News - France

France - March 2016

Simplification of social dialogue with employee representatives

The French Social Dialogue and Employment Act, published on 24 March 2016, facilitates the combination of employee representative bodies in order to improve and simplify discussions, negotiations and joint actions in companies.  

What has changed?

Prior to the reform, only companies with between 50 and 200 employees could combine their employee representative bodies into a Single Staff Delegation (a single common representative body, or ‘DUP’).  The DUP could also only include the Employee Delegates (who are responsible for the application of Labour Law within the company) and the Works Council (which deals with the working conditions of the company and the organisation of social and cultural activities).  The Health and Safety Committee (responsible for all aspects relating to health, safety, security and working conditions of employees) had to remain separate.

The Act broadens the scope of the DUP and now allows companies with less than 300 employees to combine their employee representative bodies into a DUP and to include the Health and Safety Committee.

In addition, companies with 300 employees or more can now also combine two or three of these employee representative bodies through the adoption of a majority collective agreement.

In both cases, the rights and responsibilities of the combined bodies remain unchanged. 

What does this mean for my company?

This legislation affects companies with at least one establishment located in France.  In companies with less than 300 employees, the employer may decide to set up a DUP in accordance with the new law or renew one of the employee representative bodies (as representatives are elected for 4 years).

In companies with 300 employees and more, the employer will have to negotiate the combination of either two or three of the representatives bodies mentioned above.

Although this is not mandatory, it can be implemented as an effective way to reduce the number of employee representatives, and in turn, the administrative burden of organising multiple meetings. 

Further information

For further information or to discuss how we can help simplify social dialogue within your company, please contact Nicolas Chenevoy on +33 1 85 08 84 50, Fidere Avocats.

Further reading

Workplace representation in France (English) 

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