Emmanuel Macron has demonstrated a genuine desire to reform France. During his time in the government as Minister of the Economy, he put in place a law that bears his name whose goal was to facilitate economic activity and promote growth. He has tackled sensitive subjects in labor law such as the capping of dismissal indemnities without real and serious cause and economic dismissals.
Elected to the Presidency of the French Republic on Sunday, we can ask ourselves what he proposes for France in regards to employment and labour matters.
His electoral program contains many proposals concerning employment and labor law. Most notably, in terms of jobs, he wishes to:
- reduce employers' social contributions by 6 points and up to 10 points for the lowest wages;
- restore the exemptions from social contributions (both for employers and employees) on overtime;
- create "emplois francs" jobs : When a company, wherever it is located, hires a resident from one of the underprivileged neighborhoods on a permanent contract, it will receive a premium of 15 000 euros, spread out over the first three years. On fixed-term contracts, the premium will be € 5,000 over the first two years.
- penalize employers who abuse the use of short-term contracts (they would have to pay more social contributions). Those who create stable jobs would pay less.
In the field of labor law, he proposes to:
- Merge the representative bodies of the staff in all companies, unless there is a collective agreement to the contrary, which should limit the number of staff representatives and the multiplication of meetings.
- Accelerate professional and wage equality in companies. In particular, the state Defender of Rights will be responsible for large-scale random checks on wage and human resources policies, and will make the results of such checks public.
- Strengthen company negotiations by continuing to broaden the scope of negotiations at this level: the fundamental principles (legal working time, professional equality, minimum wage, etc.) would remain set out in the law. However, actual schedules or work organization would be negotiated at a much lower level, closer to the company. They would be defined by majority agreement or company referendum on the basis of an agreement;
- Introduce a mandatory ceiling for redundancy payments without any real or serious cause. This provision had been provided for in the Macron law of 6 August 2015, but the Constitutional Council had censored the criterion of the company’s staff number to modulate the ceiling. The Council did, however, allow for the principle of a cap.
During his election campaign, Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to reform labor law very quickly by ordonnances, the empowerment of the Executive by the Parliament which allows the former to take measures that are then ratified by Parliament. Mr. Macron is keenly aware of the important roadblocks in French society, such as the overly long decision processes, the extensive debates over texts in parliament, and therefore wishes to shorten the timelines in order to promote greater efficiency.
But this still requires an authorization from Parliament. Obtaining a majority in Parliament in the upcoming legislative elections set for June 10 and 17 is therefore essential in order for the newly elected president to properly implement his reforms.