The lump sum agreement in days, known as "forfait jours", allows for high level executive employees ("cadres") to work without counting their workhours. Instead, their working time is counted in days over the course of the year. This is better suited to the autonomous managers with varying schedules, important responsibilities, and who cannot realistically be kept to a 35 hour workweek. Instead, the employee working under the lump sum agreement can work 218 days in the year. This is convenient for employers and avoids the headaches of overtime and tracking every working minute.
It's a great instrument that must be used with caution.
Below are rules to keep in mind when using a lump sum agreement, in order to reduce the risk of the agreement being invalidated.
- Do make sure that the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that applies to the company provides for the possibility to use a lump sum agreement. Indeed, not all sectors and industries allow for this!
- Do make sure that it is appropriate to use this sort of arrangement, given the employee's grade and level of responsibility.
- Don't make the mistake of thinking that a lump sum agreement allows you to forego monitoring an employee's working time. Working time is counted in days but has to be monitored.
- Do make sure that your employee's remuneration is enough to meet the minimum requirements for using a lump sum agreement. Many CBA's provide for a wage increase if the employee's working time is counted in days. (Example: the Syntec CBA provides for a 20% wage increase).
- Don't forget to formalize this working time arrangement. The employee must be fully aware that this scheme applies to him.
- Do put in place a monitoring system to ensure that the employee is not being overworked. This should include two annual meetings to discuss working time and work/personal life balance.
- Don't let employees go past the absolute maximum daily and weekly working time limits. The lump sum agreement is not an excuse to totally deregulate working time!
- Do track the days that are worked, in order to respect the provisions of the applicable CBA and the employment contract.