Expand Business in France

Global Upside helps businesses expand into France by providing talent acquisition, human resources, accounting, payroll, tax, incorporation, and professional employer organization (PEO)/employer of record (EOR) services. Our comprehensive offerings create an end-to-end solution that helps you establish your business and optimize your operations, all while maintaining compliance with French laws and regulations.

The hiring and incorporation processes in France are often complex, time-consuming, and involve numerous legal and compliance challenges. Global Upside simplifies these processes and lifts the compliance burden from your business. Our teams have the experience and expertise required to help you establish a legal entity in France. We also offer PEO/EOR solutions to companies interested in hiring employees quickly, without setting up a legal entity in the country.

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Country Overview

France is located in western Europe and has a population of over 67 million people. The country is the most important agricultural producer in Europe and a global forerunner in the industrial power sector. Tourism is also a vital component of the French economy.

The French federal government guarantees its citizens free basic amenities such as education, healthcare, and pension plans. France has been classified as a high-income and wealthy nation by the World Bank.

  • At present, services are the chief contributor to the nation’s economy, with over 70% of GDP generating from this sector. France is one of the global leaders in manufacturing – aerospace, automotive, and railway sectors including luxury goods, and cosmetics.
  • France primarily exports vehicles, aircraft, food products (wine), pharmaceutical products, electronic and hydrocarbon components.
  • France essentially imports crude petroleum, refined petroleum, and vehicle parts.

Legal Entity Setup

In France, many foreign companies are permitted to operate via branch offices or subsidiaries.

Branch Office

A branch office is a dependent entity registered under the parent company. Since it does not enjoy legal entity status, internal policies are to be followed. All obligations must be taken care of by the parent company. The branch must be registered at the Regional Register of Commerce and Companies.


A subsidiary is a single entity and needs to get registered under the Registre du Commerce et des Societes. There are two kinds of subsidiaries:

  1. Private Limited Liability Company – any small to mid-size business can register as a PLLC. The maximum number of shareholders is 100. There is no minimum share capital required.
  2. Joint-Stock Company – a joint-stock company is formed when a minimum of seven founders come together. The share capital must be at least €37,000. Larger companies usually opt for this kind of establishment.

It takes at least 2-4 weeks to establish a legal entity in France, depending on the type of entity.

Human Resources

According to the French labor laws, there are two kinds of employment contracts, open term contracts (contrat à durée indéterminée) and fixed-term contracts (contrat a durée déterminée). The law states that for both types of contracts, it is mandatory to mention:

  • Name of both the employer and employee in full
  • Job title, duties, and responsibilities
  • Contract duration
  • Work location
  • Remuneration details
  • Probation period
  • Working roster and leave details

There are 11 statutory national holidays in France and they are:

  • Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
  • Easter Monday
  • May 1: Labor Day
  • May 8: End of World War II
  • Ascension (40 days after Easter Sunday)
  • Whit Monday (Pentecost)
  • July 14: Bastille Day
  • Assumption
  • Nov. 1: All Saint’s Day
  • Nov. 11: Remembrance Day
  • Dec. 25: Christmas


France does not have a fixed rule regarding wage payment days, however, agreement on collective bargaining is mandatory.


The accounting requirements that companies must maintain compliance with are dictated by French accounting standards.

Tax & Compliance

Corporate Tax

The corporate tax in France is 28% if company’s turnover is less than EUR 250 million and is applicable to the first EUR 500,000; 31% if turnover equals to or is more than EUR 250 million.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

The VAT rate is 20% on goods and services and the reduced rates are 5.5% and 10%.

Data Privacy

The collection and usage of personal data is controlled by the Personal Data Protection Act, PDPA.

In May of 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in France. This regulation states that data of employees can only be collected for legal matters. Any disregard or infringement on GDPR statutes will result in severe penalties and fines of up to €1.5 million.

Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption Law

The anti-bribery and anti-corruption law in France is known as the Sapin II Law. This law is France’s own version of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977.

The French Penal Code distinguishes the act of bribery into two categories:

  • Bribery – inappropriate use of power associated with one’s role or function
  • Influence Peddling – incorrect use of an official’s power to accomplish a task

Both the above-mentioned classes of bribery are punishable offenses and will result in financial penalties.