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French Labor Law is about to become more flexible !


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Following the important reforms of 2008 and 2013, the Macron Law is quite a revolution for the French employers. This law, named after M. Macron, a banker-turned- Economy Minister is a grab-bag of new tools needed to boost French competitiveness.

Passed on July 9, this law was enacted on August 7.

The Rebsamen Law which was passed on July 23 is quite a disappointment but brings some changes regarding to social bargaining’s issues.

The main provisions of these two reforms are:

  • No more jail sentence for breaching Employee Representatives’ Rights

It might seem inconceivable, but employers could be imprisoned for obstructing the functioning/the creation of employee representatives. The jail sentence is not applying anymore but financial penalties increased from 3,750 euros to 7,500 euros and to 15,000 euros for refusing any type of representative activities.

  • Only 3 man mandatory meetings with the representatives

Before the Rebsamen Law, the employer had to organize 17 meetings with the representatives per year! The Law reduced this number to 3 meetings related to (1) the strategic directions of the Company, (2) its financial situation and (3) the social situation.

  • New calculation of the staff number to implement the Works council

The Works council can be removed when there is less than 50 employees within the Company.

Before the Rebsamen Law, the workforce’s calculation was hard to understand and submitted to the judge appreciation.

The new rule makes it clear: when the Company did not reach 50 employees within 24 months, consecutive or not, within the last previous 3 years, the Works council can be removed.

  • Sunday hours

The Macron Law extends the numbers of open Sundays from 5 to 12 per year by local authority.

  • Night work

The night work is now from 10 pm to 6 am or 12 am to 7 am in designated tourist area.

  • The main reform : a cap on Labor Courts damages

An indicative scale of damages is fixed by the Macron Law to be allowed by the Courts to employee in case of a claim for unfair dismissal.

This scale is an enormous change as before it was totally conceivable to get condemned to a 36 month salary indemnity in case of an unfair dismissal.

It was also very difficult to anticipate the financial risk. Now Companies can at least have an idea of the amount they could be condemned to in case of litigation.

The Macron Law provides a maximum of indemnity (in months of salary)

These caps apply to the litigation introduced before the Macron Law enforcement (expected beginning of September 2015).

The principle of an indemnity cap was approved by the Constitutional Court but the criteria on which it is based were censured, considered as a violation of the French Constitution.  We are now waiting for the new criteria to be determined by decree.

We will keep you updated regarding the precisions added by decree for these two laws.


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