Emmanuel Macron signed a bill to reform the Labour code. Here are the 15 measures that will come into force before 1 January 2018.
- Labour compensation: minimum and maximum
Creation of a limit in the event of unfair dismissal, fixed at one month’s salary for under one year of service, and which will increase up to 20 months of salary beyond 28 years.
Creation of a minimum indemnity. In a very small company (less than 11 employees), it will be set at 15 days from one year of seniority, and then gradually increase to two and a half months from nine years. In other companies, it will be one month from one year of seniority, then three months from two years.
In case of “violation of a fundamental freedom”, no limit and a minimum fixed at six months.
- Increase in statutory redundancy payments … up to 10 years
Increase, in return, of statutory redundancy indemnities by decree to 1/4 of a month’s salary per year of service, against 1/5 today, up to 10 years. Beyond that, they stay at 1/3 of a month.
- Clemence for procedural errors
In the event of dismissal, a procedural error will no longer preclude an examination of the merits of the case. The formal error will be sanctioned as a maximum of one month of damages. To avoid procedural errors, employers and employees will have access to a standard form.
- Collective bargaining break-ups
Companies may, by agreement approved by the administration, launch autonomous voluntary separation plans, apart from social plans. The agreement will provide for the level of compensation for all voluntary employees. Currently, amicable separations are concluded only individually. They give entitlement to unemployment insurance.
- Economic layoffs
The economic difficulties of groups laying off in France will be deliberated at the national level, instead of globally.
- Reduced time limit for redundancy
The redundant employees will have only one year to take their case to a Labour court. Until now, they had one year in the case of economic dismissal, two years in other cases.
- Social Dialogue of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
In companies with up to 20 employees without staff members, the employer can submit a draft agreement on subjects open to business negotiations to a referendum. A two-thirds majority will be required to validate it. Up to 49 employees, the employer may, in the absence of union delegates, negotiate with an elected representative who is not mandated by a trade union.
- Corporate Referendum
An employer may organize a referendum to validate an agreement signed by trade unions representing more than 30% of the employees of the company, unless all signatory organizations oppose the consultation. Until then, such referendums could only be organized on the initiative of employee representatives.
- Merger of employee representative bodies
The new law will merge by 2020 staff delegates, works council and health, safety and working conditions committee into a “social and economic committee”. It shall retain the competence of the three bodies, and may institute legal proceedings. A health, safety and working conditions commission, of the type safety and working conditions, will remain in the companies of at least 300 employees. Under 300 employees, such commissions will exist in nuclear or hazardous sites companies. For other enterprises, the Labour inspectorate may impose the establishment of such a commission. Companies may also retain staff representatives by agreement.
By agreement, it will be possible to integrate trade union delegates, and therefore negotiating competence, into a single body called “works council”. Its endorsement will be necessary on certain subjects.
- Industry or branch agreement: what will take precedence
The subjects of negotiation will be divided into three parts:
– where the branch agreement takes precedence: conventional minimums, classifications, pooling of joint financing (welfare, training, etc.), management and quality of employment (part-time work, short contracts …), professional equality.
– where the branch can decide whether its agreements take precedence over those of companies: hardship, disability, conditions for the exercise of a union mandate, bonuses for dangerous work.
– the company agreement takes precedence over all other issues. For example, the seniority bonus, the 13th month.
- Fixed-Term Contract and “Permanent Contract on construction site”
The branches may modify by agreement the duration, the number of renewals and the period of absence of the fixed-term contracts.
- Generalization of the majority agreement
The rule of the majority agreement (signed by unions representing more than 50% of employees) in companies will be generalized as of May 1, 2018.
The majority agreement today applies mainly to matters relating to hours of work. In other fields, the signing of minority trade unions representing 30% of employees is sufficient, if majority unions do not oppose.
- Primacy of collective agreements on contracts
Today, several types of company agreements (reduction of working time, job retention, mobility, etc.) impose themselves on the employment contract and lead to the dismissal of employees who refuse. Only one type of agreement will be required in the contract of employment, but will cover a wider field (good operation of the company, development or preservation of employment). In case of refusal, the employees will be dismissed for a specific reason, but will receive unemployment insurance and will be entitled to 100 hours of training financed by the employer.
The employee will be able to telework by right, whereas an amendment to the employment contract and an agreement are today necessary. If the employer objects, he must justify his refusal.
- End of generation contract
The end of one of the flagship measures of the President Holland, which favoured the employment of young people and senior citizens.