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French employment law: what of your obligation to consult or inform your CSE in France

In many situations involving French employees, the employer is bound to inform the Social and Economic Committee of its intentions and sometimes, they have to consult and allow the French CSE to give an opinion.

Why, I hear you ask? Simply put, because not consulting or informing the French CSE could cost your company a fine of up to €7,500. But the CSE can also be a useful way to get a feel for what your employees are saying.

French employment law interpreter
What does french employment law say about the CSE ?

How do I consult my French CSE?

To consult your CSE, you need to provide all relevant information in the form of a BDESE (economic, social and environmental database). All documents must be translated into French and, unless you’re a fluent French speaker, any meetings must involve a French interpreter. Thankfully, CSE consultation meetings can be organised remotely. You’ll then need to send an invitation to an extraordinary meeting.

Unless otherwise specified in your collective agreement, you will then need to give the CSE at least one month (more if an expert opinion is needed or other CSEs need to be involved) to give its opinion. The CSE’s position is not legally binding: the employer is allowed to implement a project without the approval of its French CSE.

When do you need to inform the CSE according to French employment law?

The short answer is, whenever you like. Use this facility to communicate with your French personnel on topics such as financial performance of the business, training opportunities or upcoming events. It’s also a useful facility to obtain advice and information relating to any other topic from prioritising annual leave during the summer holiday to upgrading the facilities in the staff room.

When do you need to consult the CSE according to French employment law?

In France, the CSE must be regularly (at least once a year, unless otherwise specified in a collective agreement) consulted on matters relating to:

  • The strategic trajectory of the business and any consequences on the workers such as working conditions, jobs and skills, use of sub-contractors and temporary staff, or redundancies

  • The financial and economical situation of the business and any research and development initiatives

  • Any new or updated social and environmental policies concerning matters such as working conditions and contracts, training, health and safety, maternity, diversity, workplace equality or work life balance

  • Environmental consequences of any of the above

The CSE must also be consulted as and when needed, should any matters arise relating to:

  • Decisions that may affect the company’s size, staff or structure or any upcoming restructuration, redundancies, furlough, mergers, change of ownership or liquidation

  • Changes in the company’s legal status, collective agreement, code of conduite or financial structure

  • Updates relating to working conditions, working hours or staff training

  • New technologies, and in particular anything likely to affect health, safety and working conditions

  • Any measures designed to support or help diversity, disability or return to work

  • Projects to do with monitoring or controlling the professional activity (such as security cameras)

  • Environmental consequences of any of the above

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FAQ: What if my CSE doesn’t give an opinion within one month?

Following a period of one month starting from the day you shared the BDESE with your CSE (or within the delay defined in your collective agreement), your CSE should share its position and all reasons explaining it, failing which they are deemed to have given a negative stance on the matter.

Get in touch to book a French interpreter.

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