Employees on a permanent contract may terminate the contractual relationship with their employer without explaining their reasons. If they decide to terminate the employment contract on their own initiative, it is considered a resignation.
Where the contract is terminated by mutual consent, a contract termination agreement may be signed to provide certain safeguards to the employee. See our dedicated fact sheet.
This fact sheet deals with the resignation of employees on a permanent contract with a company based in France. Certain procedures must be followed. Follow the guidance provided!
Do you have a fixed-term contract and wish to resign?
Employees on a fixed-term contract may terminate their employment contract in the cases expressly provided for in the French Labor Code, for example if they have received an offer of permanent employment. See our fact sheet on terminating a fixed-term contract.
The term “resignation” refers exclusively to the voluntary termination of a permanent contract by an employee. Where a fixed-term contract is concerned, the appropriate term is “early termination” of the employment contract.
Notifying the employer
No specific procedure is imposed. Employees may notify their employer either in writing or in person.
However, it must be clear that the employee wishes to resign. The employer cannot simply assume so based on the employee’s behavior.
It is common for resigning employees to send a letter of resignation to their employer.
The employer acknowledges receipt of the resignation letter and sets out the terms and conditions of the contract termination in a letter to the employee (notice period, documents to be provided at the end of the contract, etc.).
Before leaving the company, the employee must observe a notice period.
This notice period may be provided for in the collective agreement applicable to the company, or in the employment contract (where it may be shorter than that stipulated in the collective agreement). Otherwise, the notice period customarily required in the profession in question will apply.
The digital labor code website created by the Ministry for Labor features a simulation tool that will tell you the notice of resignation period specified in the collective agreement. Allow one or two minutes for the simulation to complete
In some cases, the notice period does not have to be observed. For example:
- If the employer voluntarily waives the notice period. In this case, the employee will receive a payment in lieu of notice equal to the salary they would have received had they worked through the notice period.
- If the employee asks their employer to waive the notice period and the latter agrees. In this case, the employee will not receive a payment in lieu of notice.
- If the collective agreement applicable to the company exempts resigning employees from observing the notice period.
- In the event of resignation during pregnancy or for the purpose of raising a child.
- In the event of resignation following business start-up leave.
Employees are entitled to a payment in lieu of paid leave if they have been unable to take all their leave before the contract termination date.
Employees who resign are not, in principle, eligible for the back-to-work allowance (Allocation de retour à l’emploi – ARE), since only those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own are entitled to unemployment benefits.
However, in some cases, the national employment agency (Pôle Emploi) may consider the resignation legitimate, thus entitling the employee to compensation.
These cases are set out in the Unemployment Insurance Convention and Agreements and, subject to conditions, may apply to persons who can provide proof that they:
- Have moved house (to accompany their spouse, civil partner, etc.).
- Have resigned from a new job (following a redundancy).
- Have left their job to complete a training course that leads to a qualification.
- Plan to set up or take over a business.
- Plan to enroll in a vocational retraining program.
- Are engaged in a civic service or volunteering activity.
Click here to check how to substantiate the legitimacy of a resignation on the French government’s website.
To go further
Impact on right of residence
All nationals of non-EU and non-EEA countries – with the exception of Switzerland and the United Kingdom – who wish to live and work in France for more than three months must have a residence permit.
Where a foreign employee is considered to have lost their job through no fault of their own, their situation will depend on the type of residence permit they have.
Holders of a residence permit authorizing the exercise of any professional activity
The residency rights of persons whose residence permit authorizes them to engage in any professional activity will not be affected by the termination of their employment contract. This includes persons with a temporary or multi-year “private and family life” residence permit, a “family member of a European national” resident permit, a permanent residence permit, a “(family) talent passport”, etc.
Holders of a temporary residence permit for employees
- If the interested party finds a job before their residence permit renewal date, their new employer must apply for a work permit.
- If they are unable to find a job before their residence permit renewal date, their application to renew their residence permit will be rejected in the event of voluntary termination of employment.
However, if the resignation is considered legitimate and the interested party is eligible for unemployment benefits, their residence permit will be renewed.
Holders of a general multi-year residence permit for employees may engage in any salaried professional activity without observing any particular formalities.
Holders of a “Talent Passport” multi-year residence permit
- If the interested party finds a job before their residence permit renewal date:
- Prior to the end of the second year of validity of the residence permit, the new employer must consult the Prefecture that issued the residence permit. If the holder no longer meets the conditions for granting a “Talent Passport”, they must apply to change their status at the Prefecture.
- If they find a job after the end of the second year, a “Talent Passport” for skilled employees or a European Blue Card will allow them to engage in any salaried activity subject to compliance with the conditions of issuance. Failing this, a change of status will be necessary.
- If they are unable to find a job before their residence permit renewal date, then they will no longer meet the conditions for granting a residence permit and it will therefore not be renewed. However, if the resignation is considered legitimate and the interested party is eligible for unemployment benefits, their residence permit will be renewed.