What is the change? France has imposed extensive documentation requirements on foreign employers who send employees under detachment status to France. The requirements affect foreign employees working at French subsidiaries as well as those making client visits to French companies. The changes cover all employees from outside France, including those from EU countries.

What does the change mean? Employers sending employees on assignment in France must appoint a legal representative in France to act as the liaison between the employer and the French Labour Inspectorate. Employers are required to provide a letter naming a legal representative for each employee they send. French host companies are required to keep numerous documents available for possible inspection, including copies of the letter of appointment, prior detachment declarations filed with the labor authorities and, where applicable, work permits for non-EU nationals.

  • Implementation time frame: The new rules are outlined in a March 30 decree that provides guidelines on the implementation of a law passed on July 10, 2014.
  • Who is affected: Employers outside France sending employees under detachment status to France; French host companies.
  • Business impact: The requirements add new administrative procedures for businesses both outside and inside France.
  • Next steps: Employers should make sure they are complying with the new requirements, should review internal procedures and put appropriate recordkeeping practices in place. Employers with questions about the requirements should contact a BAL attorney.

Background: French labor authorities are tightening oversight of all foreign assignees, including intra-company transfers, service providers and others temporarily posted to France while remaining on their home payroll.

Employers sending employees to France must make sure a number of employment and pay records are either kept on site (for companies with branch offices in France) or by their legal representative (for companies sending employees for client visits). The documents that must be kept and made available for inspection include copies of employee contracts; work permits, if the employee is a non-EU national; medical certificates, which, for non-EU employers, must be obtained in France from a recognized labor medical center; proof of compliance with social insurance laws; timesheets; documents certifying actual payment of wages, e.g., wire transfers or copies of paychecks; documents providing justification of business activities; documents certifying the number of contracts performed and the company’s total revenue in its home country as well as in France; and, in cases where the assignment is at least one month, pay slips. The pay slips should include information about wages, premium pay and holiday pay, paid leave remunerations and whether the employee is covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Host companies are required to keep copies of the prior detachment declaration filed with the labor authorities with jurisdiction over the workplace, a copy of the French work permit if the employee is a non-EU national, and a copy of the letter designating a representative for the company in France.

BAL Analysis: Employers should make sure they are in compliance with the new requirements. Penalties for noncompliance include the possibility of fines for both sending and host companies. The new rules are complex and employers with questions should contact a BAL attorney.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in France. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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