New Year, New Actions to Be Taken: What Is Changing Regarding French Labor Law in 2022
KEY FIGURE AS AT 1 JANUARY 2022:
€1,603.12 gross: The amount of the gross monthly minimum wage from 1 January 2022 (Decree no.°2021-1741 of 22 December 2021).
THE KEY NEWS TO TAKE NOTE OF FOR 2022:
Remote Working and Update of the French National Protocol
From 3 January 2022, all employees must work remotely for a minimum of three days per week for those roles where remote working is possible. This number can be increased to four days per week if the company and employees’ situation allows for it (National protocol to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic).
New Definition of a COVID-19 Contact Case
A person who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 without an effective protective measure, i.e., physical separation isolating the contact person or a mask (surgical, FFP2, or Afnor standard) worn by the infected person and the contact person.
Three types of contact cases are now distinguished:
High risk: without a complete vaccination schedule.
Moderate risk: with full vaccination schedule.
Negligible risk: having been infected by COVID-19 less than two months ago.
New Isolation Measures Applicable Since 3 January 2022
The isolation rules have been standardized for all variants.
Positive: Must isolate for seven days. A negative PCR or antigen test will end the isolation after five days.
Contact cases: No isolation required, but self-tests to be performed the same day, at D+2 and D+4.
Unvaccinated or Nonboostered Individuals:
Positive: Must isolate for 10 days. A negative PCR or antigen test will end the isolation after seven days.
Contact cases: Seven days of isolation.
Inflation Bonus (Prime d’inflation)
A one-off allowance of €100 has to be paid no later than 28 February 2022 by employers to their workers over 16 years of age earning less than €2,000 net per month and residing in France and certain overseas territories. This payment will not be subject to national contributions or taxes and will be compensated by the state (Law no. 2021-1549 of 1 December 2021 on rectifying finances for 2021).
Young “Innovative” Company
Companies founded within the last 11 years with less than 250 employees, of which at least 50% of the capital is held by natural persons, with a turnover of less than €50 million, carrying out research expenses representing at least 15% of its costs, can benefit from tax exemption and exclusions from employer contributions due in respect to the remuneration of some of their employees. The tax exemption is 100% for the first year and 50% from the second to the 10th year. Previously, eligible companies must have been created less than eight years ago, and the exemption was only for seven years (Law no. 2021-1900 of 30 December 2021 of finance for 2022).
Obligation to Employ Disabled Workers (OETH)
The OETH contribution is for companies with at least 20 employees where the proportion of disabled workers in the company’s workforce is less than 6%. The 2022 Finance Act specifies that the number of employees in the company is assessed for the year for which the OETH contribution is due. Thus, for the OETH contribution paid in 2022 for the year 2021, the number of employees is assessed for the year 2021. As a reminder, in case of nonpayment of the contribution, the company can be condemned to an increased payment (Law no.° 2021-1900 of 30 December 2021 of finance for 2022).
The Main New Features of 2022:
Fight Against Dependency and Economic Violence
From 26 December 2022, when wages are paid by bank transfer, the employer must pay it into an account held by the employee in person or as a co-owner. The employee will not be allowed to mandate a third party (e.g., spouse, partner) to collect the salary (Law no. 2021-1774 of 24 December 2021). The employer must ensure that the employee is the owner or the co-owner of the bank account.
Leave for Child’s Disability or Illness
Employees are entitled to a new leave of at least two working days (implemented from 19 December 2021) in cases of disability, chronic pathology, or cancer in children. The effective date of the leave is 18 December 2021, except for situations of chronic pathologies for which the publication of a specific decree is anticipated (Law no. 2021-1678 of 17 December 2021, article L.3142-4 of the Labor Code).
Mutual Termination Agreement (Rupture Conventionnelle)
From 22 April 2022, any application for an individual mutual termination agreement request must be made online on the website set up by the Ministry of Labor. Previously, applications could be made by way of a CERFA form sent to the labor administration. (Decree no. 2021-1639 of 13 December 2021).
Occupational health professionals who conduct visits or examinations must systematically ask employees about their vaccination status and, if necessary, inform them and offer them vaccination. The occupational health and safety services must take action to encourage employees to get vaccinated (Circular of 22 December 2021).
TO GO FURTHER:
A draft bill is under discussion in the French parliament in order to transform the French health pass into a vaccine pass. To date, the French health pass has been required for employees in contact with the public (e.g., receptionists, medical and paramedical staff, waiters) and for everyday activities. The health pass shows proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, a recent negative test, or recovery from the virus.
With the future vaccine pass, it will no longer be permitted for employees in contact with the public to work with proof of a negative test. In practice, only those employees vaccinated will be able to work. The application of the law is currently under discussion in the French Senate (Draft bill to strengthen health crisis management tools and amend the public health code).