At this stage, the Bill for Economic Growth and Activity provides a set of measures aimed at significantly renewing Sunday rest (I). Some other parts of employment and labor law are also being reformed (II).

  1. EXEMPTIONS TO SUNDAY REST

The Bill for Economic Growth and Activity only reforms temporary exemptions. Permanent and conventional exemptions remain unchanged.

Temporary exemptions would be divided as follows:

  1. Exemptions granted by the Prefect

Some indefinite term exemptions are granted by the Prefect when the Sunday closure is likely to be damaging to the public or could compromise the normal functioning of the company. Such exemptions now are awarded for a maximum duration of three years.

  1. Exemptions on a geographical basis

Companies located in one of the following geographical areas will be authorized to waive the rule of Sunday rest:

  • Shops located in an international tourist zone like Champs-Elysées Avenue, Montaigne Avenue, or some districts in Cannes, Nice and Deauville;
  • Shops located in a tourist or commercial area like some districts of large cities as Paris, Lille or Marseille, where there are Sunday consumption patterns;
  • Shops in railway stations;
  • Food retailers: they remain subject to the existing labor provisions concerning the work on;
  • Sunday before 13:00; after 13:00, they must comply with the rules for the area where they are located.

To benefit from the exemption to Sunday rest, companies located in one of these areas, should be subject to a branch, a CBA to organize work on Sunday and set the compensatory measures granted to employees.

  1. Exemptions granted by the Mayor Every year before December 31st, the Mayor establishes for the next year a list of five Sundays that could be worked. The Mayor may add a maximum of seven other working Sundays. Thus, mayors could set up to 12 Sundays per year derogating from the rule of Sunday rest.
  1. OTHER MEASURES

The Bill for Ec conomiGrowth and Activity also reforms the rules on redundancies (A), employees’ shareholding (B) and the social dialogue within the company (C). 

  1. Redundancies

In the case of a social plan, French law requires that the employer prepares an “order of dismissals” whereby the employees to be made redundant are selected based on defined criteria. The employer must consult the Works Council on these criteria. According to the Bill, such criteria will be discussed and implemented by collective agreement or by a unilateral decision of the employer.

In companies with more than 50 employees, the Labor Inspectorate will no longer check whether Staff representatives have been effectively informed, nor the development of social measures, or their effectiveness when the company is planning on making 10 employees (or less) redundant within 30 days.

Under French law, the employer must look for every alternative employment within the company or the group, even outside of France. The Bill provides that the employer must only offer available positions located in France. For positions abroad, it will be for interested employees to request to receive offers of available positions. 

  1. Employees’ shareholding 

The Bill tries to improve corporate financing and provides for measures in favor of employees’ shareholding, which includes the reduction of taxation of free stocks (1) and stock options for company start-ups (2). 

  1. Free stocks

Free stocks held by an employee will be taxed as capital gains and, no longer as salary and wages. Therefore, employees will benefit from a reduction for duration of detention if the employee keeps his stocks for two years as of the date of final acquisition. After eight years, the reduction will reach 65%.

These free stocks will be subject to social security contributions. However, they will be exempt from the specific employee’s contribution of 10%. The employer contribution rate will decrease from 30% to 20% and be calculated and payable when vesting the stock options.

The Bill also reviews provisions on free stocks for small companies. Such companies will be exempted from the payment of employer’s social contributions up to the annual social security ceiling, per each employee.

  1. Stock options for company start-ups

Eligible corporations to the stock options for company start-ups and which are committed to creating subsidiaries and themselves eligible to the stock options for company start-ups, could grant stock options for company start-ups to the employees and officers of the new subsidiary. These provisions are subject to a condition of composition of capital.

The Bill confirms the non-deductibility of the CSG (“Contribution Sociale Généralisée,” a specific tax) on gains from the sale of stock options for company start-ups and companies with long term capital gains.

  1.  Appeasement of social dialogue

The authority of the judge overrides that of the labor inspector in the following areas:

  • consultation of the Works Council on the company policy pertaining to research and technological development;
  • distribution of staff in the electoral bodies and allocation of seats between the different categories of staff for the elections of the Works Council, the staff delegates and the Central Works Council;
  • recognition of a separate establishment;
  • exemptions relating to electoral conditions of the staff delegates.

In addition, two new obligations are borne by the employer: 

  • obligation to communicate as soon as possible the minutes of the results of the professional elections to trade unions which have submitted lists or have participated in the negotiation of the pre-electoral agreement;
  • obligation to put mandatory consultations on the Works Council’s agenda.