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During the COVID-19, relationships with staff representatives can continue by videoconferences

social dialogue must continue

09/04/2020

Even if many companies reduced or even temporarily stopped their business due to COVID-19, social dialogue must continue, obligations towards staff representatives remain in force and staff representatives must be involved more than ever.

Alternative measures for meetings with staff representatives

To this end, meetings between the employer and the members of the works council can be held by videoconferences in order to avoid physical contacts.

In principle, and according to the French Labor Code, only 3 meetings per year can take place by videoconference. However, in the context of COVID-19, this 3-meeting limitation has been lifted by the ordinance n°2020-389 dated April 1st, 2020.

This text also allows the use of conference calls and instant messenger, but only if video- or conference call are not possible.

Before implementing one of these methods, the employer must prior inform the staff representatives. 

Organisation of remote vote

When a vote by secret ballot is legally required, the vote must ensure the confidentiality of the voters’ identity. 

When voting is organised by electronic means, the system chosen must also ensure the confidentiality of the data transmitted as well as the security of means of authentication, recording and counting of votes.

For decisions, it must be ensured that all participants have access to satisfying technical means.

The vote must take place simultaneously.  All participants benefit from the same timing to vote.

Consultation of employees

In the absence of staff representatives in the company employees can be directly consulted on certain topics.

To this end, an electronic device can be set up in the company.

This mechanism must ensure the confidentiality of employees’ identity and their sign-off in order to avoid multiple votes. 

All these measures have been taken to face the very specific and unique situation we are facing with COVID-19. It is the only way to ensure the continuation of social dialogue within the company. However, it will be interesting to see if this forced technological leap is likely to change habits and hopefully law will change to allow this to be continued post COVID…


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