Setting up an internal regulation in France
Published on : 29/11/2023 29 November Nov 11 2023
• The internal rules and regulations are mandatory document for companies or establishments employing at least 50 employees for 12 consecutive months. Setting up this document is imperative. Otherwise, the employer will not be able to enforce the disciplinary sanctions provided for in this document. In other words, no disciplinary sanction (other than dismissal) can be taken against an employee if it is not provided for in the company's internal rules and regulations (e.g. suspension, warning, etc.).
• The content of the internal rules and regulations is regulated by law. In principle, the company's internal rules and regulations must contain a certain number of mandatory clauses, such as: the rules of discipline in the company and the nature and extent of sanctions; a reminder of the provisions relating to the employees’ rights of defense in the event of disciplinary proceedings; the rules of protection of whistleblowers; measures to prohibit and prevent moral and sexual harassment.
• Some non-mandatory clauses may also be included: prohibition of smoking and vaping; freedom of dress or, on the contrary, proportionate restrictions justified by the nature of the work; a clause of political, religious or opinion neutrality, search of lockers, etc.
• Do not forget to consult the Social and Economic Committee (CSE) before sending the internal rules and regulations to the labor inspectorate, under penalty of criminal sanctions. Note, however, that the CSE’s negative opinion does not prevent you from proceeding with the drafting of the internal rules and regulations. This opinion will be sent to the labor inspector, who will thus be aware of the CSE’s negative opinion.
• Finally, the company's internal rules and regulations are written in French, although they may be accompanied by translations in other languages in the case of the recruitment of foreign employees.
• The internal rules and regulations must be made known to all employees and, more generally, to all persons having access to the premises (temporary workers, trainees, etc.). This can be done in several ways: displaying the internal regulations in the premises, publishing them on the intranet, giving employees a paper copy when they are hired, etc.
• The internal rules and regulations must not contain clauses that are contrary to laws or regulations, or clauses that are contrary to or less favorable than collective agreements, such as the clause that provides for the opening of employees' private mail, in violation of the secrecy of correspondence provided for by the Penal Code.
• It may not contain provisions that restrict the individual and collective rights and freedoms of employees beyond what is justified by the nature of the task to be performed and proportionate to the objective sought. For example, the internal rules and regulations may require the wearing of a garment or badge for security reasons, but it cannot require all employees to present an official document.
• And, of course, it cannot include discriminatory provisions.
• The modification of the internal rules and regulations is subject to the same procedure as their drafting: do not forget to consult your CSE and to send the suggested modification to the labor inspector.
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