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Source and scope of regulations - 2012    

References
  • Labour Code [LC], 31 July 2006, including amendments up to 31 October 2012
    (Code du travail - available only in French)
    Date: 31 Oct 2012; view website » (view in NATLEX »)
Scope
Size of enterprises excluded (≤): none
Workers' categories excluded: civil/public servants
Remarks:
  • Civil servants are excluded if they benefit from a more favourable legal status (Art. L 121-1 LC). Employment of civil Servants (fonctionnaires de l'Etat) is governed by the civil servants' statute of 16 April 1979, as subsequently modified (Loi du 16 avril 1979 fixant le statut général des fonctionnaires de l'Etat).

Types of employment contracts - 2012    

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Maximum probationary (trial) period: 6 month(s)

Remarks:
  • Art. L 121-5 LC: the trial period should not exceed 6 months.
    One exception however: when the starting gross salary reaches a certain level to be determined by decree, the notice period is 12 months.

Fixed term contract (FTC):
  • FTC regulated: Yes
  • Valid reasons for FTC use: objective and material reasons
    Remarks:
    • Art. L 122-1 LC.
  • Maximum number of successive FTCs: 3
    Remarks:
    • Art. L 122-5 LC: a fixed-term contract can be renewed twice within the time-limit of 24 months. However, this limitation is not applicable to FTC concluded with specific categories of workers (university teachers/researchers, artists, athletes, coaches).
  • Maximum cumulative duration of successive FTCs: 24 month(s)
    Remarks:
    • General rule: 24 months: art. L 122-4 (1) LC
      Exceptions: In limited situations can be up to 60 months: art. L 122-2 (4) LC.
  • % of workforce under FTC: 9.4 %
    Remarks:
    • Source: Eurostat, as of third trimester 2012.
      The figure refers to the percentage of employee with a contract of limited duration (= temporary job) of total number of employee aged 15-74 years.
      Eurostat data are based on the following definition:
      "A job may be considered temporary if employer and employee agree that its end is determined by objective conditions such as a specific date, the completion of a task or the return of another employee who has been temporarily replaced (usually stated in a work contract of limited duration). Typical cases are: (a) persons with seasonal employment; (b) persons engaged by an agency or employment exchange and hired to a third party to perform a specific task (unless there is a written work contract of unlimited duration); (c) persons with specific training contracts."

Substantive requirements for dismissals (justified and prohibited grounds) - 2012    

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Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: Yes
Remarks:
  • Art. L 124-5 (2) LC.


Valid grounds (justified dismissal): any fair reasons
Remarks:
  • Art. L 124-5 (2) LC : this article requires that the reasons be genuine and serious ("motifs réels et sérieux").


Prohibited grounds: marital status; pregnancy; maternity leave; race; sexual orientation; religion; political opinion; age; trade union membership and activities; disabilities; ethnic origin
Remarks:
  • Except for marital status and pregnancy, those grounds are listed in art. L 251-1 LC (non-discrimination in employment including dismissal: art. L 251-2 1) c) LC).
    * Marital status: art. L 337-5 LC: No contractual clause can stipulate that the contract of a woman employee be terminated on the grounds that she got married.
    * Pregnancy and maternity leave: art. L 337-1 LC: Dismissal with notice is prohibited during pregnancy (as established by a medical certificate), during a period of 12 weeks after birth.


Workers enjoying special protection: workers' representatives; pregnant women and/or women on maternity leave
Remarks:
  • * Pregnant women /women on maternity leave: prohibition of dismissal: art. L 337-1 LC.
    * Workers' representatives: prohibition of dismissal: art. L 415-11 LC.


Procedural requirements for individual dismissals - 2012    

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Notification to the worker to be dismissed: written

Remarks:
  • See art. L 124-3 LC
    Specific article concerning employers having at least 150 employees: art. L 124-2 LC.

Notice period:
Remarks:
  • According to art. L 121-5 (2) LC, the statutory notice period is:
    *2 months for a tenure of less than 5 years
    *4 months from 5 years until 10 years of service
    *6 months over 10 years of service
    • tenure ≥ 6 months
      • 2 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 9 months
      • 2 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 2 years
      • 2 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 4 years
      • 2 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 5 years
      • 4 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 10 years
      • 6 month(s).
    • tenure ≥ 20 years
      • 6 month(s).

    Pay in lieu of notice: Yes

    Remarks:
    • Art. L 124-6 LC.

    Notification to the public administration: No

    Notification to workers' representatives: No

    Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

    Approval by workers' representatives: No

    Procedural requirements for collective dismissals for economic reasons (redundancy, retrenchment) - 2012    

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    Definition of collective dismissal (number of employees concerned):
    1) At least 7 employees over a period of 30 days;
    2) At least 15 employees over a period of 90 days.

    Remarks:
    • Art. L 166-1 LC.

    Prior consultations with trade unions (workers' representatives): Yes

    Remarks:
    • Art. L 166-2 LC.

    Notification to the public administration: Yes

    Remarks:
    • Art. L 166-4 LC.

    Notification to workers' representatives: Yes

    Remarks:
    • Art. L 166-2 and L 166-4 LC.

    Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

    Approval by workers' representatives: No

    Priority rules for collective dismissals (social considerations, age, job tenure): No

    Remarks:
    • No criteria listed.
      Art. L 166-3 LC only refers to criteria as one of the elements to be communicated to the trade union representatives for consultation related to the adoption of the social plan.

    Employer's obligation to consider alternatives to dismissal (transfers, retraining...): Yes

    Remarks:
    • Art. L 166-2 LC and L 166-5 LC.

    Priority rules for re-employment: Yes

    Remarks:
    • Art. L 125-9 LC: within a limit of 1 year and if requested by the employee.

    Severance pay and redundancy payment - 2012    

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    Severance pay:
    Remarks:
    • Art. L 124-7 LC: except in case of serious misconduct, a dismissed employee (under a contract of indeterminate duration) is entitled to severance pay ("indemnité de départ") provided he or she have been continuously employed for at least five years with the same employer and is not eligible to an old-age pension.
      Statutory severance pay is determined according to the length of service and should not be less than:
      * 1 month's wages for at least 5 years of continuous service;
      * 2 month's wages for at least 10 years of continuous service;
      * 3 month's wages for at least 15 years of continuous service;
      * 6 month's wages for at least 20 years of continuous service;
      * 9 month's wages for at least 25 years of continuous service;
      * 12 month's wages for at least 30 years of continuous service.
    • tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 1 year: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 2 years: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 4 years: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 5 years: 1 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 10 years: 2 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 20 years: 6 month(s)
    Redundancy payment:
    Remarks:
    • No specific redundancy payment. Severance pay covers any dismissal (except for serious misconduct): Art. L 124-7 LC.
    • tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 1 year: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 2 years: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 4 years: 0 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 5 years: 1 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 10 years: 2 month(s)
    • tenure ≥ 20 years: 6 month(s)

    Avenues for redress (penalties, remedies) and litigation procedure for individual complaints - 2012    

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    Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: Yes

    Remarks:
    • Art. L 124-12 (1) LC: free determination by the Court when dismissal is not justified by genuine and serious reasons.

      However, in case of non-respect of a fundamental procedural requirement, compensation awarded by the judge shall not exceed 1 month's wages.: art. L 124-12 (3) LC.

    Reinstatement available: Yes

    Remarks:
    • Art. L 124-12 (2) LC : the judge can prescribe reinstatement if requested by the worker and approved by the employer.
      In some cases, reinstatement is mandatory if requested by the worker (art. L 124-12 (4) LC).

    Preliminary mandatory conciliation: No

    Remarks:
    • Mandatory conciliation is only foreseen for collective disputes: art. L. 164-1 LC.

    Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): labour court

    Remarks:
    • Art. L 124-11 (2) LC.

    Existing arbitration: No

    Source of additional information - 2012    

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    Links

    ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations - Comments on the ILO Termination of Employment Convention, 1982, No. 158 »