According to the employment protection law of 14th June 2013, the minimum time limit available to the CE (works council) to deliver its opinions is framed thus: the principle outlined is the definition of this time limit by mutual agreement between the employer and the works council (article L.2323-3 of the labour code). The legislature refers to a decree by the Council of State to define the time limit where there is no agreement. This famous decree has finally been published.
As a reminder, those concerned are:
- any regular or ad hoc consultations as laid out in articles L.2323-6 to L.2323-60 of the labour code;
- consultation on the social audit as laid out in article L.2323-72 of the labour code;
- consultation on the use of the annual quota of overtime hours in businesses where this quota wasn't determined by conventional means (L.3121-11 of the labour code);
- consultation on the means available to exercise freedom of expression for employees in businesses with no union steward, or lacking agreement on this right of expression (L.2281-12 of the labour code).
For these consultations, where there is no agreement between the works council and the employer, the works council is deemed to have been consulted and to have given a negative response after a one-month time limit. This period runs from the communication of information stipulated for consultation by the labour code or the employer informing of their availability in the database.
This time limit can be prolonged as follows:
- 2 months if the works council appoints an expert;
- 3 months if one or more health and safety committees also have to be consulted ;
- 4 months if a coordination body for health and safety committees is put in place.
The opinion of a health and safety committee must be submitted to the works council no later than seven days before the end of the either the 3 or 4 month time limits.
The decree of 27th December 2013 also lays out the time limits in cases where an expert is appointed for certain consultations, where there is no agreement between the employer and the works council.
The expert must submit his report within the following time limits:
- 15 days before the end of the time limit available to the works council to publish its opinion – for an independent accountant appointed for consultation on the strategic orientations of the business
- 8 days starting from the notification by the competition authority or the European Commission – for an independent accountant appointed in cases of merger
- 21 days starting from his appointment for a technical expert – in cases of the introductions of new technologies or implementation of technological change in businesses of over 300 employees.
This post is also available in: French