The main changes introduced by the Law on social dialogue and employment ("Rebsamen Law") of August 17, 2015, are the following:
Simplification of collective negotiation
As of January 1st 2016, all of the Works Council negotiation obligations will be grouped into three groups :
- annual negotiation on remuneration, working time and distribution of profits;
- annual negotiation on equality between men and women at work as well as quality of work life; and
- negotiation every three years on employment and career paths, in companies with at least 300 employees.
The exact areas and topics covered by each of these groups are detailed by the Law.
Grouping of the Works Council information-consultation obligations
With respect to the information-consultation, the Law has grouped recurring Works Council information-consultation into 3 main categories:
- consultation on strategic directions and their consequences;
- consultation on the company's economic and financial situation; and
- consultation on social policy, working conditions and employment.
Modernization of the employees representative meetings
It is now possible to organize only one meeting regarding any issue concerning more than one employee representative body. Moreover, the meeting of the employee representatives may, under certain conditions, be held by way of videoconference. In the future, the minutes of the meeting will have to be completed within a specific timeframe, yet to be determined by decree.
Grouping and simplification of employee representation
When companies exceed the threshold of 50 employees, employers now have one year starting from this date to create the Works Council.
Subject to a majority collective agreement, it is now possible, in companies with at least 300 employees, to regroup 2 or 3 of the following organizations within a joint body: Works Council, Employee Delegates and Health, Safety and Work Conditions Committee ("CHSCT").
A similar mechanism is proposed to companies with 99 to 300 employees since they may now regroup various employee representative organizations, including the CHSCT, within a sole employee representative body ("Délégation unique du personnel" or "DUP"). Although the "DUP" already existed, it was only available for companies with at least 200 employees and did not include the CHSCT.
Two renewals of fixed-term employment agreements
Fixed-term employment agreements may now be renewed twice (instead of just once). However the maximum legal period of 18 to 24 months, as the case may be, still applies.
A "burn out" is now an occupational disease
Although this will be fine-tuned shortly, "burn out", as well as other psychological illnesses, will be recognized more easily as an occupational disease.