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Contract civil servants in the civil service


The employment of a significant number of contract civil servants is now a major feature of public employment in France. However, their role in central government, local authority and public hospital services is still very poorly defined.

There are more than one million contract civil servants (individuals) in the civil service, i.e. 18.4% of the total, or 20.9% of the total excluding staff with special status1.
For the most part, these staff are governed by public law. Although many of their rights and obligations are contractually defined, many of the rules in force for permanent civil servants are also applicable to them, and disputes between them and their employer are decided by the administrative courts. However, they do not belong to specific job corps. Contracts are often for a fixed term, although, expressed in full-time equivalents (FTE), there are more permanent than fixed-term contracts. In a few cases, some contract staff in the administrative public services are governed by private law.
At a time when a reform is underway aimed mainly at facilitating the recruitment and management of contract civil servants in the civil service2, the Cour des comptes, on the basis of the observations of recent audits, but also by carrying out new investigations, has examined the situation of contract civil servants in the main ministries and public institutions of the central government, in local authorities and in public hospitals.
Military contract civil servants, those with special status, those employed by public bodies subject to commercial law or whose ordinary recruitment status for civil servants is governed by private law have not been included in this study, except for comparative purposes..

1 Staff with special status mainly refers to teachers in private establishments under contract and central government workers in the central government civil service, nursery and family assistants in the regional civil service, doctors in the hospital civil service and apprentices in the three branches of the civil service.
2 Law no. 2019-774 of 24 July 2019 relating to the organisation and transformation of the health system and Law no. 2019-828 of 6 August 2019 on the transformation of the civil service.

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