Umbrella employment in France : How does it works ?

Introduction to Umbrella employment

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on ‘Umbrella Employment’ in France. As a British consultant considering professional opportunities in France, understanding the employment framework, specifically the concept of ‘Umbrella Employment’ or ‘portage salarial’ as it’s known in French, is vital for a successful career transition.

In an increasingly globalized world, professional mobility has become the norm. The removal of geographic barriers has given rise to opportunities for consultants in varied fields – IT, Engineering, Marketing, Business, and beyond. Yet, every country has its unique employment framework, and France is no different. One such unique arrangement is the ‘portage salarial’ – a popular form of employment amongst independent professionals in France.

Whether you’re an independent consultant seeking international opportunities or an employee looking to transition into independent consulting in France, understanding ‘Umbrella Employment’ is key to leveraging your skills and maximizing your earnings in France.

This guide aims to demystify the concept of ‘portage salarial’, compare it with other employment statuses in France, and with its equivalent in the UK.


So, let’s embark on this journey towards understanding ‘Umbrella Employment’ in France, shall we?

What is Umbrella Employment (Portage Salarial)?


Umbrella Employment, or ‘portage salarial’ as it is known in France, is a unique form of employment status that sits between being a full-time employee and a freelance consultant. It offers an attractive alternative for professionals who crave the independence of freelancing, without giving up the security and benefits associated with traditional employment.

The concept is simple. In an umbrella employment arrangement, a consultant works independently for their clients, similar to a freelancer. Yet, for administrative purposes, they are employed by an umbrella company. This company takes care of administrative tasks such as invoicing, social security contributions, and tax payments, freeing up the consultant to focus solely on their work.

This arrangement offers the best of both worlds – the freedom to choose your clients and projects, with the security of being an employee of a company. It also mitigates some of the risks associated with being an independent contractor, such as income fluctuations and non-payment.

Umbrella Employment is a popular choice among professionals from diverse sectors, including IT, engineering, marketing, and consulting. It provides a flexible working model that respects your autonomy while also providing a stable and secure employment framework. This guide will delve deeper into the intricacies of Umbrella Employment, comparing it with other employment statuses in France and the equivalent employment status in the UK.

Umbrella Employment vs Other Employment Statuses in France


Understanding the employment landscape in France requires a comparison of umbrella employment with other popular forms of employment status. Let’s delve into it.

Full-Time Employment

This is the most traditional form of employment status. It offers stability, a regular paycheck, and employee benefits such as health insurance, retirement contributions, and paid vacation. However, full-time employees often have limited control over their work, including their schedule, the projects they work on, and the clients they work with.

In contrast, umbrella employment provides many of the same benefits as full-time employment while also offering more control over your work. It’s a model that blends the stability of a regular income with the flexibility of choosing your clients and projects.


Freelancing offers the maximum degree of independence. Freelancers have complete control over their work, including the clients they take on, the projects they work on, and their work schedule. They also have the potential to earn more as there is no upper limit to the number of projects they can take.

However, the flip side to freelancing is the responsibility of handling all administrative tasks, from invoicing clients to managing taxes. Additionally, income can be unpredictable, and freelancers don’t have the same benefits as full-time employees.

This is where umbrella employment comes in as a middle ground. It provides the freedom and flexibility of freelancing without the hassle of administrative tasks and the insecurity of irregular income.


This status is a form of self-employment in France that offers simplicity and flexibility. Auto-entrepreneurs have control over their work but also take on administrative responsibilities. This status has limitations regarding social protection and maximum annual revenue.

Compared to being an auto-entrepreneur, umbrella employment offers more comprehensive social protection, no revenue limit, and eliminates administrative tasks.

In summary, while other employment statuses each have their own set of benefits, umbrella employment stands out as a versatile choice that offers a unique blend of independence, security, and simplicity.

How to Get Started with Umbrella Employment in France


Entering into an umbrella employment arrangement in France is relatively straightforward. Here are the steps involved:


Step 1

Find an Umbrella Company – The first step is to find a reputable umbrella company in France that you’d like to work with. Do some research, ask for recommendations, and choose a company that aligns with your needs.

Step 2

Sign a Contract – Once you’ve chosen an umbrella company, you’ll need to sign a contract with them. This contract outlines the terms of your working relationship, including the services they’ll provide and the fees they’ll charge.

Step 3

Find Clients – As an umbrella employee, you’re responsible for finding your own clients and projects. This is similar to how you would operate as a freelancer.

Step 4

Work and Bill Your Clients – Once you’ve found clients, you can start working. Instead of billing your clients directly, you provide your umbrella company with the details of your work, and they will invoice the client on your behalf.

Step 5

Get Paid – After your client pays the invoice, your umbrella company will deduct its fees and any necessary taxes and social contributions, then pay the remaining amount to you.

It’s important to remember that while you’re responsible for your work and finding clients, your umbrella company is there to support you with administrative tasks. This leaves you free to focus on what you do best – delivering high-quality work to your clients.