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Employee representatives in France

What are they ? What do they do ?

Payroll Management : Employee representatives in France

12 May 2021

The staff representatives are bodies whose mission is to represent the employees or to play a role of defense against the employer.

The CSE (social and economic committee) replaces today all the elected representative bodies i.e. the staff representative bodies, the staff delegates, the works council and the C.H.S.C.T. (Order n° 2017-1386 of 22/09/2017 relating to the new organization of social and economic dialogue in the company and promoting the exercise and enhancement of union responsibilities)

Social and Economic Committee

The social and economic committee (CSE) is the staff representation body in the company.

It must be set up in companies with more than 11 employees. The members of the CSE are elected by the employees of the company for a maximum period of 4 years.

Its scope, composition and functioning vary according to the size of the company.

In principle, it ensures that the rights of the employees of the company it represents are respected. If not, he makes sure that the complaints are addressed to the employer in order to remedy them. Indeed, he is in charge of bringing up to the employer the individual and collective claims of the employees, especially on the following points.

  • Wages ;
  • Application of the labor code and other legal provisions regarding social protection;
  • Conventions and agreements applicable in the company.

The staff delegation to the CSE also contributes to promoting healthy and safe working conditions in the company. It carries out investigations into accidents at work or occupational or work-related illnesses. It may also refer the matter to the labor inspectorate if an employee complains about the poor application of these standards.

Thus, the missions of the Health, Safety and Working Conditions Committee (CHSCT) have been carried out by the Social and Economic Committee (CSE) since January 1, 2020.

Finally, the CSE benefits from a right of alert allowing it to ask the employer for clarification in the following situations

  • Violation of workers’ rights (e.g. moral harassment), their physical and mental health or individual freedoms (e.g. freedom of expression, opinion) in the company;
  • Serious and imminent danger;
  • Serious and imminent danger to public health and the environment.

Technical modalities for the implementation of the CSE in companies with 11 to 49 employees:

The employer organizes every 4 years the election of the members of the CSE. The ballot is organized within 90 days after the information of the employees, and takes place by secret ballot under envelope or by electronic voting.

To be a voter, the following criteria must be met

  • Be an employee of the company and have at least 3 months of seniority at the 1st round of the ballot;
  • Be at least 16 years old;
  • Benefit of civic rights.

Who can run for election?

To run for election, the employee must meet the following 4 conditions:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Have worked in the company for at least 1 year;
  • Not to be the spouse, partner, cohabitant, ascendant, descendant, brother, sister and relative to the same degree of the employer;
  • Not to have received a conviction prohibiting him/her from being an elector and therefore from being elected.

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Deborah Zerbib 
Lawyer-tax advisor

Déborah Zerbib has several years of experience in the field of personal and international taxation after a Master II specialized in Tax Law.

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