France: changes to French Works Councils requirements

As a reminder, following the Macron Reforms of 22 September 2017, all companies with 11 or more employees must put in place a Social and Economic Committee (a “CSE”) by 31 December 2019.

This means that:

  • companies with between 11-49 employees who did not previously have an obligation to have a Works Council must now organise elections; and
  • companies with an existing Works Council must organise elections for a CSE

before 31 December 2019.

The timing where there is an existing Works Council will depend on when the current mandates of your employee representatives expire.

If the current mandates of your employee representatives expire before 31 December 2018, the mandate terms of employee representatives can be extended for a period of one year by a collective agreement or by unilateral decision of the employer, after consultation with the Works Council.

If the current mandates of your employee representatives expire after 31 December 2018:

  • the mandates of employee representatives can be extended for a period of one year by a collective agreement or by unilateral decision of the employer after consultation with the Works Council only if the extension is to harmonise the election dates in a company with several establishments;
  • for a company which does not have several establishments, the mandate terms can be reduced as early as 1 January 2019 by a collective agreement or by a unilateral decision, after consultation with the Works Council, in order to anticipate the elections for the CSE.

The Macron Reforms also extended to 90 days the maximum possible duration of the election process for employee representatives – this was previously limited to 45 days. Therefore, if you still have a Works Council in place at your company, the election process can now take you up to a period of 90 days if you encounter difficulties reaching an agreement with the representative trade unions during the negotiation of an election protocol.

Our Paris Employment Team at Herbert Smith Freehills would be happy to assist you in any way with the CSE election process preparations.  Feel free to reach out to us in this respect.

Herbert Smith Freehills Paris – Employment, Pension and Incentives

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Filed under Industrial/workplace relations, collective bargaining, works councils, Jurisdiction: France

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