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France – What’s new in employment law in 2019

Written by
Capstan Avocats, the law firm setting the benchmark for labour law in France.
This article describes some of the most significant employment law developments that have taken effect or will take effect in 2019.

Equality between men and women

Since the introduction of the law of 5 September 2018 (entitled the ‘law on the freedom to choose one’s professional future’), companies are required to show actual results in the field of equal pay for women and men and no longer simply that they have put in place the means to achieve equality.

This law requires companies to self-assess according to whether they meet the following criteria:

  • the elimination of wage gaps between women and men, in comparable positions and of comparable ages;
  • there is the same chance of getting a raise for women as for men;
  • there is the same scope to get a promotion for women as for men;
  • there are at least four women or men in the top ten highest paid jobs;
  • all employees’ salaries are increased upon their return from maternity leave.


This self-assessment will generate a number of points (from 0 to 100 points, where 100 points means perfect equality) which will be published on the company’s website. In a few years, companies that have not reached 75 points will be subject to a financial penalty.

The implementation of the law is progressive: in 2019, companies with at least 1000 employees will be affected by the obligation to publish by 1 March; those with more than 250 employees  must publish by 1 September.

Withholding income tax

From 1 January 2019, employers must deduct income tax from employees’ salaries.

Plan for pension reform

The Government wants to create a universal plan that will replace the 42 existing pension plans. With the proposed ‘point system’, each euro of contribution will generate the same rights for everyone, public and private. The forthcoming bill should be adopted in the course of 2019.

Implementation of the ‘Social and Economic Committee’

Until 2017, elected representation in France consisted mainly of three types: workforce delegates, works councils and workplace health and safety committee.

These three types of elected representation shall be gradually (and at the latest by the end of 2019) replaced by the so-called ‘Social and Economic Committee’ (which is essentially an amalgam of the three).