Posted employee or employer without establishment?

When a foreign company send an employee to work in France it has 2 possibilities. A posted employee or the ESEF system.

Posted employee “Salarié détaché”

A foreign employee can be sent by a foreign company to work in France. In this case for the employee to be considered as posted the company must:

  • Keep a relationship of subornation with its employee
  • Normally exercise an activity in the employer’s country

The employee must also:

  • Be a member of the EU
  • Be hired by the company for at least one month

If all the conditions are fulfilled the employee can be posted in France.

The standard duration of a secondment cannot exceed 24 month. Special agreement can be granted for longer periods.

When an employee is posted in France he can keep his original social security and not be subject to the French social security.

To do so he and the company must fill in an A1 form. This form is to be approved by the original social security of the employee. He is then subject to his original social security for the duration of the secondment.

In this case neither the employee nor the employer are subject to the French social security and no contributions are to be paid in France. The employee is kept in the roll of his foreign employer where is social contributions are paid.

As the employee his working in France he is subject to income tax in France.

In the case of a secondment, no pay slip is mandatory.

Employer without establishment in France “ESEF”

A foreign company can have an employee in France without setting up a company or a branch in France. The company then become an employer without establishment in France.

To do so the company must be registered to the French social security URSSAF by filling in an E0 form. The company then become an ESEF.

When an ESEF hire an employee (foreign or French national) the employment is subject to the French labor law. This implies that the employment contract between the company and the employee must be a French employment contract.

The employer and the employee are also subject to the social security and all the related contributions. The mandatory contributions include:

  • Social security (paid to the URSSAF)
  • Employment (paid to the URSSAF)
  • Legal retirement (paid to the URSSAF)
  • Complementary retirement (paid to HUMANIS)
  • Life and health insurance (paid to the insurance of your choice)
  • Professional training tax (paid to the training body you are registered to)

In the ESEF system a pay slip, quarterly and yearly declarations are mandatory.

What system should I choose?

Your choice between sending a posted employee and being an employer without establishment will depend on the goal of your activity in France.

A posted employee is a temporary solution for a specific job or operation taking place in France. It is limited in time and it cannot apply to French employees.

An ESEF is a more lasting solution. It has no time limitation. Also this system allows hiring a French employee. The cost is to be subject to the French labor and social security laws and contributions.

Due to the Brexit the posted employee system may not be available very long for UK companies.

Source :


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