How to start a business when you are an employee?

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I create my business while remaining an employee
I must pay attention to the commitments I have to my company: obligation of loyalty in all cases, exclusivity clause, non-competition clause.

The first fair step will be to warn him of my intention to start a business.

If my employment contract contains an “Exclusivity clause” (prohibition to have another activity when you are an employee) I must first have it checked that it is valid: it must be essential to protect the interests of the employee. business and justified by the nature of my duties.

If it is, however, such a clause does not apply to an employee who creates or takes over a business, for one year after the creation. Afterwards, I must have got him up.

If I prepare, even during my free time, an activity similar to my current activity, and which could therefore constitute competition for my company, I must ask my employer for its agreement. It is not necessarily impossible.

And it is necessary even though I do not have a “non-compete clause” in my contract, which would apply if I leave the company.

Otherwise, I risk very big trouble, such as dismissal.

What will my tax situation be like?
The income corresponding to my two activities will each be declared in their category: Salaries and wages, Industrial and commercial profits, or Non-commercial profits, depending on the nature of the activity and the legal form I have chosen for my entrepreneurial activity. .

For my business, I can be a micro-entrepreneur if my turnover does not exceed a certain limit.

What will be my social situation?
Sickness and occupational accidents risks
I will continue to contribute to the General Scheme for my salaried activity.

I will also contribute for my activity as an entrepreneur, either to the Social Security for the Self-Employed (SSI) or to the general scheme, depending on the legal form that I have adopted for my activity as an entrepreneur.

The two schemes provide comparable benefits (except for the waiting period: 7 days for the SSI against 3 days for the general scheme).


I will continue to contribute to the General Scheme for my salaried activity.

I will contribute in addition for my activity of entrepreneur, either to the Social Security of the self-employed, SSI (minimum annual contribution giving right to the validation of 3 quarters if I am “in reality”, or as a micro-entrepreneur), or in general scheme ; this according to the legal form that I will have adopted for my activity as an entrepreneur.

The total contributions paid will be taken into account to determine the number of quarters that will be validated.

I ask my employer for leave or part-time work to start my business.
There are 3 mechanisms that allow you to have time to prepare for a business creation or takeover without breaking your employment contract: leave for business creation, part-time work and sabbatical leave.

In all 3 cases the employment contract is only suspended but I must continue to respect my obligation of loyalty.

And I can be sure of finding a comparable position in terms of qualifications and salary if I do not follow through on the planned creation, or for any other reason.

In the first two cases (leave for business creation or part-time) I must inform my employer of the nature of the activity in which I am going to start, whereas I am not obliged to do so in the case of a Sabbatical leave.

Leave for business creation or part-time work

The salary is paid in proportion to the time worked (zero if I am on leave).

These two systems are accessible to all employees with more than 2 years of service (except for more favorable provisions of the Collective Agreement) and, in companies with less than 300 employees, provided they have not already benefited from them during the Last 3 years.

The duration is 1 year maximum, renewable once. Thus, the exemption from the application of the Exclusivity Clause, seen above, can go up to 2 years.

The employer can defer or refuse the creation leave or the transition to part-time under certain conditions.

I quit my job to devote myself to my project

I have to pay attention to the commitments I have to my employer: duty of loyalty, non-competition clause?
Like when I create while remaining in my business, I must respect the obligation of loyalty.

If my employment contract contains a “Non-competition clause” (applicable after leaving the company), and the activity that I foresee could be in this case, I must first verify that this clause is well valid:

It must be justified by the interests of the company that employs me,

It should not prevent me from having a professional activity,

It must be limited in time and in a certain area and include a financial contribution.

If so, I absolutely must have this clause lifted before I leave, otherwise I risk very big trouble, like a lawsuit.

I must pay attention to the conditions of my departure (resignation or negotiated termination) and the corresponding consequences.
If I resign, I will not be entitled to unemployment benefits before the creation of my company, and I will not be entitled to the partial exemption from social contributions reserved for job seekers who create businesses (ACRE) during the first year (or years) (unless I was registered with Pôle emploi for 6 months during the 18 months preceding the creation).

However, I will regain rights to unemployment benefits if my business fails within 3 years after the end of my employment contract.

It is therefore much preferable to negotiate with my employer a termination of the employment contract by mutual agreement, to have it approved. This allows me to eventually benefit from unemployment benefits and aid from Pôle Emploi for the unemployed who set up a business.

The extra thing

Almost two in ten creations are made by employees who are active when their company is registered: this is proof that it is possible! And even that can be a good way to secure personal finances.

Starting a business when you are an employee allows you to benefit from specific measures and assistance.

Even if I was previously employed in large companies, I must expect that the creation of a company upset my daily life, my habits, my way of working and living… I can find myself isolated without daily contact with colleagues, without being able to benefit from the infrastructure of a large company, without regular income … Also, I must take the time to define my personal project as a designer and to analyze the constraints inherent in my future activity. The success of my project depends on it!

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