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Looking forward | The Macron Reforms: What it means for employers?

Looking forward | The Macron Reforms: What it means for employers?

Auteur : Flichy Grangé Avocats
Published on : 02/10/2017
This major reform will have the effect of rendering French labour law less opaque and overly technical for foreign businesses and employers in general. While preserving many of the key rules and safeguards that are pillars of the French system, the reforms nevertheless do away with the headache of minutiae that cause significant costs and hardship for multinationals: negotiation will be streamlined, dismissals have been simplified in some ways, without resorting to a “hire and fire at will” system, there’s a new ease to telecommuting, and much, much more.
 
On a collective level, the new ability for small companies to negotiate, even when there is no union representative is a huge increase in flexibility for employers.
 
Up to now there was much confusion for foreign employers regarding the organization of staff representation and their obligations and duties. There was, prior to the reform: the Works council, staff delegates, and the work health and safety committee. Now, these will all be merged into one institution. As a result, this reform will lessen the number of meetings and facilitate day-to-day operations for employers and streamline their communication with the staff.
 
The third major takeaway for employers is the scale set for indemnities in case of unfair dismissals. A minimum and maximum financial amount that bind the judge will now increase the likelihood of finding an agreement when there is a dispute. There will be less litigation and the costs of settlement agreements are likely to be significantly lower!
 
The new reform puts in place a harmonization of the deadlines for contesting a contract termination: one year.  This will definitely reduce the number of cases with employees from years back popping back up with claims about their employment; this will consequently offer some serenity to employers. Once a year is past, there’s no going back and lodging a claim.
 
In general the good news for employers is that rules that weighed down the business without actually helping employees have been reduced: there’s no need to look for a redeployment position for a dismissed French employee in a country abroad where they don’t even speak the language.
 
The reform finally brings France into the 21st century regarding connected devices in the workplace. The administration realizes that advantages of allowing employees to work from home or, in general, remotely. Home-office/telecommuting will now be easier and less expensive: the associated mandatory costs and paperwork has been repealed.  
 
Employers must be very careful to monitor the different dates at which these reforms will enter into force. Though the trend is leaning towards a greater opening of the market and the elimination of unnecessary burden, some of the fundamental French legal principles still remain.  

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