Has a solution been found for ‘nightmare’ French payslips?

A French startup has promised an end to the "nightmare" of the French payslip after reinventing the entire system, the company's CEO tells The Local.

If you've ever looked at a French payslip, you'll be familiar with the headaches. Endless rows and columns of numbers, proving an enigma for most workers in France, French and foreign alike.
The “bulletin de paie”, as French payslips are called, are complex, due to the the sheer number of laws and agreements in France that shape the relationship between employers and employees.
But this could be set to change, according to Firmin Zocchetto, the CEO of Payfit, a company that's just raised half a million euros in funding. 
“It's a nightmare for small and medium-sized businesses in France to run their own payrolls, it's incredibly complex,” he told The Local. 
“When you ask small businesses running their own payrolls, 99 percent will tell you that it's horrible and complicated. And we wanted to do the impossible and try and solve it.” 
Thanks to a team of “software engineer geeks” and payroll experts, the team at Payfit claims to have “reinvented everything” and built a whole new programme for companies to run their payslips automatically at two to four times cheaper than their competitors' prices.
All it takes is an interview with Payfit, and no need for inputting lots of data like with other software. 
“It's a whole lot less risky due to payroll automation, meaning there's no chance of human error – and it's more fun,” Zocchetto said.
The product is currently in Beta version, aiming for a full launch in April this year. And it couldn't come soon enough, according to Zocchetto.
“People are very excited, there's a real need for this and people have been waiting for something like this a long time,” he said. 
Few would disagree.
The French pay slip can stretch to forty lines of text and lists numerous specific deductions and figures that just look like gobbledygook at first glance.
There are “coefficient” and “Siret” numbers, mentions of “convention collectifs”, figures for “cumul brut” and “cumul imposable”… indeed, there are figures all over the place.
Then there's the list of the all the “social charges” that are deducted from your salary, such as for “Assurance Chomage Tranche A” and “Assurance Chomage Tranche B”.
While it might be a good idea to see exactly where your hard-earned money is going, you're not quite sure in which pot it is going, and you get the impression you’ll have nothing left by the time you reach the “Net a Payer” section in the bottom right corner.
A recent study by a multinational firm found that that the average payslip in France was 40 lines long. In Germany it was 15 lines long, compared to 14 in the US and 11 in China.
A government report in July last year concluded that the country needs to simplify the system, which it intends to do over the next few years. 
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How to get a summer job in France

As the summer holidays approach in France, many employers are looking for seasonal workers - so if you're looking for a summer job, here's how to go about it.

How to get a summer job in France

There are thousands of employment offers in France – a simple internet search for jobs d’été came up with numerous jobs boards offering work in France, while the government-backed Centre d’Information et de Documentation pour la Jeunesse (CIDJ) offers advice and information on all aspects of life for young people in France, including finding seasonal work and summer placements.

Sectors including agriculture, hospitality and tourism are always recruiting in the summer, seeking fruit-pickers, holiday camp workers and serving/hotel staff.

But what are the rules for people seeking summer jobs?

READ ALSO Vendange: What you really sign up for when you agree to help with the French wine harvest


Children from the age of 16 (under certain circumstances, the age limit drops to 14) who are legally resident in France can work as long as they have written authorisation from their parents or legal guardians. A model authorisation letter is available here

Those under the age of 18 cannot undertake certain jobs for health and safety reasons.

In the following circumstances, children as young as 14 or 15 can work during school holidays.

  • The holidays must last at least 14 days;
  • The child must work no more than half the days of the holiday – so, if a vacation period is two weeks, they can work for no more than one of those weeks;
  • The child is given ‘light duties’ that offer no risk to their safety, health, or development;
  • From the age of 15 and if the child has completed their troisieme education, a minor can register for an apprenticeship. 


Salary is usually paid monthly and will have a payslip. For those aged 18 and over, pay will be at least equal to the minimum wage.

 For those aged 14 to 17, who have less than six months’ professional experience, the minimum allowed rate is 80 percent of the minimum wage. For those aged 17 to 18, the rate rises to a minimum of 90 percent of France’s minimum wage.

  • The minimum wage in France is currently €10.85 gross per hour (€1,645.58 gross per month based on a 35-hour week);
  • the employment contract is fixed-term and can take different forms (fixed-term contract, seasonal employment contract, temporary employment contract, etc);
  • Seasonal employees are subject to the same obligations as the other employees of the company and have access to the same benefits (canteens, breaks, etc.).

Under 18s have certain additional protections:

  • between the ages of 14 and 16, during school holidays, employees on any contract cannot work more than 35 hours per week nor more than 7 hours per day;
  • They cannot work at night;
  • Those aged 14 to under 16 working during their school holidays can only be assigned to work which is not likely to harm their safety, their health or development.

Right to work in France

If you’re a French citizen or hold permanent residency in France then you have the right to work, but for foreigners there are extra restrictions.

Anyone who holds the passport of a EU/EEA country or Switzerland, is free to work in France or to travel to France seeking work without needing a visa or work permit.

Most other people will need permission to work in France – even if it’s only for a short period or for casual work such as grape-picking. Depending on your country of origin you may need a visa – everything you need to know about that is here.

In addition to the visa, you may also need a work permit, which is the responsibility of the employer.  To employ anyone in France for less than 90 days, an employer must get a temporary work permit – before the prospective employee applies for a short stay visa. This permit is then sent to the embassy at which the employee is applying for a visa.

If you come from countries including the UK, USA and Canada you can spend up to 90 days in France without a visa – but you may still need a work (convention d’accueil) if you want to work while you are here.

READ ALSO Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in France

Certain countries have specific ‘seasonal worker’ visas on offer, for certain sectors which allows – for example – Canadians to come to France and work the ski season. 

Cash-in-hand jobs

Certain sectors which have a lot of casual workers – for example seasonal fruit-picking – do have cash-in-hand jobs, known in France as marché noir (black market) or simply travail au black (working on the black, or working illegally). 

This is of course illegal and working this way carries risks – as well as the possibility of losing your job if labour inspectors turn up you are also in a vulnerable position. If your employer suddenly decides not to pay you, or make unexpected deductions from your wages, there is very little you can do about it since you won’t have any kind of work contract.