FOCUS ON the French labor law reform: the new outlines of the text definitively adopted

With the executive order of December 20, 2017, the purpose of which was primarily to correct certain errors and inconsistencies, as well as the latest implementing decrees published at the end of the year, the French labor law reform introduced by the executive orders of September 22, 2017 fully entered into force on January 1, 2018.

The law authorizing the ratification of the executive orders was definitively adopted by the Parliament on February 14, 2018. The executive orders will acquire legislative force on the day following the publication of the law in the Official Journal.

Review of the reform’s latest legislative and regulatory developments.

A more reliable and flexible dismissal procedure

Introduction of dismissal letter templates (decree of December 29, 2017)

      • 6 dismissal letter templates are now available to employers. These templates are to be adapted, where necessary, to the provisions of the employment contract or the applicable collective bargaining agreement, as well as to the individual situation of each employee concerned

Possibility of clarifying the reasons for dismissal (decree of December 15, 2017)

      • The employee has 15 days to request details on the reasons for his or her dismissal. The employer is entitled to the same period of time to respond, should it see fit to do so
      • These provisions are applicable to all dismissals notified on or after December 18, 2017

Distribution of a list of available reclassification positions (decree of December 21, 2017)

      • In the framework of its obligation of reclassification prior to redundancy, the employer may now chose to provide the employee either with personalized job offers or with a list of available positions
      • When the offers are made collectively, the list provided must include, in addition to the positions available, the selection criteria in the case of multiple applications as well as the length of the employee’s reflection period. The reflection period may not be less than 15 clear days as of the publication of the list

A framework for non-economic voluntary departures established (decree of December 20, 2017)

Procedure of approval governing collective termination by mutual consent

      • The Direccte is both informed of the opening of negotiations and provided with the agreement by electronic means. It is required to issue its decision within 15 days of receipt of the file
      • The definitive text requires the Direccte responsible for approving the agreement to ensure the detailed and concrete nature of the reclassification and assistance measures

Information of the administration on the implementation of mobility leave

      • Every 6 months, the Direccte must be informed of the terminations agreed to, the reclassification measures implemented and the employment situation of the employees after the term of their leave
      • This process is henceforth open to all companies, irrespective of their headcount

The scope of the new Social and Economic Council defined (decree of December 29, 2017)

 Reduction of the number of members and of hours of delegation 

      • The number of full members (as well as the number of alternate members) of the Economic and Social Council (Comité social et économique or CSE) may vary from 1 (for companies with a headcount of fewer than 25 employees) to 35 (for companies with a headcount of at least 10 000 employees).
      • Each member is entitled to a credit of hours of delegation ranging from 10 to 34 hours per month

Reduced or expanded powers of the CSE depending on the number of employees 

      • For companies with a headcount of fewer than 50 employees, the CSE has reduced powers, similar to those of the staff representatives. For companies with a headcount of 50 employees or more, the powers are expanded and cover those of the staff representatives, the works council and the Workplace Health and Safety Committee (“Comité d’hygiène, de sécurité et des conditions de travail” or CHSCT)

Collective bargaining for salaries reinforced

Establishment of the applicable procedure for penalties (decree of december 15, 2017)

      • The amount of this penalty is decided upon by the Direccte and is capped either at 10% or at 100% of the exemptions from social contributions enjoyed by the employer pertaining to the remuneration paid
      • In determining the amount of this penalty, the Direccte is required to take into account the efforts made by the employer to engage in negotiations, its good faith and the grounds provided for the failure of negotiations (economic difficulties, restructuring or mergers, collective proceedings)
      • These measures are applicable to the failings attested for the years 2016 and following