Bank Holidays in the French Payroll

In France there are 11 bank holidays

  • The 1st of January (New year)
  • The Easter Monday (the 28th of March in 2016)
  • The 1st of May (Labor lay)
  • The 8th of May (2nd world war victory)
  • The Ascension (the 5th of May in 2016)
  • The With Monday (the 16th of May in 2016)
  • The 14th off July (National day)
  • The 15th of August (Assumption day)
  • The 1st of November (All saints day)
  • The 11th of November (End of the 1st world war)
  • The 25th of December (Christmas)

In Alsace-Moselle, the 26 of December is also a bank holiday, and some collective bargaining agreement can add other days to this list.

Rest on a bank holiday

By law resting on a bank holiday is not mandatory (except for workers under 18 years old).

However, it is very common by usage or collective bargaining agreement that the bank holidays be nonworking days.

Payment of a rested bank holidays

For employees of more than 3 months of seniority, not working on a bank holiday cannot cause a diminution of the salary.

FPExpert advice

In over 15 years of experience, never have I seen a rested bank holiday not be paid because the employee had less the 3 months of seniority. Even though it is legal it is never done.


Payment of a worked bank holiday

Contrary to popular believe, the hours worked on a bank holiday are not paid double.

By law a worked bank holiday is paid as a normal day.

However, a lot of collective bargaining agreement state otherwise. In this case the worked bank holiday is paid in compliance with the agreement.

The 1st of May

The 1st of May is a special bank holiday. It is the only bank holiday that must be rested.

The only exceptions to this rule are for activities that cannot be stopped (hospitals, hotels, farming,…)

The solidarity day

Since the 2003 heat wave, the employer is paying a solidarity tax. In compensation for this tax the employee how to the employer one additional day of work.

This means that the employee must work during one bank holiday.

This bank holiday is chosen by the employer. It cannot be the 1st of May which must be unworked. The day is then considered as a normal day of work.

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