Focus on the changes to French labor law coming into force in the second half of 2022 | K&L Gates LLP

Reminder: Employers are required to reimburse the employee’s travel expenses regardless of the distance between the employee’s home and the workplace.

According to the National Association of HRDs, since the rise of teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic, 30% of HRDs are faced with requests from employees concerning a possible change of residence.1.

The Labor Code requires employers to reimburse 50% of the price of transport tickets purchased by employees for travel by public transport between their usual residence and their place of work, regardless of the distance between this residence and the place of work. .

A decision of July 5, 2022, rendered by the Paris Court of Justice supports the principle of the employee’s free choice of residence. The decision recalls that the employer cannot validly refuse to reimburse public transport costs on the grounds that the employee has chosen to leave his place of work for personal reasons.

However, this decision was made in relation to facts prior to the health crisis. With remote work now more prevalent post-pandemic, more litigation is likely to result.

The obligation to reimburse half of the travel expenses of employees is in addition to any specific relocation bonus, relocation check or other financial assistance to employees provided for by the applicable collective agreement or set up by the institution representing the personnel. (CSE/EC Council).

New information that must be provided to employees upon hiring

Since August 1, 2022, employers are required to provide employees with additional information at the start of employment as provided for in European Directive 2019/1152 of June 20, 2019 (the Directive). France has not taken any measures to transpose this directive within the three-year period granted to the Member States of the European Union. Thus, as of August 1, 2022, the provisions of the Labor Code must be interpreted taking into account the requirements of the Directive.

The new obligation applies to “workers”, as this term is interpreted by the Court of Justice of the European Union. This includes employees, regardless of their type of contract, as well as interns, apprentices and workers on job-sharing platforms.

In addition to the usual mandatory information relating to the place of work, the position, the start date, the duration of the paid leave, the remuneration or the applicable collective agreement, workers must now also be informed:

  • the duration of the trial period and the conditions attached thereto;
  • the right to training;
  • the complete procedure to be followed in the event of termination of the contractual relationship (including the duration of the notice period);
  • the identity of the social security bodies collecting social security contributions and social protection provided by the employer (including complementary collective health insurance schemes); and
  • for temporary contracts, the scheduled working hours or, failing that, the details of the variable working hours and their remuneration.

In addition, the directive specifies that information relating to the place of work, position, duration of the trial period and of the employment contract, remuneration and working hours must be provided to the employee within a maximum period one week from the start of the employment contract. The other information listed in the directive must be provided within one month.

New tools to fight against inflation and promote the purchasing power of the French

The law on emergency measures to protect purchasing power2:
  • The value-sharing bonus (“value sharing bonus”) now replaces the exceptional purchasing power bonus (“exceptional purchasing power bonus,” known as “PEPA”) created in the context of the “yellow vests” crisis in 2019. Companies can implement this bonus, up to €3,000 per calendar year and per beneficiary, or €6,000 under certain conditions, in particular relating to the establishment of a profit-sharing agreement (“profit-sharing agreement”), in order to benefit from the tax and social exemption scheme.

    This bonus, set up voluntarily by collective agreement or unilateral decision of the employer, is exempt from all social security contributions payable by the employer and the employee within the limits of the aforementioned ceilings. In addition, until December 31, 2023, employees receiving remuneration less than three times the legal annual minimum wage (i.e. €60,442.20 gross for 2022) during the 12 months preceding the payment of this bonus, will be exempt from tax. on income and generalized levies. social contribution (CSG-CRDS) on the premium within the limits of the aforementioned ceilings.

    The payment of this premium can be in one installment or in several installments. However, it cannot validly be a monthly payment because it would be considered as an element of salary and not as an exceptional bonus with specific social and fiscal treatment.

  • The implementation of profit-sharing agreements (“profit-sharing agreements”) is encouraged in small businesses. Incentives can be set up for a maximum period of five years (three years previously) regardless of the size of the company. In addition, in companies with less than 50 employees, the employer can unilaterally set up profit-sharing in the absence of a staff representative institution or in the event of failure of negotiations (subject to prior consultation).
The amending finance law for 20223:
  • Employers can remunerate the days or half-days of rest (RTT) acquired but not taken between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2025. If employees so request, employers can undertake to remunerate part of the days unused rest periods of employees. In this case, the company pays an amount equivalent to the salary that the employee would have received if he had used the RTT day. This monetary value of the RTT is exempt from social contributions and income tax up to €7,500 per year, but remains subject to the CSG-CRDS and is included in the amount of the reference tax income. This measure is mainly of interest to companies which have been placed in partial activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, whose employees have accumulated a large number of rest days without being able to take them.

    Please note: any overtime or overtime is also counted towards the ceiling of €7,500. Until now, the annual income tax exemption ceiling for overtime was €5,000.

  • The partial activity scheme for vulnerable employees has been in place again since September 1, 2022. The amount of the compensation paid to employees suffering from serious pathologies (e.g. in particular: chronic respiratory pathology, arterial hypertension, diabetes, chronic renal insufficiency severe, cancer under treatment) remains at 70% of their gross hourly compensation per hour of rest. However, employers will only be reimbursed up to 60% of this amount.
Other ongoing social projects:
  • Reform of unemployment insurance and pensions. These sensitive topics that sparked nationwide general strikes in 2018 and initiated the yellow vests movement will once again be in the spotlight. A bill on the first emergency measures to strengthen and improve the functioning of the labor market should be made public in September. The reform of the pension system will not resume as announced in 2020, although an implementation phase as early as summer 2023 is envisaged.
  • Implementing decrees on the protection of whistleblowers. We expect these decrees to be issued in September and specify the procedures for implementing the internal procedure for collecting and processing alert reports in companies with more than 50 employees, as well as the procedures for financing the personal account of training (CTP) compulsory by the employer. of a whistleblower whose employment contract has been illegally terminated. Funding from the PTA enabled employees to take training leading to a professional qualification or certification.

1 Challenges Magazine, Covid: HRDs facing employees who have moved and wish to reorganize their workJune 8, 2021.
2 Far. 2022-1158 of August 16, 2022 on emergency measures to protect purchasing power.
3 Far. 2022-1157 of August 16, 2022 on amending finances for 2022.