The President’s reform promises to increase flexibility and reduce risk in French labour law. It also strengthens workers’ rights.
- French labour law provides for the possibility of negotiating collective agreements with labour unions that will apply to the entirety of employees in the company, in particular regarding the organization of working time.
The Macron reform decrees will allow for negotiation with employees on such agreements in companies with fewer than 20 employees.
In companies with a staff of 20 to 50 employees, the negotiation can be implemented with the staff delegates.
- Currently, the employer has to put in place three different staff representative structures.
There will be one single “social and economic committee”. Furthermore, by means of an agreement, a company council can be created, with the prerogatives of the union delegates.
- The implementation of voluntary exit plans was subject to the same procedure as for terminations.
By means of a collective agreement, these voluntary departures will have their own formal legal framework.
- The reform decrees clarify the articulation between industry agreements and company agreements, specifying the roles of each level of negotiation.
The scope of company-wide agreements has been widened to make them the center of negotiation and determination of certain rules in the business not determined by the industry agreements, such as remuneration of overtime hours, seniority bonuses, and payment of a thirteenth month of salary per year.
- Under current French law, it is possible, under certain conditions, to allow employees to telecommute.
Under the reform decrees, the implementation regarding telecommuting will be significantly simplified.
- Macron’s decrees do away with administrative constraints that weighed down the formal declarations regarding the “drudgery” of certain positions.
There will be a redesign of the point system used for evaluating workers’ entitlement to early retirement from positions that are physically taxing.
- Under current French Law, a collective agreement cannot modify an employment contract. If the signing of a collective agreement does lead to the modification of the contract, the employees who refuse it must be dismissed on economic grounds and, if more than ten employees are concerned, benefit from a collective redundancy plan (PSE). There were certain exceptions for some agreements depending on their subject.
Agreements which are implemented to respond to necessities linked to the operation of the company, or to safeguard or develop employment, may modify working time, remuneration, or the conditions of geographic mobility. Each employee who refuses these new conditions will still be dismissed, but it is specified that this termination is justified and that there is no need for a collective redundancy plan. The employee may only claim termination indemnities and the employer will have to credit the employee’s personal training account (CPF) with 100 hours.
- Under current French labour law, employers are obligated to set out in the termination letter the justifications for the dismissal.
Under the reform, at the employee’s request, the employer may provide more information on the reasons for the dismissal at a later stage.
- An employer considering economic dismissals had the obligation to seek out redeployment positions abroad.
This obligation will be limited to within French borders.
- Currently, French labour law requires that terminations be justified by a real and serious cause. Up to now, employees have been entitled to compensation for unjust termination, the amount of which was set by the judge who had full discretion.
The Macron reform decrees will set minimum and maximum amounts for compensation, based on the employee’s length of service in the company.
- The economic rationale for dismissals in corporate groups is evaluated at the group’s industry level in France and abroad.
This evaluation will be limited to the French national territory, except in cases of fraud.
- The statutory minimum dismissal indemnity is currently one-fifth of one month’s salary multiplied by the number of years of service. Beyond 10 years of service, 2/15th of one month’s salary per additional year are added.
This allowance will be increased by 25%. This increase will be made official by decree at a later date.