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France – Last chance meeting on “French touch” Swedish derogation

10 July 2013

Representatives of the French staffing Association, Prism’Emploi, are meeting today with trade unions to secure a possible implementation of the Swedish derogation in the French staffing market. Both parties are meeting again, this afternoon, to come up with an agreement; failing that, temporary agency assignments would be taxed in the same way as all “short duration” fixed-term contracts.

Both parties have been negotiating since March this year; tense discussions resulted in a text submitted by the employer’s organisation for the unions’ approval last Friday. The latter refused the sign the proposal in its current state, arguing that not enough was done to improve the employability of temporary agency workers and that the proportion of workers potential benefiting from a “CDI intérimaire” (indefinite duration contract for temporary workers) was not sufficient.

According the Employer’s association Prisme’Emploi, the proposed new type of indefinite duration contract for agency workers would be offered to approximately 15,000 highly qualified professionals. According to the trade unions this figure compares unfavourably with the 500,000 temporary agency workers (full time equivalent) in France.

The second point of discord is the creation of a new fund to improve the employability of temporary agency workers. Trade union representatives claim that the employer contribution currently featuring in the proposal would fall short of having any significant effect.

There are two main types of employment contract in France: the CDI (Contract Duration Indeterminée), which is an open-ended contract, and the CDD (Contract Duration Determinée), which is a fixed-term contract. Up to now, staffing firms have been restricted from hiring agency workers on CDI contracts. The proposed change can be likened to the Swedish derogation in the UK, which provides an exemption from current agency workers regulations regarding equal treatment in relation to pay where a worker is employed permanently by a staffing company and continues to be paid a minimum amount, of no less than 50% of their highest pay in the previous 12 weeks or the national minimum wage, between assignments. Therefore, the introduction of a “CDI intérimaire” could have a significant impact on the French market. 

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