The French Labor Code has been ruled not to infringe on the principles of the Constitution by the Constitutional Council, confirming that employees on sick leave will acquire paid leave, regardless of the circumstances. The decision did not invalidate a recent judgment that under European law, labor law will have to be revised to comply with this rule. Labor Minister Catherine Vautrin promised to comply with European legislation once the decision of the Constitutional Council is known.
In his speech before the Council on January 30, State representative sought to limit the acquisition of paid leave by employees on sick leave to four weeks per year, corresponding to the minimum duration at European level. The Sages had to determine whether two articles of the Labor Code infringed upon rights such as health and rest and equality. The council dismissed complaints related to disregard for equality before the law and ruled in favor of dismissal based on disregard for the right to rest guaranteed by preamble of 1946 Constitution.
Employer representatives had defended current French legislation before Council, estimating it would cost companies at least 2 billion euros annually. However, in a letter written in December, Medef president Patrick Martin received assurances from Ministry of Labor stating that future compliance law would limit accumulation of paid leave during periods of shutdown illnesses to four weeks per year along with a right to carry over leave over a period of 15 months.
According to CGT union press release, while they find today’s decision “disappointing,” it does not change anything regarding applicable employee rights now. They emphasized that contested provisions within Labor Code are effectively buried.