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Hiring personnel for equestrian activities in France

French Labour law has a bad reputation! Too rigid, too many social charges and on-going expensive termination litigation.

While this is true, there are several solutions to recruiting and hiring personnel for equestrian businesses.

The first more traditional solution is the work contract which is entered into between an employee and an equestrian employer.

Work agreements are subject to the French labour code and three different social agreements: equestrian activities collective agreement, flat and jumping racing collective agreement and trotting racing collective agreement which determine maximum hours, minimum salary, benefits, holidays, and termination notice periods.

The main difference between work contracts is made on whether the work contract is entered into for an indefinite or set period.

Open-ended contracts (“CDI”) never expire and can only be terminated by the employer for good cause or resignation by the employee. Termination by the employer must always be grounded on good cause, which relies either on a personal reason related to incompetence or contractual breach, or economic reasons, is litigated.

Set-term contracts (“CDD”) can only be entered into for a limited number of reasons such as replacements or seasonal increase in activity. A maximum of three set-term work contracts can be entered into over an 18-month period, failing this the work agreement may be automatically transformed into an indefinite work contract agreement.

Equestrians may also hire through internship and apprenticeship agreements which obey the same regimes as work agreements.

The second solution used is to enter into service agreements with independent service providers acting under the Individual Entrepreneur regime. This solution provides the equestrian professionals with increased flexibility in its organisation. Service providers invoice services instead of the number of hours worked, based on prices contractually agreed upon beforehand.

However, the professional equestrian must not use independent service providers to circumvent work contract legislation. Any confusion between the independent service provider and an employee for instance imposing work times, not allowing him to work for other clients, creates a risk of requalification of the service agreement into a work contract.

Hiring and recruiting for equestrian businesses requires legal advice to create a secure set-up. Using independent service providers is widespread practice today and a lot of lessons have been learnt from prior litigation to avoid requalification lawsuits.

Whereas the service providers provide flexibility, employees provide loyalty overtime and professional equestrians wishing to develop durably its organisation should not overlook the importance of hiring personnel.

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