Meetings with the Employee Representatives remain necessary and mandatory in the context of the epidemic. French regulations have been recently adapted and clarified in order to facilitate the continuity of these meetings, including remotely.
Consequently , it is now possible, and until the end of the state of health emergency (i.e. currently set for the 24th of May 2020), to organize the meetings by videoconference with no limitation, whereas videoconferencing was originally envisaged as an exceptional measure which could be used up to 3 times per year. There is also the new possibility to use, still without limitation during this period, conference calls and instant messaging in accordance with the conditions outlined below.
General conditions to be complied with in case of remote meetings
The employer (or his/her representative), who is the President of the Social and Economic Committee (CSE), must inform all the members of this Committee about the conditions of the meeting, including the remote means of communication to be used to hold this meeting. This information is communicated to the members through an invitation which, considering the current situation, can be sent by electronic registered mail, by email or by SMS.
Per usual, there is no mandatory notice period between the sending of the invitation and the date of the meeting. It is still mandatory to provide the agenda of the meeting at least three days before the meeting. In general, the invitation and the agenda are sent at the same time, in accordance with this three-day notice period.
If the meeting is conducted remotely, the technical means of communication used must enable at the same time to identify the participants and to ensure the continuity and the instant communication during all the meeting. Ensuring in these terms that all the members can attend the entire meeting and participate is a mandatory condition which determines the validity of this meeting.
Further details recently provided about the means of telecommunication and conditions of a vote
When the meeting is conducted through a videoconference or a conference call system:
- A check must be performed in order to ensure that all the participants are present and have the technical means to attend the meeting in accordance with the conditions explained above.
- When a vote is necessary, it must be done simultaneously for all the participants who must have the exact same time to proceed to the vote from the start of the vote announced by the President.
- If it is necessary to proceed to a secret vote, the conditions explained below must be observed.
When it is necessary to have a secret vote, the technical means used must guarantee:
- That no link can be made between the voter and his/her vote,
- The confidentiality of any information communicated and the security of the procedure
When the meeting is conducted through an instant messaging system:
- The meeting must once again begin by a check to ensure that all the participants are present and have the technical means to attend the meeting in proper conditions.
- The consultation and the debate end with a message sent by the President of the Committee, after which the scheduled time to debate is over.
- Once again, if a vote is necessary, it must be done simultaneously for all the participants who must have the exact same time to proceed to the vote from the start of the vote announced by the President.
- In case of secret vote, the same conditions explained above must be observed.
- When the voting period is over, the President communicates the results to all the members of the Committee.
A period of two months to communicate the Employee Representatives’ opinion in case of partial activity request
When a Company has Employee Representatives (CSE), any request for partial activity (“activité partielle” in French) involves a mandatory consultation by the employer of these representatives which should be performed prior to the request. Under exceptional circumstances like the current epidemic, this consultation can be performed after the request for partial activity and communicated to the authority within a period of two months following the partial activity request.