Works council: composition and benefits

The works council will be definitively replaced by the social and economic committee on 1 January 2020, the CSE is intended to replace the three former company bodies. The provisions relating to the works council cease to have effect from the date of the first round of elections for members of the staff delegation of the works council.

What is a CE?

The works council is an institution that represents the staff of a company.

It is compulsory in all companies with more than 50 employees. The works council is made up of the head of the company, the elected members of the staff and a representative of the workers' trade unions to defend their interests. The works council is a major player in the life of a company. It represents all the employees of a company. The works council has a social, economic and cultural role in the smooth running of the company. In all the fields of action in which the works council intervenes, its aim is always to act for the benefit of employees and their families, as well as former employees.

The new reform in relation to the EC

Since January 2018 all companies with more than 11 employees have a social and economic committee (CSE) or will soon have a CSE by 1 January 2020.  The CSE is the consequence of the Macron ordinance on labour code reforms. The CSE is the merger between different bodies that defend the rights of employees, the staff delegate (DP), the works council (CE), a health, safety and working conditions committee (CHSCT). The new committee aims to negotiate and sign a collective agreement under certain conditions. Trade union delegates lose their ability to conclude collective agreements within the ETUC. They will be negotiated by the works council. However, the union delegates have a right of veto over the collective life and the employer must take this into account. 

The aim of this new reform is to simplify the life of the company, its development and its negotiations.The social and economic committee (CSE) thus provides a single contact person within the company.

The design of an EC

The works council is made up of the head of the company, staff representatives and representatives of the workers' trade union organisations.the head of the company has a right to vote on all decisions relating to the organisation of the works council. However, they cannot vote on matters relating to the management of the social and cultural life of the company. If he/she wishes, he/she can be accompanied by two employees, but these employees will not have any voting rights. The head of the company chairs the works council but he can choose another member of staff to replace him according to article L2325-1 of the labour code. Generally this is the human resources director, the administrative and financial director. The person who replaces the head of the company as chairman of the committee must be capable of carrying out his duties.

The organisation of the EC elections

Works councils are set up by the head of the company 

  • The electors

 The voters are the employees of the company. This includes all contracts, whether fixed-term, permanent or temporary.  To be eligible for election to a works council you must have been with the company for at least three months. However, there is an exception to this rule. If most of the employees in a company have less than three months' service, the period can be reduced to allow a large number of employees to vote. The works council is the representative body of the personnel. Defends the rights and interests of employees vis-à-vis the head of the company. Voters must be at least 16 years old and have no criminal convictions that disqualify them from voting.

  • The elected representatives of the works council

 Candidates for the EC elections must meet certain criteria: 

  • Namely to be eligible as a voter.
  • Be at least 18 years old to be part of the EC. 
  • Have at least one year's seniority in the company.
  • Not be related to the entrepreneur.

What is the role of a works council?

The main role of a works council is to defend the interests of employees and their families and to establish social and cultural operations. It also deals with the social dialogue within the company. Improve the working conditions of employees while ensuring that their rights are respected.

Social and cultural activity

 The CE is responsible for managing the social and cultural activities of employees. These activities include holiday vouchers, employee giftsholiday rental with considerable discounts for the whole family, company employee gift. Thanks to the CE of the company, the employees can have discounts at the cinema, employee gift idea, mutual insurance ....However, the establishment of social and cultural activities is not mandatory. The latter is set up mainly to improve the working conditions of employees so that they can develop their professional life within the company.

Legal rules to be observed for cultural and social activities

  • Ideological neutrality of the activity, i.e. no activities related to religion or politics to avoid excluding a certain number of employees 
  •  LThe absence of discrimination at all points between employees 

Work organization

 The works council also looks after the smooth running of the company. The works council must be consulted on company projects, changes in the organisation of work, redundancies, etc., but their opinion remains advisory.

Duration of the mandate of the EC representatives

The elected members of the works council are elected for a renewable period of 4 years.  The functions of a member of the Works Council may be terminated by a breach of contract, be it by resignation, dismissal, contractual termination or any other means of terminating the employment contract. Any loss of eligibility will terminate the mandate as well as a death. The mandate can be revoked by the electoral majority to which it belongs. In these different cases the EC member will be replaced by a substitute on the list presented by the same body. A credit of hours is allocated to each EC member in order to carry out his or her duties.  This credit is 20 hours per month per member. These hours are paid and considered as working time. Overtime beyond 20 hours in the event of an unexpected circumstance; for example a strike, alert movement ... Overtime will be paid with a supporting document.

What are the obligations of a works council?

 The members of the works council have the obligation to keep confidential information, economic and financial situation of the company that they have in their knowledge. They are bound by professional secrecy. The works council has an obligation to inform employees about internal regulations, changes in the employee structure and any other information about them.

What are the advantages of a CE?

The CE is set up to motivate employees; it is an effective way to get them to invest more in the company, by offering them activities at a lower cost thanks to the advantages CE gifts. Discounts ranging from 10 to 60 % cheaper on various social and cultural activities. Among the benefits of the CE are CE gifts, free legal consultations, restaurant tickets, cinema tickets and ticketing at reduced prices. 

The EC works to defend the interests of employees on all points, namely EC gift cards at the end of the year. For example at Christmas or at the annual party. Firms give employee gifts to their employees to celebrate festive and joyful moments together. Some companies offer birth certificates to employees who have just become parents to accompany them in this new stage of their lives. It is a way of being present in the personal life of employees, a gift of recognition. They will feel valued and considered by the employer thanks to the CE gifts They will therefore be more productive and more invested in their work within the company. Simple gestures that have more than satisfactory results in terms of management. Among the benefits are countless activities in which employees can participate, such as team outings or alone with their families.  It should be noted that an employee may provide some of the benefits to which he or she is entitled to his or her family; family is defined as those members of the employee's immediate family who have a direct relationship with the employee.The larger the company's workforce, the greater the benefits because the operating budget for this employee gift will be that much larger. Small companies will be granted benefits such as luncheon vouchers, holiday vouchers, etc. 

CE gift idea 

You are a works council and you are looking for gift ideas for your employees? you have come to the right place. Here you will find countless gift ideas for employees, gift ideas for employees, all occasions to please with an employee gift.Whether it is for a birthday, Christmas, New Year or simply to reward a challenge won by a team of your company. Here you will find your happiness, original and cheap high-tech gifts, unique gadgets, personalised goodies full of CE gifts for everyone. specialist of gifts this companies proposes you several idea of gift CE for the gifts recognition employees.Consult our online catalog without further delay.

What is the EWC's right to alert?

The warning right allows the Works Council to intervene when it notices that the economic and social situation of the company is threatened. When the Works Council has in its possession elements that considerably affect the economic situation of the company, and the company agreements. It must exercise a right of economic alert. From that moment on they can ask the employer for explanations in relation to the elements found.However, if they are unable to obtain the information they require on the economic situation of the company or if the employer admits to economic difficulties, they can draw up a report, if necessary with the help of a chartered accountant.The Works Council has the right to choose 2 employees from outside the company with a quota of 5 hours each to help draw up the report. However, the elected members of the company gift committee may call in the auditor as well. All information provided remains confidential. Different situations can trigger the warning procedure of the works council. These include irregularity in the number of meetings or failure to hold meetings of the works council, refusal by the employer to show the company's financial statements, and a considerable fall in the company's turnover, which may trigger an alert because the serenity of the employees' jobs is in danger.The works council also has a right to alert the social partners if it notices an increase in fixed-term contracts or temporary work and an abusive use of the latter.

How is the works council budget financed?

It is the head of the company who finances the budget of the works council through different subsidies, namely an operating subsidy and a subsidy for social and cultural activities. 

EC operating budget

The operating grants are given by the employer to ensure the operation of the equipment and to pay the employees so that they can organise their company committee. A room must be allocated to them so that they can carry out their function.The EC operating budget corresponds to 0.2 % of the company's payroll. The amount of the EC operating budget is 0.22% for large ESCs.  

 The budget for social and cultural activities 

 The purpose of the EC employee gift operating budget is to set up activities to be chosen from the ideas employee gift. The head of the company is free to give the budget he or she wishes for the organisation and implementation of social and cultural activities for employees. For this reason, the benefits can vary considerably from one company to another.