A new obligation  for small and mid-size companies: implementation of an economic and social data base ("BDES")

The "BDES" database should contain all information regarding the company's economic and social orientations and must be  made available to the employees representatives in order for them to have a clear and general view of the company's economic and social situation.

Progressive implementation and completion

The BDES must be implemented in:

  • companies with at least 300 employees, since June 14, 2014
  • companies with between 50 and 299 employees, as of June 14, 2015.

French law provides that for the time being, the BDES must only contain the information which is necessary in the scope of the consultation on the company's strategic orientations. However, no later than December 31, 2016. The BDES should contain all information listed below which must be communicated to the Works Council on a regular basis.

Content

The BDES must contain:

  1. information which provide a general overview of the company's overall situation.
  2. all reports, balance sheets, and all information which must be communicated to the Works Council on a regular basis (the BDES will replace the above information communicated to the Works Council).

The BDES must progressively contain all the above information regarding (i) the current year; (ii) the previous two years; and (iii) forecasts for the subsequent three years.

Format

The BDES can be implemented in paper-form or in electronic form. For example, access to the BDES through a password via the company's intranet portal is a possibility.

The information must be classified in 8 themes as follows :

  • Investments (personnel and financial);
  • Equity, debt and tax;
  • Remuneration (employees and corporate officers);
  • Cultural and social activities;
  • Payments made to investors/funders;
  • Financial aid benefitting the company;
  • Outsourcing, use of subcontractors;
  • Intragroup commercial and financial transfers.

Documents containing information regarding more than one of the above themes (e.g., the annual social report), must be "split" so that its content are dispatched in the relevant themes.

Access

The BDES must be made accessible to all members of the Works Council, and also, as the case may be, to the members of the Central Works Council and/or to the Establishment Works Councils, to the members of the Health and Safety committee ("CHSCT"), the Labor Inspector and the Labor Doctor, as well as Union Delegates.

Penalty

The legal provisions do not provide for a particular penalty in the absence of implementation of the BDES. However, since the BDES is a tool which must assist the employee representatives in the carrying out of their mission, the absence of implementation is likely to expose the company and its legal representatives to sanctions for having hindered the employee representatives' rights ("délit d'entrave").