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CMS releases updated guide on termination procedures for employees and corporate officers


In today’s challenging economic environment, companies are being forced to adjust their human resources management strategies, and sometimes have to make difficult choices resulting in dismissals. To illustrate prevailing rules and practices in this area, CMS has prepared a guide presenting an overview of termination procedures for employees and corporate officers in 22 European countries, as well as in China and Russia.

These procedures take into account a complex and evolving legal landscape. Whereas France will have to legislate changes in its redundancy procedures in the wake of the National Inter-professional Agreement (ANI) signed last 11 January, other European countries already emphasise social dialogue with employee representatives. This is the case for redundancy programs in Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium, especially with regard to support measures.

In addition, in some countries, such as Spain and Italy, an agreement may be reached with employee representatives. Such an agreement is similar to what is envisaged in the ANI, because in the case of extensive layoffs, the dismissal procedure and the details of the redundancy plan may now be specified in a collective agreement approved by qualified majority. Interestingly too, the future “job protection agreements” defined in the ANI are similar to a measure already in place in Italy, whereby flexible working hours can be introduced to avoid lay-offs.

Lastly, some of France’s neighbors, like Switzerland and the United Kingdom, cap the amount of compensation that may be awarded in the event of an unfair or unjustified dismissal. In the case of the ANI, the new redundancy procedures have prompted employee representatives to call for a system of fixed compensation when a settlement for unfair dismissal is reached before a conciliation board.

While practices still vary from country to country, they are becoming increasingly standardized in some respects, particularly as a result of alignments with EU standards, which can only make their management easier for the teams involved.

The CMS Employment and Pensions Practice Area Group includes 250 lawyers with extensive expertise and experience in employment and pension law in the 28 countries where CMS is present.

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