The final version of the bill ratifying the Macron ordinances (Article 3 Ter) provides employers the option of unilaterally deciding, after having consulted the representative bodies concerned, to reduce the duration of current employee representative mandates if they expire between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2019. The reduction cannot exceed one year.

The first draft of the ordinance had restricted this option to mandates expiring in 2018, thus limiting the time during which an employer could establish a social and economic committee (Comité social et économique (CSE)). The amendment is very much to be welcomed, as it comports with the general purpose of the law that is to ease a quick reform of the staff representative bodies.

However, for companies with workforces fluctuating around the 50-employee threshold, these provisions will have to be combined with the applicable rules regarding the removal of a “surviving” Works Council or the establishment of a CSE for companies with more than 50 employees.

Indeed, the advantage in anticipating the establishment of the CSE has to be assessed in view of the objective being pursued: (1) to encourage employee representation within a CSE with wider powers or (2) to extend the existence of a representative body with powers similar to those of the former staff representatives.

The choice may not be that difficult . . .