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Can you work without a written contract? What are the abuses? How to claim your rights?


Working without a written contract is perfectly legal. For the Labor Code, what matters is the work situation, that is to say the fact of working in a relationship of subordination, in other words, of selling one’s skills to an employer who has the power to direct and sanction. However, the worker must ensure that he is paid, that he receives pay slips and that he is well declared to the provident organizations, in particular the Social Security.

Working without a written contract can leave you vulnerable to potential disputes and misunderstandings. Without clear terms and conditions documented, it becomes difficult to establish the agreed-upon rights, obligations, and protections for both parties. A written contract provides legal clarity and serves as a reference point in case of any conflicts or disagreements, ensuring a smoother working relationship.


It is common for an employer who has hired a worker verbally to consider himself more free and proceed to a verbal dismissal without reason. In this case, if the worker has payslips mentioning the number of hours worked and paid, he will easily prove that he is an employee. It will suffice for him to seize the industrial tribunal to have his rights recognized and to obtain compensation for unfair dismissal.


The labor code provides that a normal working relationship is an open-ended contract (CDI). The contract, if it is not written, is therefore automatically of indefinite duration. If the employer wants to hire an employee under a fixed-term contract (CDD), he must provide a written contract. If this is not the case, the employee can seize the industrial tribunal and easily obtain the requalification of his employment relationship in CDI and thus benefit from compensation for unfair dismissal.

DAMY Law Firm, Nice, Oral employment contract, update 2016