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The little-known French rule that gives employees the right to a wages advance

Employees in France who receive a monthly salary are legally entitled to receive an early deposit on their pay in case of emergency expenses or a threatening overdraft situation.

The little-known French rule that gives employees the right to a wages advance
Photo: Scott Graham / Unsplash

We’ve all faced them. A middle-of-the-month expense like the car or washing machine breaking down catastrophically that pushes the finances dangerously into the red. 

These are situations that can cause untold worry and stress.

But, in France, all is not lost. All employees in France can demand advanced payment of part of their salary – subject to certain rules, including when you can receive your money.

Under article L3242-1 of the Labour Code, employers must accept an employee’s first request for a payday advance. Further downpayments on a salary may be refused in most circumstances.

READ ALSO The perks and benefits that employees in France enjoy

It’s important to understand that the payment is not strictly an ‘advance’. It’s payment for work already done that is normally paid-for later eg if you’ve already worked for the first two weeks of the month and you don’t usually get paid until the end of the month, you can receive payment straight away for the two weeks that you’ve already done.

Not every employee is eligible. Seasonal, intermittent or temporary employees not paid monthly cannot access this early salary scheme – nor can any employee who works from home.

But the policy is open to other workers whether they are on a fixed-term CDD or long-term CDI contract.

Claims cannot be made until the 15th day of work between payments, and the maximum amount that can be requested is half the monthly salary – because the deposit is an early payment for work already done.

So, for example, a worker normally paid on the 30th of the month could ask for half their monthly salary to be transferred to their bank account on the 15th. Any payment of €1,500 or less can be requested in cash.

Employees are not required to explain their reasons for requesting early payment of their salary, and the request can be made face-to-face, but it is preferable to formalise the request with a letter or email, so there is a paper trail of sorts – though the early transfer should be recorded on the end-of-month payslip.

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