France passes groundbreaking “Climate Law” that includes Labour-law consequences
The groundbreaking Climate Law adopted at the end of August 2021 contains provisions that modify certain human resources management practices: the law to combat climate change, which involves trade unions and works councils in the ecological transition.
Firstly, the climate law inserts the theme of the environment into the three-yearly periodic negotiations on the forward-looking management of jobs and skills (GPEC). From now on, these supplementary negotiations on GPEC at branch and company level will have to take into account the challenges of the ecological transition on jobs and skills. The objective is to make companies aware of the need to reconvert their activities and transform their professions in the context of the ecological transition.
The second point is the extension of the consultative powers of the Works Council (CSE). In companies with at least 50 employees, the employer must now integrate the environmental impact of its decisions in the information and consultation procedures of the CSE. In concrete terms, each topic subject to information and consultation of the CSE must take into account the environmental consequences of the company’s activities. This concerns the specific consultations (related to the organization, management and general operation of the company), but also the 3 recurrent consultations on strategic orientations, the economic and financial situation and social policy.
Thirdly, the economic and social data base becomes the economic, social and environmental data base. Its content is enriched by a new theme entitled “environmental consequences of the company’s activity”. A decree should complete the regulatory provisions of the Labor Code to take into account this new theme of the database.
Lastly, the mission of the expert accountant. CSE can call upon a chartered accountant for consultation on the strategic orientations, on the economic and financial situation and on the social policy of the company. Within the framework of these consultations, the mission of the expert, which concerns all the elements of an economic, financial or social nature, is extended to the environmental consequences of the company’s activity.
The economic training course for the first elected members of the CSE can also concern the environmental consequences of the activity of the companies.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
Be careful if you consult your CSE on a project in the near future: the consultation should also concern the environmental impact of said project.