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Employment Law Basics: France

Employment Law Basics: France
Product Code - INAU01
Speaker(s): Nathalie Devernay, Attorney, Bird & Bird
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Bienvenue!  Doing business in France can be both pleasant and very profitable. A competitive location and gateway to the world (especially towards Eastern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle-East), France has been attracting international companies for years. Located on Europe’s main North-South roadway, France features a highly developed transport network as well as a sophisicated telecommunications infrastructure. Moreover, companies can easily find the qualified personnel they need, proficient in foreign languages and adaptable to an international environment.

However, non-French employers are often reluctant to hire French employees because of a supposedly very strict labor legislation and a high exposure to labor litigation.

French law does take a very protective approach toward the employee. Avoiding pitfalls is not always easy,  but a general understanding of the French labor system is already a good start in becoming a confident and successful employer in France. 

Join Bird & Bird attorney Nathalie Devernay, live form Lyon, France, as she explains:

  • How can I hire an employee in France? (different types of contracts)
  • What are the basic mandatory rules for any employer? (minimum wage, working time, holidays, health and safety, diversity...)
  • What powers and influence do unions and employee representatives have in France?
  • How can I terminate an employee in France?
  • What are the risks in case of non compliance with the French labor rules?
  • Common pitfalls and how to avoid them


  • Useful employment tools in times of economic slow-down

Nathalie Devernay, Attorney, Bird & Bird

Nathalie Devernay
 is a French-American lawyer working for the law firm Bird & Bird in France (Lyon). She was admitted to the Lyon Bar in 2004. She holds a French postgraduate diploma in business and employment law (DESS-DJCE) as well as a Master of Trilingual Business Lawyer (JTA), after spending a year in Berlin (Germany). After 4 years spent with a major French lawfirm, Nathalie joined the law firm Bird & Bird in 2009 as a member of the International HR and Employment group. As a native speaker of French and English, Nathalie advises companies in both individual and collective employment law matters, such as contracts of employment and internal regulations, termination issues and compensation schemes. She also regularly advises on international mobility, transfers of employees, corporate transactions and restructuring plans, including cross border matters. Nathalie also assists clients before French courts in litigations related to employment issues.