El Khomri Act (labor law) – What has changed

The El Khomri law (or Labor Act) published in August 2016 profoundly changed the labor laws. The major changes introduced by this text.
El Khomri Act (labor law) - What has changed

Overall, the text softens many rules of the Labor Code by promoting the use of collective bargaining, particularly in terms of working time. But this labor reform also includes provisions for redundancy, overtime or medical visits at work.


Elected on May 7, the new President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, however, wants to go further than the law work for collective bargaining and flexibility, in particular by providing substantial relief of the Labor Code. It intends to implement its reform from the beginning of the fall, by prescriptions. See The Macron and reform of labor law.

Coming into force

The law El Khomri was first presented to the Council of Ministers of 24 March 2016. The text was subsequently reviewed by the Social Affairs Commission in early April.

After his presentation to the National Assembly on 3 May, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has used the procedure of Article 49-3 of the Constitution which allowed to pass the bill by the National Assembly in the first reading without MPs vote. The motion of censure tabled by the right has indeed been rejected May 12 (246 votes, while 288 votes were necessary).

Bill El Khomri was then passed by the Senate (in a very modified version) June 28 Again considered by the National Assembly as of July 5, the text was adopted on 6 July, the government has resorted again to the procedure of Article 49-3 to pass the bill.

The text was then re-examined by the Senate on 18 July. Then he again returned to the Assembly which conducted its final reading on 20 July, when Manuel Valls has again announced an ultimate recourse to Article 49-3. The text was finally adopted Thursday, July 21, no-confidence motion was lodged by the opposition.

Before final release, the bill had yet to be examined by the Constitutional Council which was seized after the adoption of the text by the Assembly.

In its decision of 4 August 2016, the Constitutional Council has validated the key provisions of the labor law. After its enactment, the text was published in the Official Journal of August 9, 2016.
See how to vote a law to learn about the legislative procedure applicable to the employment law.

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Some of the provisions of the labor law is however not yet in force. Many items come into effect until the publication of decrees that serve to make different devices from the new legislation. Many texts are thus gradually released since summer 2016. According to figures from the Senate, more than 130 decrees and orders must follow the publication of the law.

To know the approximate dates of publication of the decrees yet to be published, you can check the schedule posted by the administration September 8, 2016 and regularly updated since.

VIDEO : What is left of El Khomri law?


You can download the full text of the El Khomri law in its final version published in the OJ on 9 August 2016. The legislation is available as a PDF file.

Article 2 - Article 8

Article 2 of the Labor Law has been particularly criticized by opponents of the bill to the extent that it would introduce a "reversal of the hierarchy of norms." In terms of working time, it provides for an agreement negotiated within the company (company agreement) can replace the provisions of a sectoral agreement, even if the rules under the agreement of business are less favorable for employees.

Unlike the CFDT, CGT therefore demanded the withdrawal of article 2.

But this article was finally adopted broadly. In the final version of the legislation published in the Official Journal, the rules do not appear in Article 2 but in Article 8.

maximum working time

Right now the fixed workplace maximum working hours per day and per week. The labor law provides for the possibility of increasing exceptionally certain limits.

The maximum weekly working time remains at 48 hours a week and 44 hours on average over 12 weeks. It is now possible to derogate from this rule of 44 hours in the limit of 46 hours a corporate agreement or establishment (and not only by branch agreement).

offensive agreements

Currently, the law provides for the possibility for a company that has difficulty signing an "agreement of job retention" (also called "defensive Agreement") in which can be provided including changes in wages or working time.

In order to "employment development", the new law provides that this possibility of agreement in case of company development (agreement called "offensive"), especially when it wants to conquer new markets and sign new contracts. The company can then do more work employees to meet the new needs of its business. This "development agreement of employment" can be applied for a period of 2 years.

The text provides that an employee who refuses to see implementation of the agreement may be terminated by the employer. Following a review of the text in committee, it would then have a redundancy (and not a dismissal for personal reasons as originally intended by the original version of the legislation). In addition, the dismissed employee following a refusal could benefit from a personalized, pathways to job center, which will be co-funded by the employer.

Package days

A number of employees are subject to the day package and work more than 35 hours per week. To prevent them from working too and endanger their health and safety, labor law established monitoring requirements for the employer.


The bill amends the rules for the validity of company agreements. They will now be the majority, that is to say, signed by unions representing at least 50% of employees. But the text also provides for the possibility of setting up a referendum on demand business representing less than 30% of employees unions. The agreement will be validated if approved by half of the votes cast by the employees. Trade unions, even the majority, will not oppose it.


Currently, overtime pay is increased by 25% for the first 8 hours and 50% for the next. But an agreement may provide for an increase of only 10%, provided that no branch agreement objects. The new text removes the latter condition. In other words, a company will be free to negotiate an agreement to reduce the remuneration of overtime bonuses. This agreement will take precedence over the branch agreement if it provides a greater bonus.


It defines more accurately the reasons that may cause redundancy. The economic difficulties faced by the company may in particular be characterized by a decline in orders or sales for a number of consecutive quarters, which varies depending on the company size. This number is set at:

  • 1 quarter of declining sales or orders for companies with fewer than 11 employees;
  • 2 quarters for companies employing between 11 and 49 employees;
  • 3 quarters for companies with 50 to 299 employees;
  • 4 quarters for companies of 300 employees or more.

It now suffice that the company fulfills the requirements of the legislation for the redundancy is implemented. It will be difficult for an employee to challenge the economic reason for his dismissal when these criteria are met. This more precise definition, with the introduction of new criteria, will also reduce the power of interpretation of the courts as to economic reasons put forward by the company to justify dismissal.

Allowances to industrial tribunals

Any employee unfairly dismissed by his employer can act to labor court to obtain compensation. These amounts are subject to any limitations and therefore can be freely set by the judges, who determine case by case. A freedom which is a source of uncertainty, particularly for employers for which it is now difficult to assess in advance the amount they will pay after a trial if an employee's attacks prud 'men.

In order to harmonize the amounts awarded by the courts, the law establishes ceilings for industrial tribunals allowances, which depend on a schedule. These maximum amounts are determined based on seniority, on the model of calculating statutory redundancy payments.

Originally planned as required, the scale of prudhommales compensation for unfair dismissal is ultimately indicative for industrial tribunals, which thus have no obligation to comply. Unless the employer and the employee jointly request its application to the judge.

You can see the scale of allowances to industrial tribunals established by Decree No. 2016-1581 of 23 November 2016.

recruitment medical examination

The text also deletes the medical systematic hiring to refocus the system on workers exposed to particular risks. Other employees will spend longer than a visit "information and prevention" provided by a health professional (nurse, for example) at the time of hiring. The periodic medical examinations, which are currently held every two years, will also be more spaced in time.

Leave the first year

Previously, newly hired employees in their business could sometimes wait up to a year (usually on 1 June of the following year) in order to take the vacation days they earned.

The law allows their work can now take the days as they acquire-and-a-able during their first year of employment.

Example: an employee hired on July 1 can take in September the few days he acquired for the months of July and August without having to wait the next year or make a request for early leave.

youth guarantee

The labor law also generalizes the youth guarantee to the entire territory. This is a device to an 18 to 25 years in stall situation to be accompanied by a local mission to find a job while receiving monthly assistance.

At present, young guarantee application files are being selected by a committee. The legislation provides for amending this rule by the youth guarantee an open right to all young people who meet the award criteria.

Personal account activity

The law also specifies the content of the future personal account activity. It will include both training staff account (CPF), the hardship and a future account account of citizen engagement that will benefit of training hours in cases of voluntary or volunteer.

Right to disconnect

The law also establishes a right to disconnect for employees, including day package or telecommuting. The implementing rules of this right must be defined across the company.

electronic payslip

The text also plans to allow the employer to submit an electronic pay statements to employees, they nonetheless retaining the right to oppose it by requesting a discount on their pay slip in paper form. The text thus performs a reversal of the rule option, since until this reform, it was the employer to submit an application to the employee to use the paperless pay slip.

You can see the rules applicable to e-payslip from 1 January 2017.

See as well

  • employment contract modifications;
  • The reasons for dismissal;
  • Economic and reclassification dismissal;
  • Industrial Tribunal and employer-employee disputes;
  • Strike - definition and labor law;
  • Absence or late for work - transport strike.

Photo credits: © curtisneville - Fotolia.com
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