Companies with more than 50 employees where one or more representative trade unions have constituted a section and where trade union delegates have been appointed are required to enter into negotiations on certain topics defined by the Labour Code.
In accordance with Article L. 2242-13 of the French Labour Code (amended by Edict 2017-1385) and in the absence of an adaptation agreement setting a different timetable (Article L. 2242-10 of the same Code), companies meeting the above criteria must enter into negotiations every year on:
- Remuneration, including actual wages, working time and the sharing of added value in the company;
- Gender equality, including measures to eliminate pay gaps and quality of life at work.
For companies with more than 300 employees or those belonging to a group required to set up a European works council and having an establishment in France with at least 150 employees which have not concluded any adaptation agreement, negotiations must also be initiated every three years on the management of jobs and professional careers.
Such negotiations must be initiated by the company or, failing that, by the trade unions.
The question of the starting point of the prescribed term before initiating a new negotiation is crucial, given the sanctions which the company are exposed to (see in particular Article L. 2242-7 of the Labour Code).
The Labour administration has recently reversed its established practice whereby that the time limit for initiating mandatory negotiation is assessed in reference with the date when the last negotiation started (bulletin DRT86-16 of 23 December 1986).
From now on, the deadline runs from the date of the last negotiation was completed. This reversal of the administration is consistent with the obligation now imposed by Article L. 2242-5 of the Labour Code to draw up a record of disagreement.
It is therefore more important than ever to comply with this obligation to sign a record of disagreement in order to set a precise starting point for the periodic obligation to negotiate.