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How much money the French Foreign Legion pays in 2020?

7 mins read
Pay in French Foreign Legion

It’s not a simple question. As you will see it’s somewhere between 1300€ and 7000€. How much they pay you in the French Foreign Legion depends on many factors such as rank, family situation, qualifications etc. The salary is higher while you are on operation in abroad.

Some details about the pay in the French Foreign Legion

Before you pass to the tables, let me to explain you some details. Many people think that a Legionnaire makes as much money as a member of the famous Blackwater mercenary organization. Wrong.

A Legionnaire doesn’t make more money as a normal soldier in the regular French Army. The rules are the same for us, nothing more and nothing less.

A program called “Louvois” calculates the salary for everyone according to his actual military and family situation.

The military situation

It covers everything, which concern the person in the army, like:

  • Rank,
  • Years of service,
  • Years in a rank,
  • Qualifications etc.

The family situation

It means if a person

  • is married,
  • having children,
  • living in town,
  • since when he joined his unit etc.

I wanted to stay simple, but in the same time I want to let you estimate the best possible the salary of a French soldier. For this, I took a single man, living in the barrack for each rank. 

Salary of single man living in the barrack

RankMinimum Salary Maximum Salary
Legionnaire1348 €
Caporal1355€ 1370€
Caporal-chef1366€1770€
Sergent1442€1827€
Sergent-chef1484€1944€
Adjudant1846€2046€
Adjudant-chef1997€2175€
Major2111€2345€

The salaries during a deployment, still for a single man. 

RankMinimum Salary Maximum Salary
Legionnaire3423€
Caporal3464€
Caporal-chef3514€3829€
Sergent3598€3800€
Sergent-chef3760€4946€
Adjudant3922€5189€
Adjudant-chef4838€5534€
Major5037€ 5990€

Pay of a single parachutist 

RankMinimum Salary Maximum Salary
Legionnaire2067€
Caporal2074€2089€
Caporal-chef2078€2485€
Sergent2084€2178€
Sergent-chef2144€2599€
Adjudant2200€2714€
Adjudant-chef2586€2843€
Major2660€3011€

Salary of a single parachutist during a deployment

RankMinimum Salary Maximum Salary
Legionnaire4149€
Caporal4170€4241€
Caporal-chef4180€5285€
Sergent4212€4465€
Sergent-chef4374€5611€
Adjudant4468€ 5864€
Adjudant-chef5514€ 6214€
Major5717€6670€

The field service prime

Probably the most important factor your salary depends on.
How can you get it? You have to leave the regiment for 36 hours at least. 

RankSingleMarried
Legionnaire33,53€41,91€
Caporal33,53€41,91€
Caporal-chef40,90€51,13€
Sergent40,90€51,13€
Sergent-chef40,90€51,13€
Adjudant49,46€61,84€
Adjudant-chef49,46€61,84€
Major49,46€61,84€

NOTE: The paratroopers don’t earn the field service prime!

IAC (Indemnité d’Absence Cumulée or cumulative absence indemnity)

This bonus is effective since January 2016. Soldiers absent for professional reasons related to its operational activities for a period exceeding 150 days (accumulated over the course of a year) giving rise to compensation or premium for:

  • Service
  • Field services
  • OPEX
  • MCD (Mission Courte Durée – Guyana, Mayotte, Réunion etc…)
Cumulative absenceAmount per night of absence
Beyond 150 and up to 175 days10€
Beyond 175 and up to 200 days25€
Beyond 200 and up to 250 days50€
Au-delà de 250 et jusqu’à 365 jours85€

Example: last year I did 203 days on OPEX, field missions and service. It means that this year, I’ll have the following bonus as IAC.
IAC= (25×10)+(25×25)+(3×50)= 650€

The high mountain premium

A new bonus has been introduced since April 2019 for qualified soldiers of mountain troops, which concerns the 2°REG in the French Foreign Legion. (This premium cannot be combined with the paratrooper’s bonus).

High mountain team leader Leader of high mountain detachment Military mountain guide instructor
+115€/month +230€/month +350€/month

You need to take into account that I only have taken the salary for those who are living in the regiment. So, for a caporal of the French Foreign legion means that he doesn’t have to pay anything but his food for Friday night and the weekend, because he has a lunch and dinner each day and the rooms are for free in the regiment.

When I was a Legionnaire, during my first year I have earned a bit less, than 23,000€. 

How? During a year, in a combat unit you pass at least 4 months on field service, 2 months on Vigipirate (the “counter-terrorist” mission in France), 4 months on a training or in the regiment and 2 months on holiday. So each time you are on mission somewhere else, you make more money each day.

In some forums people sometimes say that the pay is bad in the FFL

Yes, you aren’t gonna be the next Bill Gates if you are serving as a simple soldier in any army of the world, that’s for sure. You are working occupied way more, than normal people and probably make less money.
BUT, France isn’t a 3rd world country and people are living a normal life from a soldier’s salary.
When I was a legionnaire, I could spare over 30% of my pay and lived a very easy life. I travelled in Europe, ate in restaurants, bought the latest phone etc…

So ask these questions:

  • How much money do I have to make in my own country if I want to easily spare around 650 euros a month?
  • What kind of job will allow me to spare around 650 euros a month without any diplom and experience?

UPDATE: I wrote a new article about the pay in the French Foreign Legion. I’ll tell you how much money did I exactly make during my service. By reading this post, you’ll be able to support my work and keep the site ad free. So click here to find out more about the pay in the French Foreign Legion on my Patreon page!

Thank you for reading! If you have any further question about the salary, please leave a comment below.

If you didn’t read my stories on the blog, here is the first chapter

8 Comments

    • 1348 euro is around 1450 dollars nowadays. You can count +35 dollars for each day on the field. In an average year we do around 150 days on the field (+5250usd/year) if you don’t go on mission. You need to take into account that you don’t pay for food during the week and the accommodation is provided.
      For further information you can use this link to count your salary during a 4 months long opex for example :
      https://lmgtfy.com/?q=euro+in+dollar

  1. Are all regiments do that ave. 150 days on field? if they don’t have opex for instance, or there were regiments that will literally sit within their reg. for the whole 365 days? Thank you

    • In a year when a “combat” unit doesn’t go on mission abroad, it will probably reach the 150 days out of the regiment. It’s especially true in 2REI and 2REG. My company will pass 3 months on the field and 4 months on Vigipirate (Operation Sentinelle) in France. You have to take into account, that I’m talking about combat units. If you are in logistic it can be around 30 – 60 days a year at max.

  2. Ive red on one of your article here that you already get paid few days after you get in. I am assuming that ofcourse legionnaires get paid during the 4 months basic training.Are they already starting to earn the base pay that you have indicated above, or how and how much are they getting paid during the basics?

    • Hey, I’ll look for the exact answer and will update the post, but a Legionnaire in 3REI earns around 500 euros more, than in France.

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