Réforme Macron : Labour law

Please note that the information herein is of a general nature and you should not act or refrain from acting on it without professional advice on the specific facts of your case. No liability is accepted by the author or Sykes Anderson Perry Limited in respect of this article. French employment law is a complex subject and the above is a basic outline only and is intended only as a general guide. Nothing herein constitutes financial advice.

French President Macron has recently changed the French Labour Code to make it more attractive to employers. This article sets out the main changes:

Company agreement “Accord d’entreprise”:

In France there are collective labour agreements which apply to certain sectors such as banking. Every sector has these agreements.

Before the reform, there was a rule that these agreements called branch agreements “Accord de branche” took priority over any company agreement “accord d’entreprise”. The company agreement could not contain rules in conflict with those contained in the branch agreement.

The Macron reform, allows the company agreement to have different rules from those in the branch agreement even if they are less favourable to the employees.

However, the branch agreement still overrules the company agreement with respect to the minimum salary, equality between men and women, and the conditions for dismissal during a trial period.

Negotiation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprise “PME”:

Before the reform, if there was no union in a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise the company agreement had to be negotiated by an employee mandated by a union. The Macron reforms, allow an employee to negotiate and conclude with the employer, a company agreement, even if he is not unionized and not mandated by a union.

In companies with less than 20 employees having no elected staff representative, the employer can ask the employees to vote for a company agreement.

Capping of the industrial tribunal’s compensations:

The Macron reform puts an upper limit on the compensation paid to the employee in case of dismissal without real and serious cause “cause réelle et sérieuse”.
The new scale varies according to the seniority but it cannot be more than 20 months’ salary. Some dismissals are excluded e.g. for harassment or discrimination.

Finally, the deadline to issue proceedings for a dismissal is now 1 year. After this the employee loses his rights.


Before, when a company set up a redundancy plan in France, the court had to take into account the economic difficulties of all its sites around the world. The Macron reform requires the courts only to consider the position in France when assessing the economic difficulties of a multinational, disregarding its other sites outside France.

Collective contractual termination “rupture conventionelle collective”:

The reform allows employers to establish a collective contractual termination agreement in the company. Fixed by an agreement negotiated with unions, it deals only with voluntary departures. The amount of the compensations paid to the employees will be fixed in the company agreement.

Sunday working and night work:

The reform promotes the opening of stores on Sundays in shopping districts and relaxes the rules relating to the night work.


The reform grants a right to working from home. The employer can refuse homeworking only if he gives a valid reason for his refusal.

February 2018
David Anderson
Solicitor-Advocate and Chartered Tax Adviser