Professional negotiations

The law of August 4, 2014 for true equality between men and women has merged the two existing mandatory annual negotiations (négociations annuelles obligatoires - NAO) in companies having more than 50 employees. Indeed, before the recent law, companies were required, on the one hand, to conduct a negotiation on the objectives of professional equality and, on the other hand, to address the issue of the pay gap between men and women during the mandatory annual negotiation on remuneration. There is now only a single negotiations process regarding professional and salary equality that focuses on the conditions of access to employment, to professional training, and to professional promotion, on career development, on working and employment conditions and in particular, those of part-time employees, on the articulation between professional and personal life, on employment desegregation as well as on measures allowing to eliminate the pay gap between men and women.

This negotiation should be based upon a report published in the company's economic and social database ("base de données économiques et sociales" - BDES), as well as upon the economic situation report in companies of less than 300 employees and also upon the compared situation report ("rapport de situation compare" - RSC) in companies of more than 300 employees. This report must analyze the respective situation of men and women with regards to health and security at work, pay gaps, career development according to age, qualification and seniority and must include the gender promotion indicator by functions.

If the company does not comply with this obligation to negotiate or if it is found that discriminatory measures are applied, it could in particular be prohibited from entering into public procurement contracts.

Parental education leave

The parental education leave allows any employee, having at least one year of seniority within the company, whether they be the mother or the father of the child, to benefit from a leave or a working time reduction in order to take care of their child of less than three years (less than sixteen years in case of adoption) with the guarantee to be re-employed in the same or similar functions after the leave. The parental leave is of an initial duration of one year which is renewable twice until the child is three years old.

The law of August 4, 2014 for true equality between men and women has reformed parental leave for children born or adopted after October 1, 2014. The aim of the law is in particular to encourage fathers to benefit from their parental leave as well and to favor the return of mothers to the workplace. The "free choice of activity allowance" ("complément de libre choix d'activité") which may be given during the parental leave by the Family allowance fund ("Caisses d'allocations familiales" CAF ) has now become the "shared child education allowance" ("Prestation partagée d'éducation de l'enfant"). Part of that allowance is now transferable to the second parent. The period during which the allowance is given will therefore be reduced if only one of the two parents requests it and extended if both parents exercise their rights.

From now on, the parent on parental leave can receive this allowance during 2.5 years at most and this can be extended for 6 months if the other parent takes over.

Father's rights

The father of a newborn child is now protected against dismissal during the four weeks following the birth of the child, except in case of serious misconduct or for an element unrelated to the birth.

The husband/companion/partner of a pregnant woman is also now allowed to be absent from work for three antenatal medical examinations. These authorized absences are considered as effective working time with regards to seniority and for the calculation of accrued paid vacation. Most importantly, the employee must not face a reduction in salary due to these absences.

Promotion of professional equality

The law of August 4, 2014 has created a new continuous training scheme, within the company, at the initiative of the employer or of the employee that includes the promotion of gender diversity in companies, the awareness of the struggle against sexist stereotypes and of the struggle for professional equality.

What now?

There still is a long way to go before we reach professional equality. Indeed, a report requested by the French President submitted on April 25, 2014 (Mestrallet report) advocates that gender diversity should be a national employment cause in 2015. Gender diversity in employment must not only encourage equal opportunities and non-discrimination but also make the labor market more open and fair.

Numbers of the month

25%

Is the percentage of the average gap between a man and a woman's salary.

45

Is the number of sanctions taken in 2014 against French companies that did not respect their obligations related to professional equality.