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How should employees position themselves when an Employment Safeguard Plan (Plan de Sauvegarde de l’Emploi – PSE) is announced?

Interview with Maître Paul Fourastier, expert lawyer in the Labor Law Department of the AGN Avocats network, conducted on 10/07/19 at 2:30 pm.

How should employees position themselves when a “Plan de Sauvegarde de l’Emploi” (PSE) is announced?

1st phase – contestation and support for employee representatives

Unfortunately, the affected employee is not invited to the discussion table with the employer, and therefore cannot play a decisive role in the implementation of the PSE. The employee is more of a protester than a player, since discussions do not take place on an individual basis. Rather, they are between management on the one hand, and the trade unions, works council or labor authorities on the other. Collectively, however, employees can have a major impact on the implementation of the project, by organizing strikes, demonstrations, etc., and passing on their proposals to employee representatives.

An organization can be set up to put pressure on management, which can serve two purposes:

  • to save jobs
  • to provide leverage in negotiations that the Economic and Social Committee (CSE) or trade unions may have with management, to ensure that the PSE is as favorable as possible in terms of departures.

In short: The lawyer works with the trade unions, the CSE or a group of employees to put pressure on management by negotiating the best possible plan.

2nd phase – implementation of the PSE and optimal positioning of the employees concerned

This is the part where the employee plays a more active role, even if he or she is subject to the redundancy procedure itself.

The employee must look at the support measures available to him/her under the PSE set up by management, whether in terms of job search, business creation or compensation received.

When a “voluntary redundancy” phase is included in the PSE, it is extremely important for the employee to fully understand what is at stake, and whether it is in his/her interest to position him/herself quickly.

In short: the lawyer assists impacted employees individually to determine the best measures they can benefit from within the framework of the PSE, and to prepare for the judicial challenge phase.

3rd phase – judicial challenge and/or individual negotiation

When an employee has been made redundant as a result of a redundancy plan, he or she can always challenge the redundancy at the industrial tribunal (prud’hommes), regardless of the compensation already received, in order to obtain damages or additional compensation.

It is not uncommon for employers to agree to negotiate a “settlement” out of court, in order to avoid such litigation.

Would you like to know whether your situation qualifies for legal recourse? You can make an appointment with an AGN lawyer near you, who will accompany you.

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