Created by Law No. 2014-40 of 20 January 2014 on guaranteeing the future and fairness of the retirement system, the personal occupational health-risk prevention account (C3P – compte personnel de prévention de la pénibilité) entered into force on 1 January 2015 for four occupational health risks: night shifts; working in successive, alternating teams; repetitive tasks; and working under hyperbaric conditions.
The six other occupational health risks, and in particular those related to significant physical constraints, entered into force on 1 July 2016.
Companies are required to indicate on the annual social data statement the occupational health risks to which their employees are exposed and how long they are exposed to them and must pay the related contributions.
Implementing the C3P resulted in a major conflict with companies and in particular small companies, which complained that the system was too complex, calling it "inapplicable", "intolerable" and "worse than the 35-hour week".
As President Macron promised during his campaign, among the 36 measures the administration made public on 31 August 2017, it included "the elimination of inapplicable administrative constraints in the area of administrative statements regarding occupational health risks".
In fact, as a reading of the ordonnance related to the occupational prevention account (C2P – compte professionnel de prévention) indicates, the administration made only two major changes and left the rest untouched.
1. Two major changes:
The first is set out in the new Article L. 4163-1 of the Labour Code, according to which employers' obligation to report occupational risk factors is now limited to risks "related to an aggressive physical environment or certain paces of work".
The administration has therefore eliminated from this programme all risks related to the significant physical constraints that had caused the most problems, such as manual handling of heavy loads, painful positions and mechanical vibrations. While it maintained the risks related to an aggressive physical environment, it is not certain that the administration will include all of the current risks in the list that will be set out in a decree. While it will probably include work performed under hyperbaric conditions and in environments where there are extreme temperatures and/or noise, which do not pose significant problems, it is not at all clear that the decree will include dangerous chemical agents, which involve extremely complex problems of evaluation.
The second major change relates to financing the system: the law of 20 January 2014 reforming the retirement system created a Fund responsible for financing C3P-related rights that was funded by two contributions from companies: one contribution for all of their employees from employers that fall within the system's scope and an additional contribution from those employers for their employees who are exposed to occupational health risks.
New Article L. 4163-2 of the French Labour Code now provides that: "expenditures generated by the occupational prevention account ... and its management are covered, respectively as applicable, by the workplace accident and occupational disease section of the general regime and those of the agricultural employees' regime".
Companies have thus obtained the elimination of these two contributions, which constituted a new, very heavy burden for them considering the risk the system would be excessive. It will be financed in the context of the workplace accident and occupational disease section which, as we know, enjoys a surplus.
2. As for the rest, although the administration rewrote the entire text, there are no substantive changes regarding agreements to prevent occupational risks; the opening, funding and use of occupational prevention accounts; managing the accounts; control; or complaints. Most of the provisions were kept as they were.
3. This ordonnance is scheduled to enter into force on 1 October 2017. However:
- the new provisions relating to account management, control, claims and financing will not enter into force until 1 January 2018 (the current provisions will remain in force until then); and
- the new provisions related to occupational risk prevention agreements, which in fact are only slightly different, will enter into force on 1 January 2019 (the current provisions will remain in force until then).