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Does France Have Paid Vacation?

Employees in France are entitled to 2.5 days of paid vacation for every month they work. This equates to 5 full weeks of vacation per year. There are some restrictions on when employees can take a vacation:

  • The number of days taken at once cannot exceed 24 working days.
  • Employees must take 12 or more consecutive working days off as their main holiday.

Quick Look At Public Holidays In France

In France, there are 11 public holidays unless you live in the Alsace region or the Moselle department, which has an additional two days:

  1. New Year’s Day – January 1
  2. Good Friday – Varied dates but always a Friday (Alsace and Moselle only)
  3. Easter Monday – Varied date but always a Monday
  4. May Day – May 1
  5. Victory in Europe Day – May 8
  6. Ascension Day – Varied date but always a Thursday (39 days after Easter Sunday)
  7. Whit Monday – Varied date but always a Monday (50 days after Easter Sunday)
  8. Bastille Day – July 14
  9. Assumption Day – August 15
  10. All Saints’ Day – November 1
  11. Armistice Day – November 11
  12. Christmas Day – December 25
  13. St Stephen’s Day – December 26 (Alsace and Moselle only)

How Many Vacation Days Are You Entitled To In France?

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 French legal system makes it clear how to calculate the paid holidays to which employees are entitled.

Employees in companies that use a five-day work week are legally entitled to five weeks of paid leave every year (that is, 25 work days).

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Accrual Of Paid Leave

During each “accrual period,” employees accrue 2.08 vacation days per month. Accrual periods run from June 1 to May 31 of the following year.

Period Of Use

These vacation days must be used within a “period of use” that begins on June 1 following the accrual period and ends on May 31 the following year.

Employees have no rights to carry forward accrued but unused vacation days at the end of the period of use, which means that accrued but unused vacation days by May 31 of each year are forfeited.

Some important considerations:

  • The accrual period may be changed only through an in-house collective bargaining agreement, not by the employer unilaterally. As a result, businesses can choose an accrual period that runs from January 1 to December 31.
  • Employees in France are entitled to use their vacation days as soon as they are hired, upon acquisition, and during the accrual period, without having to wait for the period of use.
  • The employer may authorize carry-forward. Given the employer’s general duty to care for the health and safety of its employees, such carry forward must always be limited to the bare minimum and always at the employee’s request.
  • Paid vacation days must be taken in at least two separate batches. The maximum number of days that can be taken at once is 20. (24 days in companies following a six-day working week).
  • Employees earn paid holidays during specified periods of leave (maternity leave, paternity leave, some training leaves, notice period, and similar).

Calculate The Employee’s Vacation Pay

You do not receive your salary while on vacation. You do, however, receive a vacation allowance. When calculating vacation pay, all amounts with a salary character are considered. Other amounts are not considered.

SumTaking into account
Salary basicYes
Salary increase (overtime, night work, etc.)Yes
Salary reconstituted for periods assimilated to actual work (maternity leave, paternity leave , and child care leave or work stoppage for a work accident or occupational disease, for example)Yes
Paid Leave Allowance of the previous yearYes
Seniority AwardYes
Monthly attendance bonusYes
Severance payYes
Trade CommissionsYes
Expatriation grantYes
Benefits in kindYes
Year-end bonusNo
Interest premiumNo
Balance sheet premiumNo
Participation AwardNo
13e monthNo

The allowance is calculated by comparing two methods of calculation:

  • According to the first method, the allowance is equal to one-tenth of your total gross remuneration during the reference period.
  • The vacation pay is equal to the pay you would have received if you had continued to work, according to the second method (salary maintenance).

This is the best value you get. The employer may consider the following:

  • Either the actual monthly schedule, the most equitable method, or the method recognized by law.
  • The actual number of working days
  • The average number of business days (or worked)

Right To Paid Leaves In France

Have you taken your paid leave? What exactly is the duration of paid leave? When should you take paid time off? What determines the departure date? Can you take a vacation? Multiple times? How are you doing? Paid while on paid leave? We explain your rights and responsibilities.

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Do You Qualify For Paid Time Off?

Yes, every employee has the right to paid leave every year. You have paid vacation regardless of your contract.

  • CDI: Permanent employment contract
  • CDD: Fixed-term contract

 Or acting contract).

You get paid vacation whether you work full-time or part-time. If your employer agrees, you are entitled to paid leave from the exact instance you are hired by the company. This is regardless of your seniority.

How Do I Find Out How Many Days Of Paid Leave You Have?

Whether you work part-time or full-time, you get 2.5 business days of actual work per month from any employer.

For a full year of work, this equates to 30 working days (5 weeks).

Some absences must be taken into account when calculating leave days.

When the total number of days of earned leave does not equal an integer, the leave is extended to the next higher integer.


You worked five months this year and are entitled to 2.5 x 5 = 12.5, rounded up to 13 working days.

Your employer can calculate your vacation days in working days. This method of calculation must ensure that your leave entitlements are at least equal to those calculated in working days in this case.

What Is The Time Frame Used To Calculate The Number Of Days Of Paid Leave?

For paid leave accrual, the reference period is fixed from June 1 of the previous year to May 31 of the current year.

Different dates, however, may be established by treaty provisions, collective agreements, or collective company agreements.

Please Keep In Mind

Some businesses are required to contribute to a paid vacation fund (companies of the TPP, entertainment sectors). In this case, the reference period is from April 1 of the preceding year to March 31 of the current year.

Can You Get Additional Paid Vacation Days?

The rules differ depending on your circumstances:

  • You are a worker over the age of 21 with dependent children.
  • You are a worker under the age of 21.
  • Other
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When Can You Take Your Paid Vacation?

The period of paid leave may or may not be extended throughout the year.

In any case, it shall be obligatory from May 1 to October 31.

The period of paid leave shall be:

Either through a collective bargaining agreement or a company agreement.

  • Alternatively, in the absence of an agreement or agreement, by the employer after Social and Economic Committee notice (SSC)

Employees must be informed at least two months before the start of the period.

How Many Days Of Paid Time Off Can You Take At Once?

You can’t have more than 24 consecutive business days off (4 weeks).

It’s known as the master. However, your employer may grant you additional time off for one of the following reasons:

  • Or unique geographic constraints
  • The presence of a disabled or elderly person who has lost their independence in their home.

Who Sets The Date Of Leave With Pay?

The date of departure for leave shall be:

You notify your employer of the vacation dates you intend to take.

Your employer may refuse to grant you the requested vacation dates.

You will then depart on another date. In the event of a temporary company closure, your employer may require you to take time off. Your employer is required to notify each employee of the scheduled departure date. The date of departure must be communicated to each employee at least one month in advance, in normally accessible premises.

Your employer is not allowed to make changes to your leave dates once you have granted them. Your employer may, however, postpone your leave in exceptional circumstances (company dealing with an unusual order, replacement of a deceased employee, etc.). Your employer must give you at least one month’s notice before posting.

Who Determines The Order Of Leave With Pay?

On employee leave, your employer establishes a departure order.

Your employer must consider the following criteria when determining the order of departures (unless other criteria are established by the collective agreement or a company agreement):

  • Family status of beneficiaries (presence in the household of a disabled person or an elderly person who has lost independence, etc.)
  • Length of service with the employer
  • Activity with one or more other employers

The order of leave departures is communicated to each employee at least one month in advance, in normally accessible premises.

Please keep in mind that employees who are married or linked by civil partnerships and work for the same company have the right to leave at the same time.

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Can You Take Your Paid Vacation Days In A Split Way?

Yes, your master (i.e., no more than four weeks in a row) may not be taken in its entirety during the statutory period of leave (from May 1 to October 31). The main leaf is then divided (i.e., taken in several times).

You can then take advantage of additional days off split days, subject to the following conditions:

  • Period May 1 to October 31
  • Period November 1 to April 30

Can You Work During Your Paid Vacation Days?

You are not permitted to work during your vacation.

During your paid vacation, however, you may be hired by harvest contract.

Are You Paid On Your Paid Vacation Days?

No, you are not paid while on vacation. You, on the other hand, get vacation pay.

All amounts with a salary character are considered when calculating vacation pay (basic salary, seniority bonus, attendance bonus, etc.).

Can An Employer Refuse An Employee’s Request For Leave?

The employer may deny an employee’s request for leave, subject to treaty provisions.

The employer’s refusal must be justified. It could be justified by factors such as continuity of service, high activity in the company, or exceptional circumstances.

The following dates and order of departure on leave must be fixed:

  • by agreement of undertaking or establishment or, if not, by agreement of branch,
  • or, in the absence of an agreement or agreement, by the employer after the Social and Economic Committee.

If the proposed dates are not accepted, the leave will have to be taken at a later date. The employer must notify the company’s employees of the period of leave taken two months before the start of the period. The order of leave departures is communicated to all employees via a billboard.

The employer is not permitted to change the dates or order of leave departures less than one month before the scheduled departure date. He or she must notify each employee individually of the refusal or agreement to leave requests. If the employer was aware of the employee’s leave dates and made no refusal, the employee does not commit fault for leaving in the absence of a response from the employer. 

In this case, the employee’s absence does not constitute a resignation from the position. An employee may request that all or a portion of his paid leave be taken in advance. However, the employer is under zero obligation to accept.

Please Keep In Mind

The employer may not deny the employee’s request if the employee is absent due to a family emergency (wedding or pacs, birth or adoption, death of family member).

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Can The Employee Take Paid Leave During Notice?

Employees may take paid time off during their notice period (termination, resignation, or retirement). The impact on notice varies depending on whether leave with pay was provided before or after notification.

Planned Prior To Notification Of Failure

When the employer has already validated the leave, the employee must take the leave on the scheduled dates. During an employee’s absence, notice is suspended.

The notice period will then be extended for the number of days of leave taken. If both the employee and the employer agree, the leave can be canceled, and the notice period is not extended. Vacation pay will be used to compensate for unpaid leave at the end of the notice period.

Planned After

Neither the employer nor the employee can compel the employee to take leave. It must be agreed upon by both the employee and the employer.

It is also agreed that the notice’s fate will be determined: suspended or not. It is preferable to finalize this agreement in writing to avoid litigation.

Closing Company For Paid Leave

Due to the company’s closure, the employee may be required to go on a leave of absence. In this case, the notice is not suspended, and thus the duration of the leave is not extended. The employee is entitled to the following benefits:

  • Compensation for the notice period he was unable to provide
  • Paid leave compensation based on the length of time the company is closed due to annual leave

Important Note

If the employee’s employment contract is breached while on leave, the notice period will begin at the end of the leave.

Can An Employee Carry Over Unused Vacation Days Into The Following Year?

General Case

It is possible to defer days of earned leave that were not used during the period of time off. This is only possible if the employer and the employee reach an agreement. Unless otherwise agreed in the company, the employer is not required to accept a request to defer leave. Days not taken are not lost if leave deferral is not possible. Unused leave can then be paid out in accordance with treaty provisions.

Please Keep In Mind

In the event of a return of maternity or adoption leave, the employee is entitled to a deferral of his unpaid leave. Deferral is also an option when an employee is unable to take leave due to illness.

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Annualized Work Time

A convention, collective company agreement, or extended branch agreement may provide for the postponement of leave days if the working time is changed.

Leave carry-overs are permitted in this case until December 31 of the year following the current year in which the period for taking such leave began.

Is The Employee’s Absence Taken Into Account When Calculating His Leave?

Certain periods of employee absence will be treated as actual working time. As a result, they are included in the calculation of the employee’s paid leave days, which is based on 2.5 business days per month of actual work (this is 30 working days per year). In contrast, if the absence does not represent actual working time, the total number of days of earned leave may be reduced.

Assimilated Periods

The following periods of absence must be factored into the actual working time:

Periods Not Assimilated

Except for more favorable treaty provisions, the periods not considered include:

Implications For Calculating The Number Of Days Of Earned Leave

An actual work month is defined as any period of four weeks or twenty-four days. It is not necessary to justify a full year of work in order to obtain all of the vacation days. To qualify for the 30 business days, you must justify 48 weeks of actual work (including assimilated absences) during the reference period. As a result, an employee who has accrued a maximum of four weeks of unassimilated absence during the reference period (for illness, for example) is entitled to 30 working days of annual leave per year.

If an employee is unable to justify a full year, he or she will be granted 2.5 working days of paid leave for each period:

  • Four weeks of actual work
  • Alternatively, if the calculation is more favorable, either 20 days of actual work (if the employee’s hours are spread over five days per week), 22 days (hours over five days 1/2 per week), or 24 days of actual work (hours over six days)

When the number of working days obtained is not an integer, the length of the leave is increased to the next higher integer.

How Can I Take Advantage Of The SNCF’s Annual Leave Ticket At A Reduced Rate?

The SNCF offers a reduced rate for the purchase of return train tickets for annual leave in France once a year. However, the benefit and use of these tickets are subject to conditions.

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You are eligible for annual leave if you are:

  • Employee (resident in France or abroad)
  • Public Service Officer
  • Home worker, artisan, and farmer (under certain conditions)
  • An applicant for an unemployment benefit
  • Professional Training Trainee
  • Retired and pre-retired, holder of a pension by social security (reversion, invalidity, minimum old age, etc.)

You can write the following on your ticket:

  • Husband or wife, and your children under 21
  • Father and/or mother (if the ticket holder is single and his parents live at home)

All travelers must pay the ticket price at the same time.


You can use the annual leave ticket only once a year, either as the ticket holder or as a companion to another ticket holder.

Reduction Rate

You can get a 25% annual discount on a return trip of at least 200 km.

The following prices are eligible for the discount:

  • Train tickets must be purchased, both on the Full Tariff Leisure and the Regulated Tariff.
  • Trains with or without reservations, on the standard fare of 2e class, excluding any add-ins regardless of class borrowed.

If at least half of the ticket is paid with holiday checks, the discount is 50%.

It will apply if all of the following conditions are met:

  • For trains that require a reservation, availability is subject to availability.
  • For any journey begun during the blue period of the traveler calendar, for trains with or without reservations,

When a portion of the journey is made in first class, two separate transportation tickets must be issued. In this case, the price of each of these transportation tickets shall be calculated independently of the other based on the distance traveled in each of the vehicle classes.


To obtain tickets, you must first complete the following steps:

  • Fill out the application form (available at any SNCF point of sale) and return it to an SNCF station at least 24 hours before your departure.
  • Attach any document that proves his right to the ticket (e.g., an employer’s certificate attesting to the nature of his employment and the granting of paid leave).
  • If the ticket includes more than one person, attach documents proving the beneficiary’s relationship with the other people on the ticket.

Use Of Ticket

The annual leave ticket is only valid for travel to France. The return journey must be completed by the 61st day after the outward journey. Stops are permitted en route, on the way out, and back. Non-used transportation tickets are refundable. The return journey will be refunded during the ticket’s validity period.

French Public Holidays: Important Dates In 2023    

Do you live in France? Here is a list of all the French public holidays in 2023, as well as other important dates to mark on your calendar.

Whether you live in France or are just visiting, here is a list of important French holidays to remember. For national holidays, many businesses in France close. However, some shopping malls and supermarkets may remain open on holidays, even if only for a half-day.

This section compiles a list of France’s public holidays and important dates to ensure you don’t miss anything important.

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Introduction To French Public Holidays

Every year, France observes 11 public holidays. However, only May Day is a holiday that stands out. It is a statutory holiday in France. Other paid holidays and working conditions on French national holidays (like higher pay) are left to the discretion of the employee-employer contract or union, so when looking for jobs in France, consult the French holiday calendar.

The majority of French holidays are observed throughout the country, with the exception of two regions (Alsace and Lorraine), which have two additional public holidays. When the former German territory rejoined France after World War I, it kept these two additional public holidays.

If a national holiday drops on a Sunday in France, the following Monday is usually designated as a holiday. If a national holiday falls on a Saturday, no extra day is granted during the week. When a holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday, French employees frequently take a bridge holiday (faire le pont), resulting in a very long weekend. Some businesses in France may choose to close completely during a bridge holiday. You can see which French bank holidays overlap with the best French festivals; it is also a great reason to visit France and learn about French food and culture.

The Biggest Holidays In France

All Saints Day (November 1) and Bastille Day (July 14) are the two most widely observed holidays in France (November 1). So, the first French national holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789 with communal fireworks, tricolor flags flying, and moules frites at the Mairie.

The second French holiday, La Toussaint or All Saints, is a more private affair in which families place flowers – most commonly known as chrysanthemums – on graves in honor of their deceased relatives before returning home for a large lunch. All Saints Day comes one day after Halloween, which is a somewhat contentious holiday in France. However, it is becoming increasingly popular as a holiday destination in France, particularly in the larger cities.

Bastille Day is one of the most crucial French holidays celebrated throughout the country. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are widely celebrated French holidays on the 24th and 25th of December, respectively, though in parts of northern and eastern France, children receive gifts on the morning of St Nicholas’ Day on December 6.

The following is a list of all French national holidays and important dates in 2023.

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Public Holidays In France In 2023

  • January 1 (Sunday): New Year’s Day (Jour de l’an)
  • April 7 (Friday): Good Friday – Alsace and Moselle
  • 10 April (Monday): Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques)
  • 1 May (Monday): Labor Day (FĂŞte du premier mai)
  • 8 May (Monday): World War II Victory Day (FĂŞte du huitième mai or Jour de la Victoire 45)
  • May 18 (Thursday): Ascension Day (Jour de l’Ascension, 40 days after Easter)
  • May 28 (Sunday): Whit Sunday
  • May 29 (Monday): Whit Monday – also known as Pentecost Monday (Lundi de PentecĂ´te)
  • 14 July (Friday): Bastille Day (FĂŞte nationale)
  • August 15 (Tuesday): Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)
  • November 1 (Wednesday): All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint)
  • November 11 (Saturday): Armistice Day (Jour d’armistice)
  • December 25 (Monday): Christmas Day (NoĂ«l)
  • 26 December (Tuesday): Boxing Day/Saint Stephen’s Day (Deuxième jour de NoĂ«l) – Alsace and Moselle/Lorraine

Important Dates In France In 2023

  • March 26 (Sunday): The clocks go forward one hour as daylight saving time starts
  • April 1 (Saturday): April Fool’s Day (Poisson d’Avril)
  • May 28 (Sunday): Mother’s Day (normally the last Sunday in May)
  • June 18 (Sunday): Father’s Day (the third Sunday in June)
  • October 29 (Sunday): The clocks go back one hour as daylight saving time ends

Holidays In France: Vocabulary

  • Holiday in French: jour fĂ©riĂ© (official days off of work), fĂŞte (religious holidays)
  • Holidays in French: Vacances (vacation)
  • To go on vacation: passer Les Vacances

Final Words

The French work approximately 1,500 hours per year on average. Only employees in the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, and Denmark work fewer hours among OECD members. However, the number of hours worked only tells part of the story. At the other end of the OECD rankings, workers in Greece work more than 2,000 hours per year, but their output generates far less value than that of most other European countries in terms of productivity. By this metric, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark outperform the majority of EU members, including Germany and the United Kingdom.