Paid Leave: French Law Will Finally Comply With European Law

French law is at odds with European law on several points concerning paid leave. The French Labor Code stipulates that paid leave entitlements are calculated based on actual time worked.

As a result, an employee who is sick does not, except in exceptional circumstances, acquire days of paid leave during their absence from work. This provision is contrary to European law.

On September 13, 2023, the French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) finally put an end to this contradiction by ruling that, during sick leave, employees acquire paid vacation days, regardless of the duration of their absence.

The French government will study the financial and other consequences of this decision, with employers’ unions concerned about the cost to companies.

The French Supreme Court considers that an employee who goes on parental leave without having exhausted his paid leave entitlement loses it. This position was contrary to European standards.

French law had to be brought into line with European law, and now provides that paid leave not taken before parental leave is not lost and can be taken after the parental leave (law of March 9, 2023).

However, on September 13, 2023, the French Supreme Court ruled that this also applied to the period before the law’s publication. As a result, all employees are now entitled to any paid leave not taken prior to parental leave.

Marie-Cécile de la Chapelle
Attorney at Law