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Pay slip (« bulletin de paie ») pursuant to French law

What is a “bulletin de paie”?

The pay slip is defined as a document that the employer is required to give to the employee when paying his/her salary. This document informs the employee about the elements of his/her salary and allows the employee to check if he/she has received his/her due.

Obligation for every employer to deliver a pay slip to each of its employees pursuant to French law

The delivery of a pay slip by an employer to its employees is mandatory for all employees, regardless of the amount or nature of their remuneration, and may be delivered in printed form by hand or by post.

Since January 1, 2017, delivery in electronic form is the rule unless the employee objects. The employer must guarantee the integrity, availability, confidentiality and accessibility of the data of the electronic pay slip. When paying wages, the employer may not require any signature or endorsement formality other than that establishing that the sum received corresponds to the net amount shown on the pay slip.

Mandatory information to be contained in a pay slip pursuant to French law

The pay slip for employees in the private sector must include the mandatory information listed in article R. 3243-1 of the French Labor Code (“Code du Travail”), such as the name and address of the employer, the employee's job, the gross remuneration, the basis and amount of contributions, the total amount of exemptions from contributions and social security contributions, and the mention encouraging the employee to keep the pay slip without any time limit.

Since January 1, 2018, new provisions have been in force, simplifying and streamlining some of these mandatory mentions. Since May 9, 2017, a new mandatory mention relating to the implementation of the withholding tax (“prélèvement à la source”) must also appear on the pay slip. In the event of partial activity, the pay slip must also mention the number of hours for which the compensation is paid, the rate applied to calculate the compensation and the amounts paid to the employee.

Article R. 3243-4 of the French Labor Code (“Code du Travail”) has been amended in response to a request from the French Data Protection Commission (“Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL)”), which pointed out difficulties for employees asked to provide their pay slips for private purposes. Thus, it is now forbidden to mention the exercise of the right to strike or the activity of employee representation on the pay slip. The details of the remuneration of the representation activity are now mentioned on a form annexed to the pay slip, established and provided by the employer and having the same legal status as the pay slip.

The acceptance of the pay slip by the employee does not constitute a presumption of payment of the salary and it is up to the employer to prove that the salary has been paid.

The issuance of the pay slip is considered as an indication of the existence of an employment contract and the professional qualification of an employee.

Violations of the provisions relating to pay slips are punishable by a fine and may result in the payment of damages to the employee. Finally, the conciliation board (“bureau de conciliation”) of the employment tribunal (“conseil de prud’hommes”) can order the issuance of pay slips under penalty of a fine.

French legal texts governing the issuance of a pay slip:

- Labor Code, art. L. 3243-1 to L. 3243-5, D. 3171-11 to D. 3171-13, R. 3243-1 to 3243-6

- Circular of June 30, 2005 on the simplification of the pay slip (JO Sept. 7)

- Decree No. 2016-190 of Feb. 25, 2016 (JO Feb. 26)

- Order of Feb. 25, 2016 (JO Feb. 26)

Main decisions of French courts:

- Soc. Apr. 13, 2016, no. 14-28.293

- Soc. 19 May 1998, n° 97-41.814

- Soc. June 7, 1995, n° 91-44.919

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