✔ Quickly set up new hires, often within 1-14 days, depending on the provider.
✔ Supports large-scale expansion in a new market.
✔ Manages all of your compliance work for you, takes on liability, and provides localized employment contracts.
✘ Can’t tailor certain policies, and other HR/legal processes, to the needs of your business.
✘ Requires expert knowledge of local laws and tax regulations and internal legal resources, as your company is liable for all legal and compliance infractions.
✔ Can tailor certain policies and other HR/legal processes to the needs of your business.
Payroll & Benefits
✔ Quickly pay and insure employees around the world.
✔ Taxes are filed for you.
✘ Must manually keep track of statutory deductions and employee entitlements for every hire.
Step #2: How to choose the best EOR for your business
Several EORs on the market—including Deel, Papaya Global, and Rippling—can help hire, pay, and manage French employees. Before you choose a platform, you should consider the services you will need, and how much you plan to grow your global hiring presence.
Here’s how Rippling EOR stacks up against Deel in France:
Recruiting & Applicant
All-in-one global HR platforms, like Rippling, allow you to hire, pay, and manage employees and contractors worldwide. They are also “payroll processors,” which means they process your payroll, transmit funds, and calculate and file taxes in every country through their own software. This allows you to manage and automate the entire employee journey in one place, all around the world.
Most EOR platforms are not HRISs (Human Resource Information Systems). They were built with the express purpose to hire and pay people internationally. They aggregate local payroll providers in every country and manually transmit your payroll files to them. This approach comes with many limitations.
All-in-One Global HR Platforms
Most EOR Platforms
Onboarding new hires
Payroll processing time
Integrated with every HR, IT, and Finance tool you need to run your business
Hire employees in France in 90 seconds with Rippling
Normally, setting up a corporate entity abroad is a long, expensive process. But through Rippling EOR’s entities, you can start hiring and working with people abroad quickly and compliantly. See Rippling.
Step #3: Hiring and onboarding your French employees
The next step after selecting an EOR that works in France is onboarding your new employees. This isn’t very difficult. All you’ll need is the following:
- Name (matching the account where you’ll deposit their pay).
- Date of birth and date of hire.
- Contact information.
- Social Security number.
- Bank account information.
- Amount to be paid in Euros (EUR).
One of the most important parts of onboarding is the fixed-term portage employment contract (AKA the formal offer letter). This is where you’ll need to closely follow the employment laws and benefits set down by collective bargaining agreements and various French agencies.
An EOR can automatically localize and distribute employment agreements. Every French hire will have a legally compliant fixed-term portage employment contract offering statutory requirements for probationary periods, working hours, minimum wage, benefits, and termination policies like severance pay and notice periods.
Example: Let’s say you hire a couple of full-time employees in France. After you’ve taken the necessary steps to properly classify them as an employee, you’ll need to draw up their fixed-term portage employment contracts. These will include a Collective Bargaining Agreement section, information about their position—including their job title and duties—and their expected working hours, and information about the employee benefits they’ll receive, to name a few of the sections that must be included. You should also include the length of the probation period, your willingness to adhere to France’s famous 35-hour working week, and annual leave policies.
When you use an EOR in France, it will generate legally compliant employment contracts that ensure all of the strict French employment laws have been adhered to.
Rippling EOR automatically flags non-compliant sick leave policies and tells you how to fix them. If you'd like to give your employees more leave to match policies in other countries, you can do that too. See Rippling.
Step #4: Run payroll
For the A-to-Z on global payroll, read our comprehensive guide to running international payroll for employees in France.
After both you and the new employee have signed the fixed-term portage employment contract, an EOR will pay your French employees in EUR and withhold the legally required taxes from their paychecks. These include, but are not limited to:
- Income tax
- Health insurance
- Maternity insurance
- Unemployment insurance
- Pension plan contributions
- Autonomy Solidarity Contribution (CSA)
- Wage Guarantee Insurance (AGS)
Keep in mind many EOR companies are payroll aggregators, meaning they pay employees via third-party vendors. This makes for slower processing times and headaches when it comes to managing international employees under the same system.
Rippling EOR, by contrast, simplifies global employment by using native payroll software to send funds and handle taxes, allowing you to pay French employees alongside your local workforce—all within a single pay run.
Below is a preview of how Rippling’s one-click global payroll system works:
Frequently asked questions about hiring through an EOR in France
How much does an EOR cost?
The prices of EORs aren’t uniform, but the methods of payment are generally one of two choices:
- Fixed monthly fee per employee
- Percentage of payroll plus applicable taxes
You should expect both methods to have additional administrative costs, charges for onboarding employees, and costs for supplemental features.
Note that you don’t need to use an EOR for your entire workforce. You can use one for just some of your employees, and you’ll only be charged for those individuals.
What is the difference between an EOR and PEO?
A Professional Employer Organization, or a PEO, will co-employ your workforce with you. They’ll take responsibility for administrative tasks, including payroll, compliance, and filing payroll taxes. You’ll be jointly responsible for your employees. With a PEO, you can’t hire workers in other countries if you haven’t registered a legal entity there.
An EOR does permit you to hire internationally without setting up a legal entity. Also, it’s the sole employer of whatever portion of your workforce you use it for, and it will assume all the associated liabilities.
Does an EOR protect your sensitive and confidential information?
You can better protect yourself and your business against data breaches by seeking out EORs that prioritize data protection. Top-quality employer of record services will be compliant with the industry-standard privacy regulations in France, have a secure infrastructure that is continuously updated, and have carefully vetted all of its IT personnel.
For an additional layer of protection, establish a Data Processing Agreement (DPA) with a payroll service. This agreement should cover you legally and mandate the service use as high-quality, secure privacy practices.
Does an EOR help with French tax filings?
An EOR can automatically calculate and file your taxes in France. Rippling, for instance, is an authorized payroll provider by the French tax authorities. It will take care of both employer and employee contributions. For the latter, it will deduct the proper income tax and social security taxes from paychecks. For the former, it will ensure you stay compliant with the winding system of French tax requirements. For employers, these include, but are not limited to:
- Health insurance, including private health insurance
- Pension insurance
- Taxable benefits
- Social package (Forfait Social)
- Life insurance (prevoyance)
- Work accident insurance
Depending on where you’re located and/or how many employees you have, you may be required to pay transportation tax, declare the number of disabled workers under your employ, and an apprenticeship tax.
EORs will also ensure all full-time employees are paid monthly and that each paycheck contains the mandatory information. This includes:
- Both the employee’s gross and net payment amounts
- Tax exemption amounts
- The number of regular hours plus any overtime the employee worked during that pay period, including their rates of compensation for both
- Social tax liabilities for both the company and the employee
What are the mandatory benefits for French employees?
French CBAs have provided generous statutory benefits for employees. These include:
- Paid overtime
- Parental leave (including paternity and maternity leave)
- Statutory annual leave
- Statutory public holidays (there are 11 annual public holidays in France, including Bastille Day, Ascension Day, Christmas Day, and Easter Monday)
- Paid sick leave
- Unemployment insurance
- Providence fund (includes life and disability insurance)
For more information on mandatory benefits in France, read our complete guide.
Income Tax Rate
Up to €10,777
From €10,778 to €27,478
From €27,479 to €78,570
From €78,571 to €168,994
Income over €168,994
Employers are responsible for deducting these taxes from their full-time employees’ paychecks.
Now, let’s discuss some of the other contributions both you and your employee are expected to deduct from payroll.
Type of Tax
Tax Rate/Contribution Amount
40% of gross salary
Employer & Employee
50% of the total cost
1.9% of gross salary
Employer & Employee
Work accident insurance*
2.22% of office employees
1.90% for remote employees
Autonomy Solidarity Contribution
0.3% of total earnings
*The amount you pay in work accident insurance will vary each year based on the company’s size, degree of risk, and other factors. The French Pension and Occupational Health Insurance Fund will tell you what your tax rate is each year.
Head spinning? French tax laws are confusing to anyone new to them, which is why it’s crucial to hire an expert. The French are known for their incredibly severe penalties for non-compliance. In some cases, French auditors have issued fines as high as 80% to 100% of the unpaid amount to companies who did not follow the complex tax laws.