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Macron Delivers on Promise to Prioritize Agenda for French Employment Law Changes

Authors: Karine Audouze (Paris), Rebecca L. Marks (Boston)

Published Date: June 14, 2017

When Emmanuel Macron was campaigning, he said that if elected, he would revise French employment laws. It looks like President Macron will act on his promise.

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, the French government issued its Program for the Renovation of the French Social Model.

The government announced that 6 reforms would be implemented within the next 18 months:

  1. Aligning employment goals with economic performance by adapting the current labor law to company needs
  2. Improving the purchasing power of employees by reducing certain employees’ social security contributions (effective on January 1, 2018)
  3. Efficiently strengthening professional training (effective in 2018)
  4. Granting unemployment benefits to independent contractors and employees who resign from their positions (effective as of the summer of 2018)
  5. Improving the apprenticeship program in order to increase job placements for workers under 25 years old
  6. Overhauling the current pension system (in 2018)

The French government indicated that the implementation of those reforms would be done in close cooperation with the national unions through a negotiation process including over 40 meetings scheduled between June of 2017 and August of 2017. 

The draft law is scheduled to be on the agenda of the government on June 28, 2017. The legislature will review and vote on the law during the summer of 2017, and the ordinances are to be published by the end of the summer of 2017.

The newly-formed government indicated that the dialogue with the unions will focus on three main areas:

  1. reconciling company-level agreements and branch collective bargaining agreements with a view to expanding company collective negotiation;
  2. simplifying the dialogue with the labor force (e.g., merging workers’ representative bodies within companies); and
  3. clarifying the work relationship both for employees and employers (e.g., by capping damages in the labor courts for unfair dismissals).

The final round of the legislative elections in France will be held on June 18, 2017, and the outcome of such elections will determine President Macron's ability to make these ambitious changes to employment laws in France.

Karine Audouze  (Paris)

Karine Audouze
Karine Audouze is the Managing Partner of the Ogletree Deakins Paris office. Karine advises clients on hiring / terminating senior executives, redundancies, international employee transfers and employment issues as part of sale and merger deals. Karine acts mostly for international groups with a presence in France with a particular focus on the TMT sector. She also handles individual and collective employment litigation. Karine is Secretary of the Discrimination and Equality Law Committee of the...

Rebecca L. Marks  (Boston)

Rebecca L. Marks
Rebecca Marks is a member of the International Practice Group, which provides worldwide labor and employment law support in over 100 countries. Her expertise includes crafting practical, business-centric advice on international employment issues for U.S. management of multinational corporations. She supports U.S. human resources internationally and helps educate clients about the differences between US at-will employment law and the employee-centric laws of most of the rest of the world. She...