3 min

Rights, obligations and code of conduct

INRAE staff members, whether they are civil servants or contractual employees, are representatives of the French state and are subject to the rights and obligations set out in the French Civil Service Code. As such, they embody the fundamental values of the French Republic and foster the values of publicly funded research.

In carrying out all their work, INRAE employees adhere to ethical values and principles of conduct, act with impartiality, integrity, dignity and probity, and seek to best serve the public interest.

In working at INRAE, staff members also promote and implement the Institute’s ongoing commitment to diversity and gender equality, its fight against discrimination, and its respect of the principle of secularism so that each person may apply their skills in an environment that recognizes and celebrates the richness of diversity and acknowledges that diversity is stimulating and promotes cohesion.

You will find below the principal rights and obligations applicable to public service employees.

Updated on 02 January 2020 (Last update 12 April 2024)

illustration Rights, obligations and code of conduct
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Rights of permanent and contractual staff at INRAE

Principle of non-discrimination

This is the principle of equal eligibility to join the civil service. Any discrimination based more particularly on race, state of health, handicap, beliefs, philosophies, opinions or sex is forbidden.

Freedom of opinion

Freedom of opinion implies respect for the ideas and private life of each agent. However, the exercise of this freedom must be done in compliance with the obligation of neutrality and the principle of secularism associated with it as well as the obligation of reserve.

Union rights

The principle of freedom of association includes the freedom to establish trade unions - in accordance with the labour law - as well as the guarantee of non-discrimination with regard to union members or non-members. Union membership cannot be taken into consideration with regards recruitment, promotion, assignment, and more generally, the status of the members of staff.

Right to strike

Jurisprudence recognises the right of civil servants to strike. This right must, however, be exercised within the legal limits.

Right to remuneration

Civil servants are entitled to remuneration in exchange for services rendered, which includes salary, residence allowance, and compensation as set out in legislative or regulatory texts.

Right to paid leave

Each year, civil servants are entitled to paid leave of which the duration is laid down in regulatory texts.

Right to continuing training

Since 1st January 2017, civil servants have access to a Personal Training Account (Compte Personnel de Formation - CPF) to promote access to professional training.

Statutory obligations of permanent and contractual staff at INRAE

The obligation of neutrality and the principle of secularism

Public service employees, both tenured and contractual, as well as interns, whether or not they are in contact with users, must respect the obligation of neutrality. While carrying out their duties, they must not express their opinions, by how they behave or by what they wear, whether religious or political, both with respect to the public and to their colleagues, nor affirm their preference for a religion.

Obligation of professional secrecy

As custodians of information relating to or of interest to private individuals, civil servants are bound by professional secrecy laid down in the criminal code.

Obligation of professional discretion

This obligation aims to protect the administration against the disclosure of information regarding the workplace such as facts, information or documents that civil servants may encounter while performing or in connection with their duties.

Obligation of discretion

This concerns the expression of the civil servant's personal opinions. It does not pertain to the content of the opinions but the way in which they are transposed in speech, in writing or in actions. The obligation must be respected in and outside the workplace.

Obligation to follow orders

Civil servants must obey the orders of the competent superior authority and must be loyal when performing their duties. The obligation to follow orders requires compliance with all laws and regulations.

INRAE's professional ethics charter

The evolution in the working environment of research teams has brought to light major challenges in terms of cooperation, including internationally, linked to the need to work together, but has also resulted in greater tension brought about more particularly by the competitive nature of the activities and individual logic which develops within research institutions.


The professional ethics charter for researchers, endorsed by INRAE, provides guidelines for all members of staff. The charter details what is expected in a rigorous, fair scientific approach and recalls the general sense of the missions entrusted to researchers in addition to the individual responsibilities of each employee at collective level.

INRAE's scientific missions and programmes require staff to handle animals, plants, pathogenic micro-organisms, toxins, etc. for experimental purposes. Some of these activities are subject to official regulations, particularly in terms of prior authorisations or accreditation and the need for self-contained facilities, good laboratory practices, and staff accreditation. The institute also has a biosafety policy with which each member of staff must comply.

Learn more

New employee handbook

The new employee handbook was designed to give you more information about how our Institute is organised and its inner workings. Each chapter was written to help you make the most of the many opportunities offered at INRAE.

10 April 2024

Paid leave and working hours

This section provides information on the number of days of paid leave you can take as well as work cycle options.

02 January 2020

Social support

Support is available to all INRAE staff at welfare offices present in each Centre. A system for exceptional credits and loans is also possible for staff who are experiencing problems of a personal, family or financial nature.

02 January 2020