Working Hours France [Myths & Realities] 2023

Working Hours France

 Work time is a highly regulated phenomena in France. 

There are 35 standard hours of employment in France workweek with 7 working hours per day and 5 days per week. The typical working hours in France last from around 8 in the morning to 4 in the evening including an uncompensated lunch hour.

Overtime compensation is necessary for hours worked beyond this limit. Yet, this may differ depending on the agreements of the companies. The working law is very relentless in France with proper rules of overtime, maximum hours, break rights, weekend rest, and extra shifts.

Working Hours France  2023

The French work week is officially dictated by French labor law as 35 hours weekly. However, this may contradict from firm to firm. The hours worked above this limit are regarded as overtime and are paid as such. The employment terms are based on the industry’s contract. Employers are not allowed to take more than 44 hours of labor per week, and 10 hours per day.

Maximum Working Hours In France

Maximum Working Hours In France

The maximum amount of time one can work in France is 10 hours a day, which means the maximum working hours in France are 44 hours per week. No employee is allowed to cross this limit unless there’s an agreement in place.

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Part-time Working Hours In France

Part-time in France is considered as any laboring for less than 35 hours a week. Part-time workers are not permitted to perform less than 24 hours per week. This time period can be waived in particular situations. The employees can exceed their working hours but within the given limits.

France Working Hours After 6 pm

Although, the typical working hours are 8 or 9 am to 4 or 5 pm in France. But, there is an exception to working beyond these hours too. The work above these hours is considered overtime and is paid accordingly. However, it has been taken sight to make it illegal to work after 6 pm to protect laborers from exploitation. It is reported that the rule forbids employees from checking emails or computers for work after6 pm. It is also to ensure their rest and health.

Working At Night

The collective bargaining agreement permitted night labor between 9 PM to 6 AM. An 8-hour duration per day and 40 hours per week are limited. It offers monetary compensation and paid leave for the accomplished night work. Night workers are the employees working between 12 to 6 am for more than 270 hours per year. Pregnant women working night shifts are given working hours during the day throughout their pregnancy.

Working In Evening

Businesses that employee workers during these hours are treated as special cases. The retail businesses falling in the international tourist zones are allowed to remain open from 9 pm to 12 am. The labor working at these hours is provided with conveyance from work to home. Moreover, they are paid twice as much for their evening work.

Working Hours in France Per Week

Working Hours France Per Week France average work week hours calculated per week are around 35. This incorporates working five days a week and almost 7 hours a day. The hours worked beyond this limit are considered as overtime and should be paid as such. Every employee working more than 6 hours daily gets a twenty-minute break. The Law has also allowed the right for employees to take leave during the week. There are paid leaves, sick leaves, maternity, paternity leaves, etc.

Average Working Week In France

Compared to the last two years, the average number of hours per week spent on the main jobs stayed roughly the same at 36 hours. It has not much fluctuated over the period of time. The employers are needed to provide time-tracking obligations for their employees, and are penalized for not doing so.

Working on Sundays in France

Working on Sundays in France is strictly forbidden by the law. However, it is exceptional for work industries fulfilling people’s everyday demands such as pharmacies, entertainment, and food spots.

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France 35-hour Work Myths And Realities 

France 35-hour Work Week

The 35- hour work week has been part of French society since more than two decades. The law was adopted in February 2000 in order to increase employment. It’s considered good by some and rigid by others. Working only 35 hours a week gives the employees relaxation and self time whereas it also takes away the opportunity to work over time and earn more.

However, there are employees in France working more than 35 hours a week. It is also illegal for French employers to get labor on weekends. So, it is the legal working time limit but is not the standard in France. People are working for around 39-40 hours weekly too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the working in France

How long is the weekend in France?

The weekend in France is usually referred to as the off days on Saturday and Sunday (Samedi and Dimanche in French). However, it’s not always the case as some people have to work and some students have to take classes on Saturdays too. Though, it is officially illegal to work on Sundays.

What time does work start in Paris?

A typical work day in Paris starts at around 9 am and ends around 4 pm. The normal work hours per day are around 7 to 10 hours which also include lunch break hours. The 35-hour work week is a myth for many industries as people are working beyond this 35-hour limit too.

Does France have a 4-day work week?

France does not have an overall 4-day work week. However, many companies are trying it out now, joining those who already embraced it years ago as a solution to a 35-hour work week. The idea is more likely to be adopted completely in the next decade.

How long is a lunch break in France?

The standard lunch break time given to employees in France is about 1 hour. The French love to take leisure time to enjoy their food peacefully. The break can sometimes be as long as 2 hours. The labor move from their desk to office canteens or sidewalk cafes.

Can employees work overtime in France?

work overtime France

Yes, French law has allowed the employer to take overtime work from each employee. But the over time has a limit as agreed in the applicable collective agreement. Any hour worked above the legal 35 hour limit is considered over time and should be paid accordingly.


The French laws regarding their work hours are very fine. The government has given official legal work-hour limits for employees that are necessary to be followed by both employers and labors. There are strict law penalties for not following these work limits.

JD Lipton