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End of the lockdown in France: what are the precautions for employers operating in France?

On 7 May, the French Prime Minister announced the date chosen for the start of the “de-confinement” phase for France, namely 11 May 2020.

The lockdown, which started on 17 March, lasted almost 2 months during which some shops and businesses were closed, and the vast majority of companies operated on the basis of remote working. The lockdown weighed heavily on the national economy, with 12.2 million employees now covered by the short-time working scheme (i.e. six out of ten jobs in the private sector).

While public health has obviously been the government’s primary consideration in setting the plan to … Continue Reading

La France sort du confinement : Quelles précautions pour les employeurs ?

Le 7 mai dernier, le Premier Ministre a annoncé la date retenue pour le début de la phase de déconfinement des Français dans le cadre du plan de lutte contre le Covid-19, à savoir le 11 mai 2020.

Le confinement, qui a commencé  le 17 mars dernier, aura duré près de 2 mois durant lesquels certains commerces et entreprises ont été fermés, et la grande majorité des entreprises a fonctionné sur la base du télétravail. Le confinement aura lourdement pesé sur l’économie nationale, 12,2 millions de salariés étant aujourd’hui couverts par le dispositif du chômage partiel (soit six emplois sur … Continue Reading

France implements new social measures to face the pandemic

The first COVID-19 cases appeared in France a few weeks ago and French people have been in lockdown since March 17. The repercussions of this pandemic are significant, and the Government has been authorized, by Emergency Act No. 2020-290 of 23 March 2020, to take measures through ordinances (which means that no debate is required before Parliament, and the ordinances are voted directly by the Council of Ministers).

Several ordinances on employment-related matters were adopted by the Council of Ministers on 27 March 2020, and published. A decree was also issued to extend the rules of reduction in activity (short-time … Continue Reading

La France face à la pandémie : les mesures sociales s’organisent

Le COVID-19 a fait son apparition en France il y a quelques semaines déjà et les Français sont confinés depuis le 17 mars dernier. Les répercussions de cette pandémie sont importantes, et le Gouvernement a été autorisé, par la loi n° 2020-290 du 23 mars 2020 d’urgence pour faire face à l’épidémie de covid-19, à prendre des mesures par voie d’ordonnance.

Plusieurs ordonnances ont été adoptées en Conseil des ministres le 27 mars 2020, et publiées au Journal Officiel, en matière sociale. Un décret est venu élargir les règles de l’activité partielle. De nouvelles ordonnances sont par ailleurs venues compléter … Continue Reading

France combats the pandemic

Since January 2020, Coronavirus COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the world, causing massive disruption to business and everyday life as well as thousands of deaths.

The French Government has reacted in several stages. After issuing recommendations for barrier measures, it decided to close schools and more recently, it ordered the general confinement of French people and the closure of many establishments deemed non-essential in order to protect public health. The Government’s latest recommendations for employers can be found here (available in French only).

Consequently, for companies operating in France, three types of employees can be distinguished (excluding sick employees, who … Continue Reading

Comment faire face au Coronavirus en France?

Depuis le mois de janvier 2020, l’épidémie de Coronavirus COVID-19 s’est rapidement propagée à travers le monde, causant des milliers de décès.

Le Gouvernement français a réagi en plusieurs temps : après avoir émis des recommandations en matière de gestes barrière, il a ensuite pris la décision de fermer écoles et établissements accueillant des enfants, puis plus récemment a été ordonné le confinement généralisé de la population française et la fermeture de nombreux établissements jugés non indispensables, afin d’assurer la santé publique. Les dernières recommandations du Gouvernement pour les employeurs peuvent être consultées ici.

Dès lors, pour les entreprises ayant … Continue Reading

Germany: An Employer’s duties dealing with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – Q&A

COVID-19 is spreading across the world and companies everywhere are faced with its challenges. In circumstances where a COVID-19 case impacts your German workplace we recommend close coordination with the public health authority on how to proceed. In doing so – especially against a possible liability for illness or even death – it will show that you, as an employer, have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that you have protected your employees. For further guidance please check our Q&A list:

1. Can employees be forced to take unpaid leave or flexitime or to reduce their working hours?

There is … Continue Reading

De nouvelles obligations pour les plateformes de mise en relation

Les plateformes de mise en relation (comme Uber ou Deliveroo), qui sont de plus en plus utilisées en France, font pourtant l’objet de nombreuses critiques, principalement fondées sur les conditions de travail des travailleurs indépendants qu’elles utilisent dans le cadre de leur activité.

Le Gouvernement français s’est donné pour mission d’encadrer l’activité de ces plateformes, en particulier en ce qui concerne leur responsabilité vis-à-vis de ces travailleurs indépendants.

La loi Travail du 8 août 2016 a créé, au sein du Code du travail, une partie dédiée aux travailleurs utilisant ces plateformes, et a mis à la charge des plateformes une … Continue Reading

Gender pay gap: a new measuring tool

Since 1972, there have been numerous laws on professional equality between men and women but the gender pay gap remains a crucial issue which has not been resolved yet.

The parliament voted a new law on 5th September 2018 creating an index to be used to measure the gender pay gap in companies.

Since 1st January 2019, there has been an obligation to assess the gender pay gap in each company with at least 50 employees through the use of the index. The methodology adopted is to allocate a certain number of points based on the following criteria:

  • Comparison of
Continue Reading

France: Le harcèlement sexuel susceptible d’être exclu en cas d’attitude ambigüe de la victime

Le harcèlement sexuel est défini, dans le Code du travail, par « des propos ou comportements à connotation sexuelle répétés qui soit portent atteinte à [la] dignité [du salarié] en raison de leur caractère dégradant ou humiliant, soit créent à son encontre une situation intimidante, hostile ou offensante ».

Le Code du travail prévoit également une assimilation aux faits constitutifs de harcèlement pour « toute forme de pression grave, même non répétée, exercée dans le but réel ou apparent d’obtenir un acte de nature sexuelle, que celui-ci soit recherché au profit de l’auteur des faits ou au profit d’un Continue Reading

France: Provocative acts do not necessarily fall within the scope of sexual harassment if the victim’s behaviour is ambiguous

The French employment Code defines sexual harassment as “repeated sexual comments or conduct that either violate the [employee’s] dignity because of their degrading or humiliating nature or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive situation against the employee“.

The French employment Code also assimilates to sexual harassment “any form of serious pressure, even non-repeated, exercised for the real or apparent purpose of obtaining an act of a sexual nature, whether it is sought for the benefit of the perpetrator or for the benefit of a third party“.

However, on 25 September 2019, the French Supreme Court (Cour … Continue Reading

La perte de contrôle d’un camion par un salarié n’exclut pas la faute de l’employeur

Dans le cadre de leurs missions, les salariés doivent respecter l’ensemble des règles (notamment de sécurité) applicables. En particulier, les chauffeurs routiers sont astreints au respect du Code de la Route.

Mais l’employeur est également responsable de la sécurité de ses salariés et, si l’obligation de sécurité n’est désormais plus une obligation de résultat, il n’en demeure pas moins que la responsabilité de l’employeur peut être engagée au titre de l’obligation de sécurité lorsque celui-ci a manqué à ses obligations à ce titre.

Dans le cadre de cette affaire, le salarié, chauffeur d’un poids lourd, avait perdu le contrôle de … Continue Reading

France: The complex consequences of the occurrence of gross misconduct during the notice period

The general rule under French law is that when employment contracts are terminated, employees are entitled to a prior notice period, the length of which depends on the status of the employee (executive or non-executive), their length of service, and in some cases their age.

The applicable rules are generally set by the sector-wide collective bargaining agreement (a large majority of employers in France are subject to such collective bargaining agreements).

Employees may either be asked to work during their notice period, or be released from working during it. In the latter case, they are entitled to receive their full … Continue Reading

Death during sexual intercourse qualified as a work-related accident

During a business trip to a construction site, an employee was found dead of a heart attack in a room after having had sexual intercourse with a “complete stranger” he met during the day. The employer completed the usual formalities by informing the social security authorities of the death and the circumstances. The social security authorities decided to treat the death as being work-related, which was contested by the employer.

The company’s arguments before the Paris Court of Appeal were as follows:

– the employee’s death occurred when he had knowingly interrupted his mission for a personal reason, independent of … Continue Reading

What are an employer’s chances of overcoming an employee’s claim for overtime in France ?

The basic working time arrangement in France is 35 hours per week, and although there are a number of alternative working time arrangements potentially available, this is still the one that applies to the majority of French employees. However, this is not a maximum working week – employees working beyond that amount are entitled to overtime.

Employers must be able to prove the actual number of hours worked by their employees and must therefore ensure such hours are properly recorded. In the absence of proper records, the employer may have difficulties in overcoming a claim for overtime payments made by … Continue Reading

Alcohol at work: can the employer apply a zero tolerance policy?

A decision of the Supreme Administrative Court (“Conseil d’Etat”) of 8th July 2019 has overruled the decision of a work inspector (“inspecteur du travail”) who had rejected a zero tolerance policy regarding the consumption of alcohol during working hours for certain classes of employees in a company.

The case concerned a company specializing in the manufacture of automotive equipment which decided to revise its internal employee regulations to include a clause totally prohibiting the consumption of alcohol for certain categories of employee such as machine operators, lift platform users, electricians and mechanics.

By law the internal … Continue Reading

Plafonnement des dommages intérêts en cas de licenciement injustifié : la rébellion se poursuit

La Cour de cassation vient de déclarer conforme aux engagements internationaux de la France, le « barème Macron » qui plafonne les indemnités attribuées par un juge en cas de licenciement sans cause réelle et sérieuse.

Avant l’entrée en vigueur du « barème Macron », en cas de licenciement sans cause réelle et sérieuse , il appartenait au juge de fixer l’indemnisation visant à réparer le préjudice du salarié. Or, si la loi prévoyait un minimum d’indemnisation de 6 mois de salaire lorsqu’un salarié avait au moins deux ans d’ancienneté et travaillait dans une entreprise d’au moins 11 salariés, … Continue Reading

The strict conditions that must be complied with to pay variable remuneration in France

Whilst an employer is perfectly free to offer variable remuneration to an employee, the validity of such remuneration is subject to compliance with a number of conditions developed by the courts, as follows:

– the variation of the remuneration must be based on objectives or targets the accomplishment of which are independent from the employer’s will,

– such variation may not transfer the company’s operating risk onto the employee,

– it cannot result in reducing the total remuneration of the employee below the legal minimum wage.

If any of the conditions is not met, the clause is deemed to be … Continue Reading

Loi Pacte : Que faut-il en attendre dans les relations employeurs / salariés ?

La loi « Pacte » (Loi relative à la croissance et la transformation des entreprises) a été adoptée en lecture définitive par l’Assemblée Nationale le 11 avril dernier, après de longs mois de débats devant l’Assemblée Nationale et le Sénat.

Elle a fait l’objet d’un recours devant le Conseil Constitutionnel, saisi le 16 avril dernier. Les commentaires ci-dessous sont donc sous réserve de la décision de cette instance.

Le but affiché de cette loi est de donner aux entreprises, notamment les TPE, ETI et PME, les moyens d’innover, de se transformer, de grandir et de créer des emplois. Cependant, cette … Continue Reading

French employment law : Key developments expected for 2019

The French authorities have been very prolific in the area of effecting reforms to employment law, and 2019 will not be an exception to this general rule (although perhaps less so than was the case in 2017 and 2018).

First, in 2019, a certain number of reforms promulgated in 2017 and 2018 will either come into force become fully effective:

  • As of January 2019, all companies have become subject to the requirement to withhold income tax from salaries paid to their employees. This change had been under discussion for a fairly long time and was initially planned to enter into
Continue Reading

The beginning of a revolution (by the French lower courts) ?

French President Emmanuel Macron implemented a significant reform of the French employment code in late 2017, with the intention of providing employers greater flexibility and predictability in managing labour relations.

One of the most controversial measures was the creation of a grid applicable to the amount of indemnities due to employees for unfair dismissal, setting minima and maxima as a function of the length of service of the employee and the headcount of the employing entity.

Prior to the adoption of the grid, courts were free to determine the amount of damages payable to unfairly dismissed employees based on the … Continue Reading

What happens a firm’s internal regulations following a TUPE transfer ?

Under French employment law, the application of TUPE regulations triggers specific consequences not only with regard to an employee’s employment contract, which is transferred automatically by operation of law, but also on the employees’ collective status.

In this respect, a recent decision of the French Supreme Court has specified what happens to a company’s internal regulations (règlement intérieur) in the event of a TUPE transfer.

It should be recalled that the promulgation of internal regulations is compulsory in companies employing at least 20 employees and the purpose of such document is to cover specific topics, essentially health and safety rules, … Continue Reading

Decision of the French Supreme Court of 28th November 2018 : Does it spell the doom of the gig economy?

The term « gig economy » has come into use to describe segmented jobs governed by “apps”. Drivers, riders, cleaners rely on a “digital platform” to be put in contact with clients and their jobs do not seem to fall precisely within the parameters of laws designed to deal with the traditional subordination relationship of employee to employer, for example because they are free to accept or decline a request for work and because it is often a side job conducted at the same time as another activity.

In France, the business model of such platform relies on the individual … Continue Reading

Dismissal for misconduct cannot be based (solely) on anonymous reports

Anonymous reports have been mistrusted for a number of years in France, for historical reasons. While anonymity enables individuals to raise their voice more openly, without being the targets of retaliation measures, it can also drift into slander.

This explains a specificity of French law under which whistleblowers using ethicals lines are strongly encouraged to disclose their identity since generally speaking, , anonymous reports are not acceptable (although a limited number of exceptions are available).

It is only very recently that the French Supreme Court had to resolve a case involving an employee dismissed on the basis of anonymous reports.… Continue Reading

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