Social Reforms Announced By Emmanuel Macron's Government

Author:Ms Mariëlle Daudt, Chantal Biernaux, Dr. Markus Kappenhagen, Georg Mikes, Mark Taylor, Jesús Gimeno, Adelio Riva, Luca Allevi, Jean-Michel Bobillo, Emmanuelle Rivez-Domont, Michael Gray, Matthew W. Lampe and Friederike Steininger
Profession:Jones Day

 A bill aimed at enabling the government to legislate on many areas of labour and employment law (and tax matters) through government ordinances—as opposed to the longer process before French Parliament—has been adopted by the Parliament in early August, approved by the French Constitutional Court in early September, and will be shortly enacted mid-September. The bill provides several key areas for the adoption of ordinances by the government.

The government has issued these ordinances, and they are likely to be adopted around the end of September. These ordinances will bring various changes to labour and employment regulations in France, mostly intended to provide flexibility and to simplify and rationalize those regulations. Among the key areas concerned will be the following:

Articulation Between Company-Wide and Sector-Wide Collective Bargaining Agreements. This subject is key since it is aimed at giving some flexibility to employers and enabling them to negotiate at the company level in areas which are usually established at the sector level. The government proposes to: (i) define the areas in which company-wide collective bargaining agreements may not override the provisions of sector-wide collective bargaining agreements; (ii) define the areas and conditions under which sector-wide collective bargaining agreements could expressly prohibit amendment by company-wide collective bargaining agreement; and (iii) recognize in other areas the primacy of company-wide collective bargaining agreements.

Simplification of Employee Representative Bodies. The merger of the employee representative bodies at the level of each company (i.e. Staff Delegates, Works Councils and Health and Safety Committees) into a single body (the "Economic and Social Council") is also a key subject. In this context, the draft ordinances define, notably: (i) the conditions for setting up, the headcount thresholds to take into account, the composition,...

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