How do I get unpaid leave?

Verified 20 October 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Yes, you can take leave for personal reasons. That leave is said unpaid ? You can take leave without pay but subject to conditions. We explain the information you need to know.

You can take a leave of absence because of personal needs (caring for your children or traveling, for example) or professional needs (for example, to set up your company).

This leave is called leave unpaid.

Please note

Leave without pay should be differentiated from sabbatical leave.

Unpaid leave is not provided for in legislation.

It is up to you to make the request to your employer.

You have to ask your employer to be able to take this leave.

There is no formality for requesting leave without pay. The Labor Code does not specify a template for sending requests for unpaid leave. However, it is best to write a written request to the attention of your employer who will serve as proof in case of dispute (letter withRAR: titleContent or e-mail, for example).

Your application may include all of the following:

  • projected start and end dates of your unpaid leave
  • option to renew your initial unpaid leave
  • conditions of your return to the company at the end of your unpaid leave

There is no advance notice period between the date of your request for unpaid leave from your employer and the actual date you wish to leave.

You do not have to tell your employer the reason for your request for unpaid leave.

Please note

There is no regulated minimum or maximum duration of unpaid leave. You agree with your employer on the length of the leave if they have accepted it.

Yes, your employer does not have to grant you your request for unpaid leave.

Your employer does not have to justify the reason for his refusal.

However, if the collective agreement on which you depend or a collective company agreement has provisions for unpaid leave, and your employer must comply with them.

In the absence of treaty provisions, your employer's agreement is necessary.


You must obtain the agreement of your employer to take leave in balance. In the event of an unjustified absence, you may be terminated for gross negligence.

No, your unpaid leave is not paid.

You do not receive any salary during your unpaid leave.

Your employment contract is suspended during your unpaid leave.

You are free to devote your unpaid leave time to the activities of your choice (personal or professional activities, possibly for another employer, except non-compete clause).

Please note

In case of illness during your leave without pay, you cannot collect aIJJ Social Security. In case of difficulties to treat yourself, you can ask to be accompanied by the social service of your CPAM: titleContent or the MSA: titleContent if you are dependent on the farm plan.


During your leave without pay, you are not paid by your employer. However, your unpaid leave may be paid under the Time Savings Account (TSA), subject to conditions.

At the end of your unpaid leave, you will return to your previous job (or a similar job with at least equal pay).

During your unpaid leave, you can't be fired.

However, your employer may terminate your contract if gross negligence or the inability to maintain your contract for any reason other than your departure on unpaid leave.

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