French Employee Handbook

Hi everyone 

I am an HR Assistant working for a software company in Glasgow, we have several employees based worldwide. I am currently putting together an employee handbook for our French employees and i'm struggling to find French Labour Laws in English online! During my research I have come across the French Labour code (Code du Travail) which appears to cover all aspects of French employment law, however, I can only access it in French.

Has anyone come across any free online resources or an English version of the Code du Travail? 

Any tips or information would be useful, Thanks in advance! 



  • Hi Lindsay, and welcome. 

    I don't know any such resource, and can only suggest you may need to use lawyers with the relevant expertise.  I have, some years ago, used this firm who I would use again. 


    In the nicest possible way, it will be impossible for you to do this without perfect French and considerable experience. Best to get an expert involved.

    Best wishes.



  • Lindsay, welcome to the forums. Here's a relatvely long reply, but there iisn't a short way of putting it.

    One of the major differences between UK law and french law (including labour law) is in their philosophical origins. UK law is constructed around underlying legal principles, case-law, precedents and "acting reasonably". French law is built around a codified approach to everything, where do's and don'ts, must's and must not's are set out in the greatest detail -when new situations arise new paragraphs are added to the law.

    Similarly very detailed sector-wide collective agreements - negociated with unions who typîcally represent 6-7% of the workforce (but who are legally the only people with whom you can negotiate) - are wholly unreadable for the people to whom they are applied. What most companies do is to refer staff to the specific articles of labour law or the collective agreement, and then produce internal procedures on differnt matters so that people understand how it works in their company.

    This means that in France the UK notion of an employment handbook is not really part of the landscape, and that to produce such a document is likely to create binding commitments - even if there was no intention to do so. Put extremely simply, a labour court (les prud'hommes) will consider that if a company sets something down in writing it is there for a purpose and must be complied with - even if a rider has been inserted (in the good old UK manner) saying that the document is for information only and is not contractually binding - the labour courts would say "why have you produced it, if it has no value?"

    To respond more broadly, people produce "staff handbooks" for various purposes, depending on the intended purpose and recipients  - staff, managers, UK HR administrators who would like to know "how we do things in our company" ....

    Why do you want to produce the document and for whom?