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What’s new in French employment law from 1 January 2020? 5 things to look out for!

Written by
Capstan Avocats, the law firm setting the benchmark for labour law in France.
A new year always brings its share of new developments in labour law. This article sets out five key new provisions from 1 January 2020 that employers in France need to know about.

Implementation of the social and economic committee (CSE)

As of 1 January 2020, the former staff representation bodies (‘Délégués du Personnel’, ‘Comité d’entreprise’ and ‘Comité Hygiène, Sécurité et Conditions de travail’) must have been replaced by a social and economic committee (CSE) (Ordinance no. 2017-1386 of 22 September 2017 on the new organisation of social and economic dialogue in companies and promoting the exercise and enhancement of trade union responsibilities, article 9).

For companies that have not yet implemented this ‘switch’, professional elections should be organised without delay.

‘Macron bonus’

The exceptional bonus for purchasing power (‘PEPA’), known as the ‘Macron bonus’ is renewed in 2020, with some adjustments (Law No. 2019-1446 of 24 December 2019 on the financing of social security for 2020, Article 7).

In order to benefit from the planned exemptions from social security contributions and income tax, the bonus will still need not to exceed EUR 1,000. The exemptions only apply to employees whose remuneration is less than three times the gross minimum wage (‘SMIC’).

From now on, only employers who have set up a profit-sharing agreement (‘intéressement’) will be able to benefit from the exemptions. Companies have until 30 June 2020 to organise the implementation of such a scheme.

URSSAF: the right to make a mistake

The company benefits from a remission of late surcharges and penalties for errors in social declarations if the error is corrected and is of a small amount. The decree of 11 October 2019 modified the consequences of a correction made by the employer of errors found in its declarations of contributions and social security charges for previous months, whether this correction is made on its own initiative or at the request of URSSAF.

From 1 January 2020, surcharges and certain penalties will not be applied on these corrections if one of the following conditions is met :

  • The corrected declaration and the payment of the regularisation corresponding to the additional contributions and social security charges are sent at the latest on the first due date following the date of the declaration and the initial payment.
  • The regularising payment is less than 5% of the total amount of the initial contributions or the amount of the surcharges and penalties that would apply is less than the monthly social security ceiling.


Surcharges and penalties still apply in cases of omission of employees in the declaration or repeated inaccuracies in the amount of remunerations declared.

Taxation of fixed-term contracts (‘CDD’)

A flat-rate tax was introduced by the Finance Act for 2020 for specific fixed-term contracts (‘CDD d’usage’), with the exception of those concluded:

  • with workers in the entertainment industry;
  • with Intermediary Associations (sector-specific bodies tasked with facilitating access to work and social integration for individuals with social difficulties, concluding contracts known as CDDU, customary fixed-term contracts);
  • with occasional dockworkers;
  • in companies in the removal sector (covered by the national collective agreement for Road Transport and Activities Ancillary to Transport of 21 December 1950).


For each specific fixed-term contract concluded from 1 January 2020, the company will have to pay a tax (EUR 10 per contract), which it will have to pay to the URSSAF.

This tax will be due as soon as the contract is concluded and should be paid no later than the normal due date for payment of social security charges and contributions following the date of conclusion of the contract.

Social security ceiling for 2020

The social security ‘ceiling’ was revalued by a decree dated 2 December 2019, effective 1 January 2020. The monthly and daily values are as follows:

  • monthly value: EUR 3,428 euros;
  • daily value: EUR 189.


This means the annual social security ceiling (known as the ‘PASS’) is now EUR 41,136.

Arnaud Teissier
Partner - France
Capstan Avocats