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New bill transposing the directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union

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A nouveau projet de loi n°8070 hereinafter referred to as the “Bill”modifying the Labour Code was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies on 7 September 2022. The purpose of this bill is to transpose directive 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union.

The main new provisions introduced by the Bill are as follows:

  • Invalidity of so-called “exclusivity” clauses

Any clause designed to prohibit an employer or an apprentice from having another employment relationship with one or more employer outside the normal working hours as agreed in their contract will be null and void. This prohibition is valid for so-called “exclusivity” clauses that are not justified by overriding, objective interests (health and safety at work, protecting business confidentiality, integrity of public service or avoiding conflicts of interest).

  • Form and content of the employment contract

For both fixed-term and permanent apprenticeship and employment contracts, employers can send the contract as a hard copy or an electronic copy of the contract as long as the employee can access it, it can be saved and printed and the employer keeps proof that it has been sent or received.

In addition, the Bill stipulates an expansion of the key information that needs to be given to “employees, apprentices, posted employees, temporary employees, sailors, civil servants, government employees, municipal officials, municipal employees” such as daily or weekly working hours with information about working overtime, the remuneration including the basic salary and agreed wage supplements and the length and conditions for applying any probationary period, as well as deadlines for providing this information.

  • Free training provided by the employer

If, by virtue of legal, regulatory or administrative provisions or provisions in collective bargaining agreements, the employer must provide training for the employee to carry out the work for which they have been hired, this training must be provided at no cost to the employee. The time spent on this training must be regarded as time spent actually working.

  • Procedure for the transition to more secure and more predictable forms of employment

A new procedure for converting a fixed-term contract to a permanent contract will be covered by the Bill. Such requests will only be available for employees who have been working for at least six months with the same employer and can only be submitted once the probationary period agreed in the contract has ended. If the employer grants the request, they must confirm in writing their decision to convert the fixed-term employment contract to a permanent contract.

A similar procedure should be followed to convert a part-time contract to a full-time contract.

  • Framing the duration of the probationary period in permanent contracts

Within the context of a permanent contract, any probationary period agreed between the parties cannot be shorter than two weeks or longer than a quarter of the fixed term for a fixed-term contract, up to a maximum of six months when the fixed-term contract is entered into for the maximum period, in other words 24 months.