If you’re thinking about getting a job in France in any field, one of the first things you should look at is the convention collective that applies to your new position.
A convention collective is basically a collective bargaining agreement between the professionals in your area of work. Different conventions collectives apply to different areas of business, and even within one field, there can be different convention collectives based on the region of France you live in, the type of company you work in, and even your specific job within the company.
Conventions collectives were officially legalized in France in 1950, and it was a way for unions to earn more favorable working conditions for their employees throughout France. While conventions collectives originally applied only to the groups that wrote them, they now apply equally to all employees in a specific area. This means that you don’t have to unionize or sign anything in order for a convention collective to apply to you and your job.
A convention collective governs everything from the amount of vacation time you have in a year to how overtime is counted and paid, so it’s an important part of your work contract. By law, the convention collective has to be more favorable to the employees than the Code de Travail, the French legal code that governs employment in France. And if there’s ever a contradiction between the Code de Travail and the Convention Collective, the “rule of favorability” determines what rule applies to your situation. This means that whichever provision is more favorable to the employee – the Code de Travail or the Convention Collective – will apply in all situations.
Your employer is required to specify which convention collective applies to your position on your French payslip, and they’re also required to have a copy available in the office for consultation. No matter what job you have, you should download a copy of your convention collective and read it at the beginning of your employment.
Also, because there can be various conventions collectives even within the same field, you should make sure to do this every time you get a new job. It’s possible that moving from one company to another in the same field and in the same city will change your convention collective.
If you’d like to consult your convention collective without your employer knowing, it’s also very easy to get a copy online.
1) Look at your payslip to find your convention collective.
2) Go to LegiFrance and search for your convention collective using the search box. You can download a PDF copy.
3) Use the ctrl+f option to search the very long PDF document for whatever it is you’re looking for.
Some common things the convention collective will cover:
- préavis: if you’re leaving your job and want to know how much notice to give
- heures supplémentaires: if you want to know how overtime is paid
- congé de maternité / congé décès: if you’re having a baby or if there’s a death in the family, the convention collective will tell you how much leave you’ll get.
Are you working in France? Do you know what convention collective applies to your job?