If one wants to quit their job in 1 month, when the job has a notice period of 3 months, and the company disagrees, what is the penalty of doing so nevertheless in France?

Also suppose the employee agrees to the 3 months notice period but wants to take a month off, can the manager deny it? I have been told that the vacation is at the manager's discretion.

  • 2
    The law may be (almost certainly is) different in France, but in England and Wales the employer can sue for breach of contract. Depending on their losses, this could be for quite a large sum. Holiday in E&W is indeed at employers discretion, but you have to be paid for holiday you are due but haven't taken. Nov 20, 2019 at 15:37
  • What does your employment contract / company employment policy say?
    – Traveller
    Nov 21, 2019 at 10:18

1 Answer 1


In practice, unless you're a top manager or directly involved in the final stage of some key contract negotiation or some such, the actual legal and financial risk is small. To seek damages, a French employer has to establish that your leaving without permission directly caused them some specific harm and that's a high bar to meet for most employees. Large employers do not bother, it's not worth the effort (I guess a vindictive small business owner might still do it out of spite).

Regarding leave days, they have to be approved by the employer and it's therefore up to them whethey they allow you to take time off at the end of your contract or if they prefer to have you work through to your last day and pay a lump sum instead. However, in light of the employer's lack of leverage on a departing employee, it is typically possible to negotiate on that.

Importantly, in France, it is strictly forbidden for an employer to apply any fine or financial penalty to their employees. The only kind of penalties allowed are written warning, suspension, moving you to another job, demotion, or firing (but none of these would impact you if you are leaving). Obviously, you would not be paid for the time you are not working but the employer still owes you any unused leave days or prorated yearly vacation pay. Detailed references or certificates like they exist in other countries are uncommon, an employer is only allowed to confirm the dates of your employment. Because of all this, it's actually surprisingly common for people to just stop showing up instead of formally resigning.

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