As part of its push to simplify employment law and regulation, but using the word “simplicity” in its very loosest sense, the French Government has introduced new rules governing the use of part-time contracts.

The key changes for French employers to note are that part-time employees must usually be offered a minimum of 24 hours’ work per week (which may be waived in certain circumstances) and that they are entitled to an increased rate of salary for extra hours worked from the first hour of overtime (previously, only extra hours beyond 110% of an employee’s contractual working hours were paid at an increased rate).

As highlighted in our blog piece on 28 January 2014, these provisions were originally due to come into force on 1 January 2014, but rather confusingly the date for implementation of the minimum working week provisions was put back until 1 July 2014, even though the provisions had already technically come into force.  Still with us?  This means that there are some rather complicated rules in place governing which provisions apply to which contracts. These can be summarised as follows:

  1. For any contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2014, employees must be offered at least 24 hours’ work per week, unless stated otherwise in the relevant Collective Bargaining Agreement or in the case of a written request from an employee that can be justified by his/her personal commitments or if he/she wishes to work elsewhere at the same time.
  2. For any contracts entered into between 1 and 21 January 2014, the rules set out in (a) will apply.
  3. For any contracts entered into prior to 1 January 2014, transitional arrangements will apply until 1 January 2016. The minimum of 24 hours per week shall be respected in the absence of Collective Bargaining Agreement authorisation, at the employee’s request and if the employer does not refuse it. As of 1 January 2016, the rules set out in (a) will apply.
  4. For any contracts entered into between 22 January and 30 June 2014, the transitional arrangements will apply until 1 January 2016, after which time the rules set out in (a) will apply.

We are not quite sure how these arrangements fit in with the French President’s stated desire for “simplification”!  For further information on how these new rules may apply to your organisation, please contact Jean-Marc Sainsard in our Paris office.