On Thursday, the Constitutional Council ruled in favor of the French Labor Code, finding that it does not infringe on the principles of the Constitution. The decision did not invalidate a recent judgment under European law that requires labor law to be revised to provide paid leave to employees on sick leave, regardless of the circumstances. Labor Minister Catherine Vautrin has promised to comply with European legislation once the decision is known.
In his speech before the Council on January 30, State Representative indicated that he wanted to limit the acquisition of paid leave by employees on sick leave to four weeks per year, which is the minimum duration at European level compared to five weeks in France. The Sages had to determine whether two articles of the Labor Code infringed upon the right to health and rest and the principle of equality. The Council dismissed complaints about disregard for these principles and ruled in favor of French labor laws.
Employer representatives had defended current French legislation before the Council, arguing that acquiring paid leave during sick leave would cost companies at least 2 billion euros per year. However, in a letter to Medef members in December, its president Patrick Martin received assurances from the Ministry of Labor that “the future compliance law” would limit accumulation of paid leave during periods of shutdown illness to four weeks per year and allow for carryover over a period of 15 months.
The CGT union was disappointed with Thursday’s decision but noted that it does not change existing rights applicable to employees. They emphasized in a press release that “the contested provisions of the Labor Code are well and truly buried.”