• Labour Law Reform
  • November 9, 2016 | Authors: Chantal Biernaux; Mariëlle E.B.C. Daudt; Markus Kappenhagen; Georg Mikes; Mark Taylor
  • Law Firms: Jones Day - Brussels Office ; Jones Day - Amsterdam Office ; Jones Day - Düsseldorf Office ; Jones Day - Frankfurt am Main Office ; Jones Day - London Office
  • In early spring 2016, the French government put a bill before Parliament proposing reforms to French labour law. The intention was to introduce more flexibility to French labour law and become more "employer-friendly". The proposals in the bill were controversial and sparked protests and strikes across both public and private sectors. Finally, after months of debate, the new laws were enacted in August 2016. The law (2016-1088) introduced numerous changes to the French Labour Code, mainly to give more freedom in collective bargaining and to provide more flexibility to companies.

    Notably, company-wide collective bargaining agreements will now prevail over sector-wide collective bargaining agreements in several areas relating to working time, such as overtime, overnight work and daily rests.

    As a safeguard against attempts to use the law to reduce collective guarantees negotiated at the company/establishment level, a "right of review" is introduced at the branch/industry level. This will be through a committee that will prepare annual appraisals of the company-wide collective bargaining agreements entered into within the branch/industry on the issue of working time.

    The law also contains various other changes to statutory provisions pertaining to employee representatives, dismissal for economic reasons, professional training and health care, in keeping with the overall intention to bring more flexibility to French labour law.