Can an employer impose leave or days off in lieu of hours worked from one day to the next?

Can an employer impose leave or days off in lieu of hours worked from one day to the next?

For paid leave: An employer may move leave already requested by an employee over another future period to cover a 14-day period, in exceptional circumstances (Article L. 3141-16 of the French Employment Code). However, if an employee has not requested leave, the employer may not impose it.

With regard to days off in lieu of hours worked: reference must be made to the agreement (branch or company) which has implemented them in order to see if it is possible for the employer to impose them and, in this case, the notice period and the procedures for changing the time for taking them. Days off in lieu which are freely available to the employer may be freely placed by the employer over the reference period. If the employer wishes to change when they take place over the period, it must do so in accordance with the time frame stipulated in the collective agreement.

Note, however, that all these rules will change very quickly with the adoption of a government order allowing it to:

  • Change the terms for acquiring paid leave;
  • And allow any employer to unilaterally impose or modify the dates for taking some paid leave, days off in lieu and rest days allocated to the employee’s time savings account, notwithstanding notice periods and terms of use defined by the French Employment Code and collective agreements.

This is specified by the bill on a health-related state of emergency adopted this evening by the Senate.

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