France's labour code sets out employees' rights in relation to non-discrimination, gender equality in the workplace, health, maternity and paternity leave, harassment, etc. Employers who breach these obligations will face penalties.
Non-discrimination, equal treatment and gender equality
A business owner cannot discriminate on the basis of gender, religion, nationality, etc.
Gender equality in the workplace means, for example, not discriminating when recruiting as well as equal pay and equal opportunities for career development.
Health and safety at work
The employer must also respect certain health and safety obligations.
France's social security pays benefits for absences due to ill health or work accidents, in some cases supplemented by employer contributions.
Business owners must ensure that workplaces are non-smoking and provide medical facilities ; businesses with over 50 employees must also set up a committee on hygiene, safety and working conditions.
Information related to employment matters (minimum salary, working hours, etc.) can be found in the factsheets on the website of the ministry for employment, social relations, family, solidarity and cities.
During pregnancy and maternity leave, female employees are protected by measures such as authorised absences for medical examinations, special working conditions, protection against dismissal, etc. Male employees can also request paid paternity leave of between 11 and 18 days.
The employer must accept an employee's right to retire in the event of any serious risk to his/her safety.
Depending on the type of dismissal/redundancy procedure, the employer must:
- pay legal compensation to dismissed employees who have worked at the business for at least one year or those on an open-ended contract (CDI), except in cases of serious misconduct;
- complete a dismissal order to determine which employees are to be made redundant;
- offer the employee a personalised redeployment agreement (CRP) if redundancies are planned and the company has fewer than 1,000 employees;
- mention the redeployment priority in the redundancy letter and notify the former employee of any available posts;
- offer redeployment leave to each employee being made redundant (depending on the number of employees in the business);
- produce an employment protection plan if the company has at least 50 employees and the redundancy affects at least 10 employees over 30 days.
In certain cases, as set out in the labour code, the employer must obtain authorisation from the labour inspector before proceeding.
The decisions of the labour inspector can be appealed:
- in non-contentious matters - before the inspector;
- before a higher authority - generally the labour ministry;
- in contentious matters - before the administrative tribunal.
Industrial tribunals handle individual disputes stemming from private law employment contracts. They are responsible for conciliation of the parties and, failing an outcome here, giving a decision.
During the procedure, employers and employees can request assistance or representation under certain circumstances.
Mandatory social rules complete the requirements related to managing staff.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum social legal requirements at their own initiative.
Health and safety at work
The administrative procedures to follow regarding health at work can be found in the factsheets on the website of the ministry for employment, social relations, family, solidarity and cities.
The website of the ministry for employment, social relations, family, solidarity and cities provides numerous factsheets on labour law.