The French Labour Code states that the duration of annual leave is 2.5 working days per month of effective work with the same employer, without exceeding 30 working days per year. All employees are entitled to annual leave, regardless if they have a fixed-term or indefinite term contract or whether they work full time or part time working hours.
The law also provides for the granting of additional days of paid leave for events such as birth of a child, marriage, sickness of a child, death of a close relative or professional training.
In addition, companies should check the provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which may provide for additional paid vacations, for example, per year of seniority or for employees with young children.
Provisions from the French Labour Code and the CBA constitute the basic compulsory requirements that all companies should apply. Of course, the employer is not prevented from going beyond the legal minimum and making more favorable arrangements.
On the one hand, the company may have recourse to collective bargaining to increase the duration of paid leave. It is possible to use objective criteria such as age, seniority or disability. This solution is particularly suitable for companies with a trade union delegate or a social and economic committee to negotiate company-wide collective agreements. It also has the advantage of providing a unified system for all employees of the company and to be an opportunity to settle all issues related to paid leave.
On the other hand, each employee can individually negotiate additional paid leave days in his employment contract. The interest would be to reserve the benefit of additional days off to certain employees only, but subject to the respect of equal treatment.
Indeed, in both cases, whether the company negotiates a collective agreement or negotiates with each employee individually, attention must be paid to the principle of equal treatment, according to which two employees in the same situation must receive the same benefit.
For example, it has been ruled that the mere difference in professional category (executives/non-executives) cannot in itself justify, for the allocation of additional paid vacations to the company's executives only, a difference in treatment between employees placed in an identical situation with regard to the said benefit, as this difference must be based on objective reasons, the reality and relevance of which must be verified by the judge.