France: Professional Reviews Deadline Postponed until 30 September
The Ministry of Labour’s 21 June update of its Q&A on the organisation of professional interviews during the COVID-19 health crisis, provides that sexennial professional interviews that have not been organised before 30 June, can still be held up until 30 September 2021. As for the actions co-financed by the employer within the framework of the CPF, they may correspond to non-compulsory training from which employees must benefit. It also points out that the conditions relating to the regular holding of interviews and the completion of non-compulsory training are cumulative in order to escape the penalty associated with this system.
On 21 June, the Ministry of Labour once again updated the Q&A on the adaptation of the professional interview framework to the COVID-19 health crisis. It provides several clarifications on the methods of implementation of the system and on the deadlines offered to employers for organising these meetings, dedicated to the development of skills and the professional evolution of employees.
The Q&A incorporates the changes to Ordinance 2020-387 of 1 April 2020, which, in its latest version, authorises employers to postpone until 30 June 2021 at the latest, the professional interviews that were to be held between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2021.
It should be remembered that this derogatory measure concerns the first paragraphs of I and II of Article L. 6315-1 of the Labour Code and therefore allows both the postponement of:
- professional interviews that must be organised every two years or according to another periodicity defined by a company agreement or, failing that, a branch agreement (the agreements concluded during the health crisis have made it possible to adjust the periodicity of the interview cycles in progress);
- that of the professional assessment interviews to be organised every six years to take stock of the employee’s career (this frequency cannot be changed by agreement). Under the terms of the law, the assessment interviews that were due before 1 July 2021 should therefore be organised before this date to allow the employer to escape the penalty. However, the Ministry of Labour has planned to extend this derogation period.
Law 2021-689 of 31 May 2021 on the management of the health crisis, has postponed until 1 October 2021, the date from which penalties for non-compliance with the rules on professional maintenance must be paid. These penalties take the form of corrective contributions to the CPF (personal training account) of up to €3,000 per employee concerned. The corresponding sums will have to be paid from 1 October 2021 and before 1 March 2022, the deadline for payment of the balance of the professional training contribution, according to the Ministry.
As the Q&A points out, from 1 October 2021, in applying these penalties, account will be taken of “the flexibility of the timetable introduced by the law”. In other words, if the employer does not voluntarily pay the penalty on that date, the administration or the judge will take into account the date on which the employer finally proceeded with the review interview after 30 June, and the fact that the obligation to liquidate the penalty has been neutralised until 30 September 2021.
However, the Q&A goes further than the legal tolerance. It provides that “for the interviews that could not take place before 30 June 2021, the employer has until 30 September 2021 to carry out said interviews without incurring a penalty. This is a possibility of catching up until 30 September 2021 for employers who were unable to meet the 30 June 2021 deadline.”
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
Employers should be vigilant in respecting the new deadline for these professional interviews with their staff, or they will face severe penalties.