Employees have the right to 30 days of annual leave (working days – jours ouvrables). They accumulate vacation days at a rate of 2.5 per month, but employers may agree to anticipate the days. The holiday season lasts from June 1 to May 31.

Workers on paid leave, overtime leave, leave for family reasons, maternity or paternity leave, absence from work due to occupational accidents or illnesses, adoption leave, military service periods, and training leave accumulate days off while taking them.

Employees are not allowed to take more than 24 working days off at once. They can take a minimum of 12 consecutive working days of vacation at one time, according to labor law. Employees who become ill while on vacation are not entitled to additional days.

Some employers provide additional vacation days based on the employee’s length of service. Some collective bargaining agreements include additional days off for the Christmas or Easter holidays.

Employers and employees can agree to carry over unused holidays to the following year if the collective bargaining agreement allows it. However, this is not required, and the employee may be penalized for any days not taken by May 31 (This can be true if they provided the reason for not taking them was a heavy workload).

Reduction Of Working Time (RTT)

The employee’s right to 30 days of vacation is based on a 35-hour workweek. Certain CBAs and companies can offer RTT (reduced working time) of up to two days per month to compensate employees who must work more than the legal 35 hours per week. RTT is calculated by subtracting the contracted days from the working days in the year. Employees are not permitted to carry over RTT days to the following year.

Public Holidays

In France, there are 11 public holidays, but only Labour Day (which is May 1) is a statutory paid holiday. Most employers provide paid time off for all public holidays (part of the CBA or employment agreement).

Employees who do work on Labour Day should get a 200% pay increase, whereas other public holidays do not result in a pay increase for those who work on these dates (unless specified on the employment contract or CBA).

Weekend public holidays are not carried over to the next working day.

What Is Sick Leave In France Like?

The absence of an employee due to illness suspends the work contract. It also suspends the employer’s obligation to fully compensate the employee. Employees on sick leave receive a daily benefit from the Social Security Health System. Depending on the provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreement, the employer may be required to supplement the pay.

Employees are entitled to six months of sick leave paid by Social Security if they have either:

  • They have worked at least 150 hours in the three months preceding my leave.
  • Contributed at least 1,015 times the legal hourly minimum wage to Social Security in the previous six months

Employees must meet the following criteria after the sixth month of illness to extend their leave for up to one year:

  • They have worked at least 600 hours in the 12 months preceding your illness
  • They have contributed to Social Security for at least 12 months prior to becoming ill
  • They have earned at least 2,030 times the hourly minimum wage in the 12 months preceding the illness

From the fourth day of illness, Social Security pays up to 50% of the employee’s daily earnings, up to a maximum of €48.69 per day.

To enable the employee to get social security benefits, the employer must provide a salary certificate to the social security authorities.

The employer is responsible for paying the benefits from the first till the third day of illness in Alsace-Moselle.

For the first 30 days of illness, the benefit payment is increased to 90% of the employee’s gross income if:

  • They have been with the company for more than a year.
  • They notify your employer within 48 hours and bring a medical certificate with you (the employer may request a second medical examination)

For up to six months, the amount is reduced to 67%. This additional compensation is only available after the eighth day of illness-related absence.

If an employee does not present the doctor’s note, even if they are sick for only one day, sick leave is considered unjustified.

Employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements may provide for full compensation, supplemented by the employer.

The benefit can be extended for a maximum time of three years in the event of a severe or prolonged illness. Employers may terminate an employee’s employment contract if:

  • The ability of the employee to work in their current position is impacted by the illness.
  • The employee is deemed medically unfit to participate in any rehabilitation or reintegration measures that the company could reasonably take to accommodate them.
  • The continued absence of the employee causes significant disruption to the business, forcing it to seek a permanent replacement.

France – Health Benefits In Cash

This section will teach you everything you need to know about claiming sickness benefits in France.

If you have worked and paid social security contributions in another European Union country, your period of work and contributions may be taken into account when calculating your benefits in France.

Sick Leave In France 1

In What Situation Can I Claim?

As a private sector employee, you are entitled to daily sickness allowances if you become ill and meet the conditions.

You may also be eligible for additional compensation paid by your employer if certain conditions are met.

In the event of an inability to work, the doctor must write a sick leave note. The daily allowance is only paid beginning on the fourth day of sick leave.

What Conditions Do I Need To Meet?

Sick leave for a maximum of 6 months

The employee must meet the following conditions on the day he stops working:

  • having worked for at least 150 hours in the three calendar months or 90 days preceding termination;
  • Or having received a salary totaling at least 1,015 times the hourly Smic in the six calendar months preceding termination.

After the 6th month of sick leave

The employee must meet the following requirements:

  • Prove 12 months of payments into the sickness benefits scheme on the date work was terminated;
  • and have worked for at least 600 hours in the 12 calendar months or 365 days preceding the date of termination;
  • Or have earned at least 2,030 times the hourly Smic in the 12 calendar months (or 365 days) prior to leaving work.

What Am I Entitled To, And How To Claim It?

Calculation Method

The daily allowance is equal to half of the basic wage for the day.

Maximum Amount

The gross reference wage is set at €2,885.61 per month. As a result, the daily allowance paid cannot be more than €47.43.


When sick leave exceeds three months, the daily allowance (up to the maximum gross amount) may be reassessed in the event of a general increase in income.

Maintenance Of All Or Part Of The Income By The Employer

The applicable employment contract or joint agreement may include compensation terms that are more favorable than those defined by social security. These can range from partial to complete income repayment (this is the case for short-term sick leave in Alsace-Moselle).

Unless more favorable provisions exist, an employee who has worked for the company for a minimum of one year receives supplementary compensation, the amount of which is calculated as follows:

  • For the first 30 days, the employee receives 90% of the gross amount he would have received if he had continued working (including daily allowance);
  • For the next 30 days, he receives 2/3 of this same remuneration (including daily allowance).

Each 30-day period is extended by ten days for every additional five years of seniority. The maximum period of compensation is 180 days (90 days at 90% of the previous salary and 90 days at 2/3 of the previous salary).

The additional compensation begins on the eighth day of illness absence.


Unless there are more favorable collective (or contractual) agreements, daily allowances are paid after a three-day waiting period. Except in the following cases, this delay applies to any work stoppage:

  • a return to work between 2 work stoppages that do not exceed 48 hours;
  • successive sick leave owing to a long-term sickness (LTS or ALD).

It should be noted that in Alsace-Moselle, the employer keeps the salary as of the first day off work.

Days Compensated

Daily allowances are due for each calendar day that you do not work.

Frequency Of Payments

Every 14 days, the Primary Health Insurance Fund pays daily allowances. At the same time, it sends a summary.

The Maximum Duration Of Payment

Without taking into account the compensations paid for an LTS, the Primary health insurance fund pays a maximum of 360 daily allowances over a three-year period (regardless of the number of illnesses).

If the employee suffers from LTS, the daily allowances are paid indefinitely for three years. If the employee has been out of work for at least one year, another three-year period may apply.

Jargon Busters

  • Smic: Minimum Interprofessional Guaranteed Wage in France. As of January 1, 2022, the gross hourly Smic is €10.57.
  • Primary health insurance fund: Fund for primary health insurance. Ensures public reception on a local level, administers membership for insured persons and their sickness insurance entitlement and ensures sickness/maternity and occupational accident benefits are paid.
  • LTS (or ALD): Long-term Illness. Disease or pathology that results in a 6-month or longer absence from work or treatment on a list established by decree.

Know Your Rights

The links below provide additional information about your rights. These websites are not under the control of the European Commission and thus do not represent its views:

Publications and websites of the Commission:

Who Should You Contact?

On the dedicated page of the sickness benefits website, you can contact health insurance online or find the nearest primary health insurance fund to where you live.

Sick Leave In France 2

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Sick Days Do You Get In France?

Employees are entitled to daily sickness allowances for up to 90 days. Employees should provide a medical certificate within 48 hours to their employers. Employees who are absent due to illness or injury receive daily indemnities from the social security system for a maximum of three years.

How Do I Get Sick Leave In France?

When an employee is not able to work due to illness, they have 48 hours to notify both their employer and the CPAM (the basic health insurance organization) that they require sick leave. This notice is given on a form known as an ‘avis d’arrêt de travail,’ which must be signed by a doctor.

How Many Weeks Of Leave Are Given In France?

French law mandates a minimum of 5 weeks of vacation per year. And actually, that five weeks is a minimum. Most French people get anywhere from 6-10 weeks of annual leave depending on their profession and where they work. And this is on top of paid public holidays.

Are Sick Leaves Paid In France?

Employees are entitled to six months of sick leave paid by Social Security if they have either: I worked at least 150 hours in the three months preceding my leave. Contributed at least 1,015 times the legal hourly minimum wage to Social Security in the previous six months.

What Is A Good Excuse For Sick Leave?

Personal illness, family emergencies, doctor’s appointments, child care, mental health challenges, the death of a loved one, and household problems are the best last-minute excuses to miss work.

Who Pays Sick Pay In France?

First of all, the social security CPAM will pay daily allowances. For a ‘normal’ sick leave, the allowance corresponds to 50% of the employee’s gross salary up to a maximum amount of 46 € gross per day. A waiting period of three days applies.