Social issues: preparing for the future
Sophie MarinierAlexandre Bensoussan PartnerParis
Alexandre BensoussanKarine Bézille PartnerParis
Karine BézilleRudy Jourdan CounselParis
Rudy JourdanSandra Hundsdörfer PartnerParis
Private clientsReal estate
Real estateTechnologies, Media and Telecommunications
Technologies, Media and TelecommunicationsTrade and distribution
Trade and distribution
How to address the many social issues of this new world of work?
Human resources departments have been in great demand since the beginning of the crisis and are still on the front line: end of lockdown, teleworking, social impact of the crisis… the topics are numerous.
Our Employment team remains mobilized to accompany its clients in this post-health crisis period and to answer all their questions.
- Social relations, collective bargaining: adapt the organization and working time
- Restructuring strategy and management: which tools should be used?
- Furlough: renew your application or set up the long-term furlough
- Health and safety: how to make your protocols evolve and prevent employer liability?
- How to deal with the post-crisis daily life?
- Social audit and social aspects of M&A operations
- International mobility
- Complementary social protection
- Remuneration and employee savings
In order to enable companies to cope with and respond urgently to the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic, the rules for negotiating collective agreements and consulting employees’ representatives have been adjusted and adapted, and social dialogue has become essential.
To meet the needs of the company, our team will assist its clients in conducting their negotiations with the social partners (renegotiation of working time agreements, collective performance agreements, perpetuation of teleworking, agreement on the organization of paid leave/RTT days/rest days, etc.) and in collecting the opinions of employees’ representatives at all stages: strategy, drafting, implementation.
Many companies are forced to review their organization and strategy in order to cope with the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis on their market. Various levers can be activated at the end of the crisis, with or without staff reductions.
Our team supports its clients in the management of these long-term restructuring and reorganization (long-term furlough, collective performance agreements in order to adjust working time and/or remuneration, job saving plans, collective redundancies, voluntary departure plans, collective mutual termination, mobility leave, etc.), at all stages of the project : definition of strategy and planning, elaboration of information-consultation and communication documents, support in the conduct of negotiations and relations with employees’ representatives, experts and the French administration, elaboration and implementation of draft agreements, etc.
The furlough system put in place as a result of the health crisis is gradually changing as of June 1. As communicated by the Ministry of Labour, controls on the application and implementation of furlough are being strengthened, with the risk, in addition to the reimbursement of allowances paid, of criminal sanctions.
Our team assist its clients in the extension and evolution of the furlough (amendment or new application, taking commitments, individualized furlough) as well as for any control and upstream of any control to audit their furlough scheme, identify the main difficulties in its implementation in order to proceed to regularizations and limit penalties.
We also assist our clients in the negotiations for the implementation of the new long-term furlough system.
The employer’s obligations in terms of health and safety were particularly solicited during the health crisis: constant assessment of occupational risks, updating of the risks assessment document (DUER) and internal regulations, management of psychosocial risks.
Our team supports its clients in adapting their health protocol in accordance with the evolution of their activity (return on site, teleworking, furlough) as well as in the associated information and consultation or negotiation processes, including, if need be, in the event of litigation (expertise, formal notice from the labour inspectorate, etc.).
We also assist our clients in the event of civil liability (breach of safety obligations, occupational accident/ disease, inexcusable fault, anxiety prejudice) or criminal liability (endangerment, injury or manslaughter) of the company and its managers.
Faced with the impact of the health and economic crisis linked to COVID-19 on their business, companies must not only manage any major restructuring projects, but also face a new post-crisis daily life.
Our team is on our clients’ side to answer all their questions as they gradually return to normal in a constantly changing legal context. We also assist them in setting up standardized processes for specific post-crisis issues such as furlough, the management of their vulnerable employees, the organization of medical visits, the return of a COVID-19 patient on site, the impact of new deadlines on their various ongoing procedures, etc.
In addition to the HR topics usually audited during M&A transactions or compliance analysis, the COVID-19 epidemic has led to audit new risks related in particular to the implementation of furlough within the company (possible commitments to maintain employment, reimbursements or penalties in the event of an audit), or to the measures put in place within the framework of business continuity or on-site recovery that may expose the employer’s responsibility (updating of the risks assessment document, post lockdown plan, teleworking, etc.).
Our team has integrated all of these aspects into its audit management.
The health crisis has naturally slowed down international mobility projects (closing of borders and administrations, uncertainty about the future of local structures). But it has also raised many questions (both for employees on mobility outside France and for employees on mobility in France): what about an obligation to repatriate? eligibility of employees for furlough? obligation of prevention and health protection by the French employer? taxation of the employee repatriated or prevented from returning to France? immigration procedures? adaptation of the missions of the nomadic or teleworking employee?
These are all difficulties to manage for human resources departments also confronted with the conflict of laws. Our mobility experts present in each of our offices will assist our clients with all these issues.
The Government was forced to intervene to address the thorny issue of maintaining and contributing to the health and welfare schemes during furlough.
Our team accompanies its clients to analyze their insurance contracts and their implementation acts in order to take the necessary measures to comply with the legal provisions.
In addition, the health crisis has shown to what extent the care of employees in the event of an epidemic will become a major issue (coverage of tests, salary maintenance, long-term care coverage, etc.). Our team will assist its clients in setting up or regularizing existing schemes to take account of future developments.
Several exceptional measures relating to employees savings have been taken by the Government to support companies to face the COVID-19 epidemic.
Our team will assist its clients in their formalization and implementation, particularly with regard to the exceptional purchasing power bonus. Moreover, the current situation may be an opportunity for the company to define new objectives and to fully involve its employees in this respect. Our team assists you in the definition and formalization of compensation policies and employee savings schemes (profit-sharing, employees shareholding, etc.).