Same question as In Germany, is lunch included in an 8 hour shift? but for France.

In my German work, I work 8 hours and must make a 45' lunch break, totalling in a cumbersome 8.45 hours spend in site! I would like to know if something similar exists in France.


There is actually no mandatory lunch break in France at all. If you work more than 6 hours in a day, your employer has to give you a 20-minutes break (for lunch or otherwise), which is not counted as part of your working time. A collective bargaining agreement can provide for other rules and most employees take much longer lunch breaks.

Legally, you do not have to spend your break on site and people occasionally run errands, practice sports or go to a restaurant during this time. In smaller towns, it's not uncommon to go back home for lunch. But if you live further away and that's not practical for you, an 8-hour working day will indeed force you to stay at or near your workplace for 9+ hours.

Finally, if your job involves clocking in and out, there will be more specific rules that are probably more relevant to you than what the law says.

See https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F34555

  • So, assuming a 20 minutes break, if I work 8 hours, then I will have to stay at work for 8.20 hours in total every day, right?
    – gsamaras
    Mar 1 '19 at 20:40
  • @gsamaras No, you're free for those 20 minutes, that's the point. In particular, you do not have to be at your workplace, if your employer wants you to take breaks at the workplace, other rules apply. As I said, in small towns some people actually go back home. In large cities, that's not very realistic for most people but it's not unheard of for people to run errands during their lunch break, which can be much longer than 20 minutes. But assuming a 20 minutes break and a regular office job, you will indeed leave work 8 hours and 20 minutes after the time you arrived in the morning.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 1 '19 at 23:41
  • Thanks! Ridiculous IMHO, we will end up spending half of the day commuting to work and staying there, if we continue like this..
    – gsamaras
    Mar 2 '19 at 9:12
  • Interesting - is it guaranteed to leave 8 hours and 20 minutes after the time of arrival? Does the concept / practice of ’voluntary’ unpaid overtime exist in France?
    – Traveller
    Mar 2 '19 at 9:25
  • @gsamaras If you want to work less hours, you could seek part time work…
    – gerrit
    Mar 7 '19 at 14:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.