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What is a French CDII work contract?

These contracts are used in many sectors, giving temporary workers the same benefits as full-time employees

Temporary workers in busy sectors can benefit from this type of contract Pic: eldar nurkovic / Shutterstock

Reader Question: My daughter has been offered a job with a ‘CDII’ contract. I have never heard of this before, what is it?

Most contracts in France come in one of two forms; a contrat à durée déterminée (CDD) or a contrat à durée indéterminée (CDI).

CDDs are part-time contracts that have a fixed end-date, whereas CDIs are permanent contracts.

Read more: Explained: Types of employment contracts in France

However in some sectors where the number of people needed fluctuates greatly throughout the year (holiday and school camps, tourist-related jobs, etc), a CDI intermittent (CDII) contract can be offered by employers, via ‘temp’ agencies. 

They are relatively recent.

How does a CDII contract work? 

As with temporary/interim contracts (see link above), a CDII is agreed between an employer, employee and a temporary work agency which organises the hiring. 

The key difference, however, is that despite the employee potentially working on an ad hoc basis via several short-term assignments, they have some of the benefits of a permanent contract that traditional temporary contracts do not provide.

These contracts can last up to 36 months (three years) at a time, much longer than usual temporary contracts.

The contract is split into two ‘periods’: 

  • Periods of assignment, where the employee is working full-time for the company

  • Intermission periods, where the employee is not actively working for the company but is still retained and is ‘available’ if needed

During the assignment periods the employee should be paid at a rate appropriate to the position.

However, unlike most short-term positions – where a person would just leave when the work is over until a new contract can be / is offered – in an intermission period under a CDII a worker still earns a minimum monthly salary (at least the French Smic minimum wage) even when they are not working. 

CDII workers in intermission periods also still accrue paid holiday leave and benefits related to length of time in the job, the latter of which can be kept if it turns into a full CDI position.

Their paid leave may only be taken during an ‘intermission’ period, but an employee cannot be asked to work in this ‘paid leave’ time.

Workers on a CDII are free to spend their intermission periods working on private projects, or working on smaller, freelance, tasks, though bearing in mind the fact the main employer can call on them apart from in the designated paid leave periods.

Another benefit is that workers can only be dismissed from a CDII in the same way as they can if employed via a CDI (a lengthy process which needs evidence of poor work unless there are grounds of gross misconduct from the employee).

However, there is no indemnity pay (prime de précarité) paid when a CDII ends as there is with a CDD. 

The CDII contract will need to include information on: 

  • Employee qualifications

  • Pay, including minimum monthly salary

  • Minimum annual working hours

  • How long ‘periods of assignment’ and ‘intermission periods’ will be

  • Breakdown of working hours within periods of assignment

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