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Average salaries and minimum wage in France

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Find out all you need to know about the minimum pay in France as well as the average income that you may anticipate earning as an ex-pat working in the nation.


If you want to work in France or even just attempt to negotiate a higher income for yourself, it is in your best interest to educate yourself about the wage structure that exists in the nation. You can also make sure that your compensation is commensurate with the standard for your job and the tasks it entails by looking into the collective agreements that are already in place within your sector.


The minimum wage in France


Those who make the minimum wage in France are referred to as "smicards," and the minimum wage in France is referred to as the salaire minimum interprofessional de croissance (SMIC). The SMIC may include not just the employee's base pay but also their perks in kind and any incentives for increased productivity. On the other hand, extra compensation for things like overtime work and other bonuses, as well as reimbursement of expenditures, does not go toward it.


The SMIC was established in 1950, and in 1952 it was indexed for the very first time against an increase in the price of a product. The government would raise the minimum wage if there was a 5% increase in the overall cost of living. Nevertheless, in the 1980s, Mitterrand amended this idea so that the minimum salary would be indexed to inflation. As a direct consequence of this, the development of the SMIC throughout the 1990s was sluggish. But with the implementation of new policies, the economy increased by a total of thirty percent between the years 1998 and 2005.


The gross minimum wage in France in 2022 is €10.57 per hour, whereas the equivalent hourly pay in the net market is €8.37. This means that France is one of the nations in Europe – along with Luxembourg, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany – that has a national minimum gross salary per month that is more than €1,500.


Having said that, 11.6% of workers in France have salaries that are lower than 105% of the country's minimum wage. This is a rather high percentage; the only countries with higher rates are Slovenia (15.2%), Bulgaria (14.1%), Romania (13.3%), and Poland (12.1%).


On January 1 of each year, the minimum wage in France undergoes a yearly reevaluation. For the 20% of families with the lowest incomes, it is adjusted annually to account for inflation.



There are certain exceptions to the minimum wage as well as some variances.


Young people


Workers who are older than 18 years old are eligible to participate in the SMIC. However, apprentices and young workers who are under this age might lawfully get anywhere from 80% to 100% of the SMIC depending on the circumstances of their employment. Having said that, young employees who have been employed by the same firm for more than six months are required to get the entire minimum wage.


Apprentices


Apprentices are not subject to the SMIC; rather, they receive a wage that is calculated as a percentage of the SMIC. The quantity of money that they will get will differ based on their age as well as the stage that they have reached in the training program that the apprenticeship will cover.


For instance, a 16-year-old in their first year of training is only legally entitled to 27% of the SMIC (which is equivalent to €432.84 a month), but a 24-year-old in their third year of apprenticeship should get 78%, which is equivalent to roughly €1,250. Notably, those who are above the age of 25 are required to earn the national minimum wage during the whole of their apprenticeship.


Interns


You will not get a salary in France while working as an intern; rather, you will be given financial compensation in the form of what is known as a "gratification minimale" or a minimum bonus. This incentive must meet the statutory requirement of at least €3.90 in compensation for each hour worked. It is important to note that public organizations are prohibited from paying interns more than this amount. On the other hand, private groups could have a collective agreement that establishes a greater total amount. Employers can compute the minimal amount owed to an intern based on the actual number of hours that the intern worked using an online simulator.


Variations by sector


Collective agreements, also known as convention collectives, are typically defined as an agreed-upon minimum salary. These agreements are negotiated by trade unions and vary depending on the area of activity. The position of the job within the hierarchy of the organization is often reflected in the pay that is negotiated. If the wage is more than the SMIC as specified by the state, then this is the amount that the worker is required to receive.


You may check to see what regulations pertain to your particular line of work in France by visiting the website DicoTravail, which is dedicated to labor law and includes an overview of collective agreements broken down by industry along with free PDF downloads.


What steps to take if you are not getting paid at least the federally mandated minimum wage


If an employer in France pays an employee less than the legally mandated minimum wage, the employer may be subject to a fine of €1,500. Damages are an amount of money that the employer may be required to pay to the employee as a kind of compensation for the injury that was sustained. If an employee was underpaid, they may be eligible for back pay for a period of up to three years. If there is evidence of prejudice, this time frame might extend back as far as five years.


You may get in touch with the trade syndicate in your area if you feel as if you should be receiving a higher salary. On the other hand, if this is not an option, it is recommended to speak with a labor lawyer (also known as an avocat en droit du travail) to determine the best method to go forward. In France, the court that is responsible for addressing conflicts that occur in the workplace is called the Conseil de prud'hommes (CPH).


The average salary in France


Recent research conducted by the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) indicates that the average monthly salary in France in the year 2022 will be 2,340 euros (net), which would translate to an annual gross income of 39,300 euros. This is a little increase from the monthly average of 2,238 euros in 2016 when it was at this level.


Having said that, when compared to the rest of western Europe, French incomes are not very competitive. For example, Paris only ranks 56th when compared to other European cities in terms of the average net incomes earned by residents there. Other prominent cities in France include Antibes (ranked 51st), Montpellier (ranked 52nd), Toulouse (ranked 58th), Lille (ranked 60th), Nantes (ranked 61st), Lyon (ranked 65th), Marseille (ranked 68th), and Lyon (ranked 72nd) (Nice).


Nevertheless, despite this, the regulations governing employment in France are typically highly favorable. The standard workweek in France is 35 hours, and employees often get five weeks' worth of vacation time (or 30 days off) each year. After the first three days of an illness, workers are entitled to paid sick leave and get a daily allowance that is equivalent to fifty percent of their regular daily income while they are off sick.


The average salary by sector


It should come as no surprise that different industries in France have significantly different mean wages. For instance, positions in the public sector often have lower pay than those in the private sector, although public sector jobs provide more job security. Management-level professionals in the private sector may anticipate earning yearly earnings that average €48,903, on average. Meanwhile, CEOs have the highest average compensation in the industry, coming in at €64,875, making them the top earners overall.


According to the Robert Half Salary Guide 2022, the following are some of the industries that provide some of the highest pay, as measured by the average monthly net salary:


3,000 Euros for the pharmaceutical industry


Banking industry: €3,280


Insurance industry: €3,280


Consulting: €3,041


Legal and accounting professions: €3,300


Real estate industry: €3,100


Engineering industry: €3,170


The typical pay by job level


According to statistics from 2019, the following is a list of the average salary offered by job level:


Managers and CEOs: €4,230 per month


Intermediate professions (technicians and salespeople, foremen, supervisors, etc.): €2,411 per month


Low-level employees: €1,740 per month


Manual workers: €1,830 per month


The average salary by region


The average incomes in each area of France differ from one another. Ile-de-France, sometimes known as the Paris area, was at the top of the leaderboards as recently as 2019. The following information is provided on the average monthly salary for each region:


Ile-de-France (Paris region): €3,087 per month


Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (Nice, Cannes, Antibes, etc.): €2,347 per month


Normandy: €2,226 per month


Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (Lyon region): €2,376 per month


Hauts-de-France (Lille region): €2,240 per month


A checklist of salaries in France


You can find out approximately what income you can expect to be paid by using the Money Data & Career Research Center for France. The amount of salary you may anticipate getting is determined by your industry, position, degree, location, and years of experience.


The gender pay gap in France


In the year 2020, the wage disparity between men and women in France was 15.8%, which was somewhat higher than the average for the EU, which was 13%, but it was smaller than the gaps in Germany (18.3%), Switzerland (18.4%), and Austria (18.9%). Like that of average incomes, the pay gap in France fluctuates depending on the industry. For instance, some of the businesses with the largest pay gaps include those dealing with science and technology, where they hover around 22.3%, and the industries dealing with finance and insurance, where they may go as high as 30.8%.


According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2021 published by the World Economic Forum, France now has a respectable ranking, coming in at number 16 out of 156 nations. Having said that, there is still a huge way in which it can improve. The research also draws attention to the pervasive problem of the "glass ceiling," which is the reason why just 34.6% of senior posts are held by women.


Salaries and wages for ex-pats in France


According to the French Ministry of the Interior, more than one in ten individuals working in France are foreign nationals or immigrants. [PDF] The bulk of the 3,173,900 active foreigners living in the nation are from countries that are not members of the EU (2,416,000), while just 758,000 are from EU countries. In addition, the likelihood of being professionally engaged is much higher among non-EU citizens (58.6%), compared to EU inhabitants (48.4%).


On the other hand, people who were born in Africa are disproportionately affected by low income and poverty. Research that was conducted in 2015 by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) reveals the differences in income that might occur based on where a person was born. And African families in France earn between 25 and 30 percent less than European ones do.


Useful resources


Service-Public.fr is the official website of the administrative branch of the French government. It has a comprehensive section on finding employment in France.


The French Ministry of the Interior is a resource for information for foreign nationals living in France.


The French Ministry of Labor is a resource for information on the country's employment laws.


Welcome to France is the name of a website created by the French government specifically for foreigners living in the country, and it is written in English.


Payscale is a website that gives you the ability to check typical incomes in France according to your profession, industry, degree of experience, and region.


DicoTravail is a resource that offers details on French employment legislation and collective bargaining agreements.


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