Zoom on the law “Labor”: working time, collective bargaining and dismissal on economic grounds

The law 2016-1088 dated August 8, 2016 on labor, modernization of labor relations and career path securing, commonly referred to as the ‘El Khomri law’, published in the French Official Journal on August 9, 2016, gives a new French labor Code structure: public order/collective bargaining area/supplementary provision.

A consistent law (100 pages, 123 Articles) – 3 key issues:

What are the main changes regarding working time?

In order to promote the collective bargaining, the law « Labor » provides for the principle of the supremacy of company-wide or site-wide collective bargaining agreement upon Industry-wide collective bargaining agreement in matter of work duration. For example, the company-wide collective bargaining agreement will be able to derogate regarding overtime, work at night and part time from the provisions of the Industry-wide collective bargaining agreement in that matters.

The law makes secure the recourse to working time arrangements in days or hours over the year by enabling the employer to complete the insufficient collective bargaining agreement provisions in matter of follow up procedure of employees’ work load.

A new framework on collective bargaining

The company-wide or site-wide collective bargaining agreement adopted by the unions representing the majority of employees becomes the principle. The approval of said collective bargaining agreement by referendum in case of blocking situation with unions is allowed. The law will enter in force gradually until September 1, 2019.

The collective bargaining rules are modified. Except contrary provision, the duration of collective bargaining agreements is from now on in principle 5 years and fixed term collective bargaining agreements that have expired will not be applicable anymore. Rules in matter of revocation, modification and termination of collective bargaining agreements are modified and allow only to unions that are representatives in the framework of the collective bargaining agreement concerned to engage those procedures.

The law allows a group-wide collective bargaining agreement to derogate to an industry-wide collective bargaining agreement without express provisions authorizing it. A group-wide collective bargaining agreement will be able to supersede a company-wide or site-wide collective bargaining agreement.

One other important addition: the law ends rules on individual acquired rights (except regarding remuneration).

Dismissal on economic grounds becomes clearer

In order to increase legal certainty, the law specifies in the French labor Code criteria and indicators in order to define the notion of economic difficulties.

Véronique Child

Véronique is a Partner and heads the Legal department including Business Law and Employment law. She started her carreer in 1988. She leads a team of twenty lawyers within the […]

Malik Douaoui

Malik Douaoui, Partner, has more than 20 years’ experience in social law. He advises his clients in individual and collective relationships management, as well as on the social aspects of […]

Nathalie Guézet

Nathalie Guézet, Partner, heads the Labor and security social law team within the Lyon office. She advises companies and worldwide groups on all aspects of labor law and social security […]