The French Mutually Agreed Contract Break-up

The French Mutually Agreed Contract Break-up (MACB).

This is a follow-up of my article of August 18, 2018.


Since 2008, this particular arrangement of French Labor laws allows a company or an employee to amicably end a permanent work contract. In particular:

A MACB applies to permanent contracts (full-time or part-time) but not to fixed-terms nor temp contracts.

Both parties are free to agree on a financial arrangement (up to certain maximums) as well as the contract termination date knowing that the MACB severance specific compensation can’t be less that the legal one or, if applicable, to the one specified in the professional contractual agreement of the profession.

Formally, an MACB is a 4-pager document (paper or on-line), occasionally coming with a specific severance allowance or, in certain cases, with an additional agreement when the company wants to make sure that no dispute will be occur. The form is signed by both parties who can retract from the agreement within 15 days and, if not, send it to the DIRRECTE (Direction Régionale du Travail et de l’Emploi – Regional Employment Office) which has 15 days as well to accept it. No answer from them means approval.

There are some pre-conceived ideas on MABC:

  • My seniority in the company is low so my boss has no interest to negotiate with me;
  • An MACB guaranties me a good negotiation;
  • If I ask for an MACB I’ll have it for sure;
  • My employer offers an MACB, I’m confident!


Let’s overlook 2 of these aspects in the context of this article.

My seniority in the company is low so my boss has no interest to negotiate with me

On the contrary. If your seniority is low and if your employer wants to get rid of you, chances are that he’ll want to negotiate with you and offer an MACB as your departure is not going to cost him much. 

On the other hand, your damages will be very real & significant: impossibility to value this too short professional experience (again, if you’re quite new in your current company that is), loss of a career opportunity in the company etc. You might end up at a loss if you don’t use good negotiation leverages.

In France, for less than 10 years seniority, the legal compensation is 1/5th of a month per year of seniority and specific branches contractual arrangements offer little more.

So, your employer will be more inclined to favorably consider a departure negotiation if your seniority is low, and not the other way around.

An MACB guaranties me a good negotiation.

Arguably you could think that an MACB is made to be requested since it is meant to be a negotiation instrument and you could be relieved to find it handy.

Nevertheless, by acting this out (by requesting it formally), you’re sending the message that you want to leave and rather quickly since this is a short procedure. And this is only one step short of thinking that you are demotivated and that your performance (and your team’s) will leave a great deal to be desired.

So, unwillingly or unconsciously, you have just deprived yourself of one (if not all) major negotiation leverage since you are transferring to your company the definition of the content of the negotiation, if she accepts it that is, which she is under no obligation to do.

Therefore, you’re between a rock and a hard place, you’re got a double weakness, professionally and psychologically. Chances are that your HR, whose job is also to protect the company’s interests, will have a different opinion. In other words, if you believe that an MACB with a severance allowance are a God-given for your good services, why would he (or she) think that?

If the MACB request comes from you it’s likely that there will be no reel negotiation.


The MACB is a nice and handy tool, very practical as no one has to motivate the end of the working contract. But it does not exclude any negotiation, it is even a part of it. So, believing that an MACB excludes or guaranties a negotiation is not accurate.

To know more on the topic of departure negociation please use the enclosed contact form.

Leave a Comment