Comparative Guides

Welcome to Mondaq Comparative Guides - your comparative global Q&A guide.

Our Comparative Guides provide an overview of some of the key points of law and practice and allow you to compare regulatory environments and laws across multiple jurisdictions.

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4. Results: Answers
Labour and Employment
Employment rights and representations
What, if any, are the rights to parental leave, at either a national or local level?

Answer ... Female employees are entitled to maternity leave and male employees are also entitled to paid leave after the birth of a child. All employees are entitled to adoption leave in case of adoption of a child.

Employees may additionally be entitled to parental leave.

Leave is governed by both the French Labour Code and applicable collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).

For more information about this answer please contact: Emilie Ducorps-Prouvost from Soulier Avocats
How long does it last and what benefits are given during this time?

Answer ... As per the French Labour Code, an employee is entitled to 16 weeks of leave for the birth of her first or second child, with at least six of those weeks taken after the birth. The duration of maternity leave increases for a third child or in the case of multiple births.

Male employees are entitled to a total of 14 days’ paid leave after the birth of a child. In the case of multiple births, additional days are granted. An employee who adopts a child is entitled to 10 weeks’ leave. If the entitlement is shared between the parents, additional days are granted. The adoption leave may be increased depending on the number of dependent children within the family and the number of adopted children.

CBAs may set forth longer periods of leave.

While on leave, the employee receives a monthly allowance granted by the social security administration, to compensate for the loss of salary. Depending on the applicable CBA, however, the employer may be obliged to continue paying the usual salary of some categories of employees for the full duration of the leave.

An employee with at least one year’s service is entitled to parental leave for each child under three years of age. Parental leave is for a maximum initial one-year period, which may be renewed twice. An employee on parental leave may continue to work part time. Leave may be extended for an additional year if the child is seriously ill or disabled. Government benefits may be provided for employees who meet certain eligibility requirements.

For more information about this answer please contact: Emilie Ducorps-Prouvost from Soulier Avocats
Are trade unions recognised and what rights do they have?

Answer ... To be considered as representative within a company, a trade union must meet the following criteria:

  • respect of republican values;
  • independence;
  • financial transparency;
  • minimum seniority of two years in the relevant professional or geographical area;
  • minimum percentage of 10% of the votes cast at the last professional elections of the members of the social and economic committee (SEC). Further to recent legislative changes, the SEC has subsumed and superseded all previously existing employee representative bodies (ie, staff delegates, works council and hygiene, safety and working conditions committee). The SEC must be implemented by 1 January 2020 at the latest. If the SEC has not yet been established, the results taken into account will be those of the first round of the last professional elections of the permanent members of the works council or, if there is no works council, of the staff delegates;
  • influence, which is mainly characterised by activities and experience; and
  • the importance of membership and contributions received (Article L2121-1 of the French Labour Code).

Representative trade unions may appoint a trade union delegate to negotiate within the company. Also, representative trade unions which are called upon to negotiate the pre-election protocol may present candidates in the first round of professional elections and may also form a trade union section.

Outside the company, representative trade unions have the power to negotiate collective agreements, take legal action, assist employees in legal proceedings, take alternative actions for the benefit of employees and act in the collective interest of the profession.

For more information about this answer please contact: Emilie Ducorps-Prouvost from Soulier Avocats
How are data protection rules applied in the workforce and how does this affect employees’ privacy rights?

Answer ... The processing of employees’ personal data is governed by the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the French Data Protection Act. These rules impose obligations on the employer in its capacity as controller of employee data.

The processing of employees’ personal data must be legally justified. In particular, it is lawful if:

  • it is necessary for the performance of a contract (payroll management);
  • it is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the employer is subject (mandatory social returns/filings); or
  • the employee has expressly consented to such processing (this consent may be withdrawn at any time).

The employer must inform employees of the processing of their data, and in particular of:

  • the methods and purposes of such processing;
  • the period for which their data will be retained; and
  • the existence of rights such as the rights to access, rectify and delete their data.

The employer must ensure the security of this information through appropriate technical and organisational measures, and ensure that only authorised persons are aware of such data.

Employees have legal remedies if the employer fails to comply with its obligations. The employer may be subject to severe penalties (administrative fines ranging from 2% to 4% of its worldwide annual turnover).

For more information about this answer please contact: Emilie Ducorps-Prouvost from Soulier Avocats
Are contingent worker arrangements specifically regulated?

Answer ... The conditions for temporary work are strictly regulated by law. Temporary work involves the temporary loan of an employee by a temporary employment agency (TEA) to a user company for the performance of an assignment.

The law recognises a limited number of cases in which temporary work is permitted. In any event, the assignment contract may not have the effect of permanently filling a position that concerns the normal and permanent activity of the user company. Temporary work consists of a triangular relationship which gives rise to the conclusion of two contracts: a loan contract between the TEA and the user company, and a separate assignment contract concluded between the TEA and the temporary employee. No contract is concluded between the user company and the temporary employee.

The assignment contract may not exceed a maximum duration, which in principle is 18 months. Under certain conditions, the contract may be renewed without exceeding the maximum duration provided for by applicable legal provisions.

In this triangular relationship, some obligations are borne by the TEA (eg, the payment of remuneration), while others are borne by the user company (eg, occupational health and safety issues).

For more information about this answer please contact: Emilie Ducorps-Prouvost from Soulier Avocats