ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Projet de loi El Khomri, les modifications à la loupe
by Daniel Roucous
Translated Tuesday 29 March 2016, by
To calm the street protests (in particular of young people), the workers’ code has undergone several modifications, which, according to young people and the grouped unions, have altered virtually nothing. Street protests continue apace.
The Government has modified the law which seeks to reform the French workers’ code. Here, we publish the latest re-hash to convey an idea of the extent of the deception.
The former workers’ code, which aimed to implement new freedoms and protections for businesses and workers (the El Khomri project) was modified on 14th March and formally communicated to the Conseil d’Etat (State Council) for approval.
It will be presented to the Council of Ministers on 24th March in order to undergo examination by the Parliament (National Assembly and the Senate)....and may then be imposed under Article 49-3 (the Article of the Constitution which allows the Prime Minister to enforce the law) .
The changes to the former workers’ code caused uproar, but without great reason, since the foundations of the code remain the same: business agreements will continue to take precedence over collective conventions, over collective agreements, and also over work contracts. Medical visits continue to be operative simply as a check on the employee’s aptitude for the workplace. The future of the 35-hour working week is still on the radar for further possible changes. Remuneration for overtime is becoming less commonplace, and is usually granted at the discretion of the employer.
Overall, the revision of the text does not get to the heart of the project, which still contains many backward measures, as emphasised by the united unions in the following report http://cgt.fr/Communique-CGT-FO-FSU-Union.
The changes concern :
The working hours for apprentices and trainees, who must obtain the agreement of a workplace doctor and a workplace inspector in order to be allowed to work up to 10 hours per day
Compensation for abusive dismissals before the industrial tribunal, and indemnities which can no longer be capped at a certain level.
Maternity and paternity leave.
Time constraints and standard working hours, which can currently be dictated at the discretion of the employer (however, this still remains to be confirmed)
Business referendums and the threshold for employee membership in the unions in order to achieve fair representation
“La garantie jeune” has been added (article 23), but this is not a new concept. It refers to the right for every 16-25 year-old to access an intensive, structured, training programme to facilitate progression into a suitable workplace.
Our associated articles provide a comparative analysis of the current workers’ code (which really is not so bad) and of the proposed reforms.
 Explanation: Article 49-3 of the French Constitution
The Prime Minister can, after discussion with the Council of Ministers, enlist the Government – in front of the National Assembly – to vote on a financial law or on a law concerning the funding of social security. The proposed change is deemed to be adopted except if, in the 24 hours which follow, a veto is proposed and passed in the anticipated conditions of the preceding paragraph. The Prime Minister can, on the other hand, haverecourse to this procedure for another vote or for a proposition to take place over a number of sessions.