According to a World Bank report, the average person in France holds about eight jobs in their lifetime, with most transitions resulting from voluntary termination. It is critical to follow specific procedures when terminating your employment in France to receive excellent recommendations that will help you advance in your career.

This article will go over how to properly quit your job in France. We investigate the procedure for terminating your employment and the amount of notice you should provide to your employer. So, before you give your notice, read it thoroughly.

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Quick Look At Resignation In France

To resign from your job in France:

  1. Review your employment contract to determine the terms of termination.
  2. Meet with an HR representative and write a resignation letter as well.
  3. Give your employer the required notice period, complete any outstanding projects, and request an employment certificate.

Employees on a permanent contract have the right to end their contractual relationship with their employer without explaining why. It is considered a resignation if they decide to terminate the employment contract on their initiative. A contract termination agreement may be signed to safeguard the employee if the contract is terminated by mutual consent.

Do You Have A Fixed-Term Contract And A Wish To Resign?

Employees on a fixed-term contract have the right to terminate their employment contract in the cases expressly provided for in the French Labor Code, such as if they have received a permanent job offer. The term “resignation” refers solely to an employee’s voluntary termination of a permanent contract. When it comes to a fixed-term contract, the appropriate term is “early termination” of the employment contract.

Key Terms And Definitions

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CDI

The permanent employment contract is known as the CDI (contrat à durée indéterminée). It is the default in France, meaning an employer must have a valid reason to give a new employee a CDD rather than a CDI.

CDD

The CDD, which stands for “contrat à durée déterminée,” is a contract for temporary employment. The CDD is much more uncommon than the CDI and must be justified before it can be used. A CDD could be used to replace someone who is temporarily on leave or for seasonal jobs.

CSD

AMF grants central securities depository (CSD) authorization after receiving advice from the Banque de France and other European authorities, depending on the required license type.

Procedure

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Notifying The Employer

There is no set procedure in place. Employees can notify their bosses in writing or person.

However, the employee’s desire to resign must be clear. The employer cannot simply infer this from the employee’s behavior.

Resigning employees are customarily required to send a resignation letter to their employer.

In a letter to the employee, the employer acknowledges receipt of the resignation letter and outlines the terms and conditions of the contract termination (notice period, documents have to be provided at the end of the contract, etc.). 

Resignation Letter

See the service-public website for a resignation letter template. Here you can access the service-public.fr website.

Notice Period

The employee must serve a notice period before leaving the company.

This notice period may be specified in the company’s collective bargaining agreement or in the employment contract (where it may be shorter than that stipulated in the collective agreement). Otherwise, the standard notice period for the profession in question will apply.

The Ministry of Labor’s digital labor code website includes a simulation tool to tell you the notice of resignation period specified in the collective agreement. Allow for one or two minutes for the simulation to finish. Here is the access to the simulation.

In some cases, the notice period is not required to be followed. As an example:

  • Suppose the employer agrees to waive the notice period. In this scenario, the employee will be paid instead of notice in the amount of the salary they would have received if they had worked through the notice period.
  • Suppose the employee requests that their employer waive the notice period, and the employer agrees. The employee will not be paid in place of notice in this case.
  • If the company’s collective agreement exempts resigning employees from observing the notice period.
  • If you resign during your pregnancy or to raise a child.
  • In the event of resignation following the launch of a new business.

Employees are entitled to a monetary payment instead of paid leave if they cannot use all their vacation time before the contract expires.

Unemployment

Employees who resign are not eligible for the back-to-work allowance (Allocation de Retour à l’emploi – ARE) because unemployment benefits are only available to those who have lost their respective jobs through no fault of their own.

In some cases, however, the national employment agency (PĂ´le Emploi) may consider the resignation legitimate, entitling the employee to compensation.

These cases are outlined in the Unemployment Insurance Convention and Agreements, and they may apply to individuals who can demonstrate that they:

  • Have relocated (to accompany their spouse, civil partner, etc.).
  • Have resigned from a new position (following a redundancy).
  • Have quit their job to pursue a training course leading to a qualification.
  • Prepare to start or take over a business.
  • Consider enrolling in a vocational retraining program.
  • Are involved in a civic or volunteer activity.

Click here to check how to substantiate the legitimacy of resignation on the French government’s website.

Now let us look into the French resignation process and steps in detail according to the official website for France.

How To Quit A Job In France In A Right Way

Employment in France can be terminated at any time by the employee, the employer, or by mutual agreement between the parties. In any case, the employee must provide the employer with the notice period specified in the employment contract.

It is simple to terminate employment in France because you must notify your employer of your intention to leave. Your resignation becomes effective only after your employer receives your termination notice, either verbally or in writing.

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Although French law does not require a specific procedure for quitting your job, you can do so professionally and respectfully by following the steps below:

Step 1: Check Your Employment Contract

The employment contract is an agreement between an employee and an employer that specifies the terms and conditions of employment and the termination of employment.

Examine this contract for any requirements you should meet before resigning; failure to do so may result in hefty fines and negative feedback from your employer.

The content of the employment contract varies by company, but the majority of them include the following:

  • Employer’s contact details
  • Date and time of hire
  • Type of the contract
  • Length of paid leave
  • Employee’s responsibilities within the company
  • The function that the employee will occupy
  • The legal relationship between the employee and employer
  • Employee’s qualifications
  • Amount of remuneration
  • Notice period

Step 2: Meet With An HR Representative 

You may encounter clauses in your employment contract that are difficult to understand. Because HR representatives are usually familiar with employment laws, they will explain everything you need to do before resigning, saving you from reputational harm and penalties.

Step 3: Notify Your Employer Of Your Resignation

In France, you must notify your employer of your intention to resign. There is no standard procedure for doing this; you can do it orally or in writing. Most employees prefer to resign in writing because it is more professional and allows them to record their actions.

Step 4: Adhere To The Required Notice Period

Before resigning, you must follow the notice period specified in your employment contract. In France, this period begins when you notify your employer of your intention to leave the company.

Step 5: Finalize Any Unfinished Projects

You may be working on some projects when you leave your job. Discuss with your boss how you will complete the tasks; you can do them yourself or delegate them to your coworkers.

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Step 6: Check If You Qualify For Any Unemployment Benefits

In France, you are entitled to unemployment benefits if you have the following:

  • In employment for at least six months within the last 24 months 
  • Actively seeking a job or undergoing training.
  • Involuntarily terminated as a result of an end of a fixed-term contract.
  • Experiencing physical challenges that don’t enable you to work 

Step 7: Request For A Certificate Of Employment

Requesting a certificate of employment from your employer either verbally or via email is critical. This certificate is required when applying for a job in another company.

The certificate includes the following information:

  • The period you’ve been working with the company
  • Your skills and competences 
  • Activities you were carrying out.
  • Your position within the company
  • The date the certification was issued
  • Your details, such as name and date of birth

Employee Resignation In France

Do you want to quit your job as a CDI? You have the right to terminate your CDI anytime and for any reason. However, certain conditions must be met before you can resign. Specific provisions for early termination of the employment contract are provided if you CDD or on an interim basis. We provide you with the information you require.

In What Cases Can You Resign? 

Resignation is a method of terminating the employment contract that allows you to leave your company without having to justify your decision. This right is available anytime, even if your employment contract is on hold. You have the right to terminate or end your employment contract in the following circumstances:

  • Either as part of a voluntary breach of the employment contract test period without special reason.
  • Voluntary Retirement
  • Judicial Termination
  • Taking note of contract breaking

Trial Period

The trial period ensures that the hired employee is qualified for the position for which he was hired. It also enables the employee to determine whether the duties performed are appropriate for him. It is not required. Its duration varies depending on the type of employment contract: CDI (Open-ended employment contract) and CDD (Conditional employment contract) (Fixed-term contract or temporary employment contract, which is temporary). Its duration is also affected by the employee’s occupational category. It can be renewed or terminated ahead of time, subject to certain conditions.

How Do You Notify The Employer Of Your Intention To Resign? 

To be valid, your resignation must express clearly your willingness to terminate your employment contract. Remember that abandonment is not the same as resignation.

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Abandonment In Employment: What Is It?

Abandonment is the behavior of an employee who leaves his or her job without the permission of the employer or who is absent for an extended or repeated period without providing proof during working hours.

Depending on the circumstances, leaving the position without the employer’s permission is not justified when the employee leaves for one of the following reasons:

  • Consultation of a doctor justified by his or her state of health
  • Death of a relative
  • Right of Withdrawal

What Are The Consequences Of The Employment Contract?

When an employee leaves or ceases to report for work without legitimate justification, he is not paid. The employee’s absence terminates the employment contract.

Does The Employer Have An Obligation To Fire?

The employer is not required to dismiss an employee if a position is abandoned. He may need to return to work and justify his absence. While the employment contract is in effect, the employer is not required to issue the PĂ´le emploi certificate.

The employer may initiate disciplinary action in the absence of a return to work or justification for the employee’s absence. Such absences may be justified by:

  • disciplinary sanction,
  • A dismissal for real and serious reasons (which may give rise to termination benefits)
  • Or dismissal for serious misconduct without termination benefits (Absence causing a disruption in the company or deliberate abandonment of the position while the employer has warned against leaving too soon).

Note: The employee’s prolonged and unjustified absences cannot be interpreted as a resignation by the employer.

  • If there is doubt about your unequivocal will, the council of prud’homme may reclassify your resignation as wrongful dismissal (or without real and serious cause).
  • In some scenarios, you may be able to withdraw your resignation.
  • The resignation should not be abusive. That is, it must not be used with the intent of causing harm to your employer. You may be ordered to pay your employer monetary damages if you do not.

Can The Employee Reverse His Or Her Resignation?

Yes, the employee who has indicated his willingness to return his decision to resign may do so under certain conditions.

When the desire to resign is clear and unmistakable, resignation is valid.

If this is the case, the employee will be unable to return to the company (unless the employer agrees).

However, if there is any reasonable doubt about the employee’s true intention to resign, the employee may withdraw his or her resignation as long as he or she does so promptly.

This could be the case, for example, in the case of employer resignations:

  • Under the grip of anger or emotion
  • Under the influence of psychic disorders
  • Either because of pressure (threat of dismissal for misconduct, for example)

In such cases, the resignation given to the employer is null and void.

If there is a disagreement about the withdrawal’s legality, the prud’homme council can be convened.

The employee must then demonstrate to the judge that he lacked the desire to resign (emails, medical certificates, certificates of colleagues, letters).

The prud’homme board can reclassify the resignation as a dismissal without justification.

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What Is The Procedure For Resigning? 

You must notify your employer immediately to demonstrate your unmistakable desire to resign. A resignation does not require any legal procedure. You notify your employer orally or in writing by sending a resignation letter.

A resignation letter template is available here.

Warning 

Treaty provisions may require that the letter of resignation be sent via registered mail through RAR, the postal service.

Do You Have To Give Notice As Part Of Your Resignation? 

You cannot leave your job immediately after indicating your willingness to resign from your employer. You must work until your employment contract expires. You must meet the planned deadline notice. The employer, however, may waive notice.

How Long Is Your Notice In Case Of Resignation? 

You Are A Journalist 

You must follow a notice period based on your company’s seniority, provided that:

Minimum notice period based on employee seniority.
Employee seniorityMinimum notice period
Maximum 3 years1 month
Over 3 years2 months

You Are VRP 

You must respect a notice period based on your seniority in the company, provided that: 

Minimum notice period based on employee seniority.
Employee seniorityMinimum notice period
Less than 1 year1 month
Between 1 and 2 years2 months
Over 2 years3 months

Other 

The resignation notice shall be valid for the following period: 

  • Collective Agreement
  • Either by uses practiced in the community and the profession 
  • Either by local law (in Alsace-Moselle). 

The employment contract may include a provision for giving notice of resignation. The notice applies if the duration of the notice is less than that specified in the collective agreement. If you work part-time, the notice period is the same as for full-time employees. The notice begins with your resignation notification to your employer.

Can You Be Excused From Giving Advance Notice In The Event Of Your Resignation?

You fail to provide notice in any of the following situations:

  • Resignation during pregnancy or to raise a child 
  • Resignation at the end of a company creation leave

Except in these two cases, you may be excused from giving notice on your initiative or at the request of your employer if the following conditions are met:

You Are Requesting An Exemption From The Notice 

You may request that your employer waive the requirement to provide notice (in writing or orally).

Agreement Of Your Employer 

If your employer accepts your application, your employment contract will end on the agreed-upon date. Your employer does not pay you to notice compensation in this case.

Refusal Of Your Employer 

You must provide notice if your employer denies your waiver request. If you fail to provide notice, your employer may seek compensation. This allowance equals the gross pay you would have received during your original notice period.

Your Employer Waives Notice 

Your employer may waive your notice. In this case, you keep the benefits you would have gotten if you had worked until the end of your unfinished notice period. You concentrate on the notice of compensation.

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FAQs

Can The Notice Of Resignation Be Postponed Or Suspended? 

Notice may be delayed or suspended in the following circumstances:

  • Alternatively, if you and your employer agree.
  • Either in the case of taking paid leave/vacation, the date was set before the breach notification.
  • Work stoppage resulting from being notified of an accident at work or occupational disease
  • Or, in the case of treaty or agreement provisions.

Can You Leave To Look For A Job On Your Notice? 

There is no legal requirement that you miss work and look for a new job during your notice period. However, due to treaty provisions or use in the locality or profession, leave may be required to look for work during the notice period.

Can You Collect Unemployment Benefits If You Resign? 

You will not receive the Return to Work Allowance (RTA) if you resign. However, in certain circumstances, your resignation may be considered valid.

Can You Receive Compensation For Notice In Case Of Resignation? 

If your employer does not require you to give notice, you are entitled to notice compensation.

Can You Receive A Compensatory Holiday Allowance In Case Of Resignation? 

You are entitled to a compensatory allowance if you cannot use all of your earned leave before your employment contract is terminated.

Can You Continue To Benefit From Your Health Supplement In Case Of Resignation? 

Under certain conditions, you can continue receiving the health insurance you paid for at your previous job.

Can You Request An Early Release Of Your Salary Savings In Case Of Resignation? 

You can request early release money if you have a salary savings plan.

In The Event Of Your Resignation, What Documents Should Your Employer Provide You With?

Your employer must provide the following documents: 

  • Certificate of Work
  • PĂ´le emploi Attestation
  • Balance of any account 
  • Participation schemes, incentive schemes, wage savings schemes within the company, summary of all amounts and securities saved.

In What Cases Can You Resign From Your CSD? 

You cannot, in theory, resign from your CSD. However, under certain conditions, the CSD cannot be preempted. During the test period, you can cancel your CDD for any reason. Outside of the trial period, the CDD may be terminated before the scheduled term only in the following circumstances:

  • Agreement between yourself and your employer 
  • To avoid complications, you can notify your employer in writing of the termination of your CDD and provide proof of the planned hiring (e.g., a hiring promise or a work contract).
  • Serious misconduct 
  • Major Force 
  • Unfitness recognized by the occupational physician. 

Please note: If you terminate your CDD after the trial period and outside the allowed cases, the judge may order you to pay your employer damages.

How To Tell Your Boss You’re Leaving

Take the next step now that you’re in the right mind to quit. Here’s how to tell your boss you’re leaving (and do it on good terms).

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Steps On how To Tell The Boss That You Are Quitting

  • Set up a face-to-face meeting (or via Zoom)
  • At the start of the conversation, be direct about your decision. Outline the reasons for your departure. Express gratitude and appreciation for their leadership.
  • Give the required two weeks’ notice.
  • Assist in the creation of a transition plan
  • Please submit your formal resignation letter.
  • Finish (or request) an exit interview
  • Set up a face-to-face meeting (or via Zoom) 

An in-person meeting may not be possible in virtual and remote work. However, if you work in an office, try to schedule a one-on-one meeting outside your regularly scheduled meetings. If you work remotely, make sure to schedule a face-to-face virtual meeting.

Because you only want to hold space for resignation details, scheduling a separate meeting outside your regular one-on-ones is critical. If you’re leaving one company for another, you should resign as soon as you accept another job offer.

Be Direct About Your Decision At The Front Of The Conversation 

If you schedule a meeting outside your regular touchpoints, your manager may suspect something is amiss. Rather than making small talk or catching up on current projects, be direct and to the point.

Begin the conversation by announcing your intention to resign. This eliminates any unnecessary conversation. It also gives your manager time to think about the decision before the meeting ends.

Outline The Reasons Why You’re Leaving 

When you’ve said, “I quit,” it’s time to explain why. It’s best to make a clear list of your reasons for leaving. It could also be an excellent opportunity for constructive feedback, especially if your manager asks for it during the conversation. Below are some common reasons why people leave that you should be aware of:

  • Better offer in terms of professional development, pay, or compensation
  • increased flexibility and remote work capability
  • A job that is more compatible with your purpose and career objectives
  • A change in career or industry entirely (i.e., following your dreams)
  • Corporate culture
  • Overwhelming workload
  • A career break (i.e., time for rest, a sabbatical leave, or caregiving responsibilities)

This step of the process should be practiced with your coach. For example, you could leave due to a toxic work environment, a poor workplace culture, or a poor manager-employee relationship. While all of this is true, it is still important to share feedback respectfully so as not to burn bridges. 

Express Gratitude And Appreciation 

Whether or not you have a good relationship with your soon-to-be ex-employer, they have invested in you. And whether it was a good or bad experience, you learned something from it.

Express your appreciation and gratitude for their leadership. You can mention key projects you’re proud of, areas of growth you’ve seen during your tenure, and more. Your coach can also assist you in identifying areas of gratitude to express.

Provide The Appropriate Two Weeks’ Notice 

My manager paused with a question when I gave my two weeks’ notice at my previous job. “When is your last day?” I had completely forgotten to inform her of my departure from the company.

Unless you’re in an extenuating circumstance, such as a hostile work environment, give your team the appropriate two weeks’ notice to plan for the transition.

Final Words

We hope this detailed guide helps you understand how to resign effectively in France. All the required details are covered in accordance with the official French website.