Between support and control, how the General Directorate of Labor is going through the health crisis

The new Director General of Labor Pierre Ramain responded yesterday to journalists from the social press. Health crisis requires, the services of the Ministry of Labor have been mobilized on occupational health, teleworking and the monitoring of collective agreements accompanying this pandemic. The DGT remains mobilized on its two priorities: the Professional Equality Index and secondment.

Almost four months after his arrival at the head of the General Directorate of Labor, Pierre Ramain, responded yesterday morning, during a videoconference organized by the Association of Social Information Journalists (Ajis), to questions from the press on the effects of the health crisis on labor law, social dialogue and Health at work. And the Directorate General of Labor has not been idle in recent months. “The DGT was very active with more than 64,000 interventions linked to the health crisis”, observes Pierre Ramain. More than 38,000 interventions thus gave rise to follow-up; 400 formal notices were issued and in 93% of cases, companies complied.

Juggle between stability and adaptation

Sometimes singled out for its unstable recommendations, the DGT wishes to defend its practice, necessary in times of health crisis. “We are gradually changing the health protocol in the company according to the evolution of knowledge and the orientations given by the health authorities”. Pierre Ramain acknowledges that employers had to appropriate the protocol, “its scope and its usefulness”, but he notes that criticism has weakened since the Council of State clarified the legal nature of the protocol and that it clarified that it was a simple variation of the safety obligation. “Since these decisions, the tool is better understood and more appropriate”. Pierre Ramain made a point of emphasizing that it is not easy to find the right balance between the stability of the rules and the desire to respond in the best possible way. [à la situation sanitaire], citing as an example the regulation on partial activity. “We can clearly see the desire to facilitate the best possible care which leads to regular adaptation of the rules.

But the DGT also wants to be in anticipation, in particular on the involvement of the occupational health services in terms of tests and now vaccinations.

Mobilize occupational health services

Occupational health is indeed more than ever at the heart of the news of DGT services. One of the priorities is “to involve the occupational health services more widely, in particular in conjunction with public health actors, as provided for in the proposed law on occupational health“, explains Pierre Ramain. Regarding vaccination, “the intervention methods of the occupational health services are not determined: vaccinations on site, in the occupational health services, vaccination centers … We are in the analysis of possible scenarios “.

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Another central question, those of clusters at work. Laurent Vilboeuf, the Deputy Director General of Labor recognizes that they “do not have any contamination figures in the workplace” and that there is just “a common dashboard with the regional health agencies (ARS). This does not prevent the monitoring of clusters, adds Pierre Ramain. “Professional clusters are monitored by the ARS. 3,900 clusters have been investigated since the start of the health crisis, of which 1,900 are still considered active; more than half concern the social and medico-social sector. More than counting the number of people concerned (which is difficult because contaminations are often multifactorial), it is more the mode of contamination that it is interesting to follow: collective catering, convivial events outside of work, carpooling “. Laurent Vilboeuf assures that “when the ARS detect clusters, [la DGT] has the instruction to intervene. ”700 interventions of the labor inspectorate took place on clusters.

Teleworking controls

Ensuring health in the workplace also means controlling the rules decided on teleworking. Pierre Ramain, affirmed that the decentralized services of the State had passed “to the stage of control” to verify that the companies were in compliance with the regulations imposed by the health crisis, namely the continuation of teleworking at 100%, to the ‘With the exception of people who express the need, in this case, they can return to the site one day a week.

“When the positions were teleworkable, employees were encouraged to contact their staff representatives, and the labor inspectorate in the absence of a response,” explains Laurent Vilboeuf. Objective: to limit the reluctance of employers in terms of teleworking. In order to ensure checks on teleworking, the DGT relied on the risk assessment, as specified in theinstruction of November 3, 2020.

Dynamic social dialogue

Teleworking has also been the subject of numerous collective agreements, like other subjects linked to the health crisis. The DGT, through the filing of collective agreements, succeeds in carrying out specific, qualitative and quantitative monitoring of social dialogue during this health crisis. “We have not observed a slowdown in social dialogue. It is rather dynamic, a little below 2019 but beyond 2018”. Regarding the agreements on the management of the health crisis, 90 branch agreements were filed, as well as 9,000 company agreements. “The branch agreements relate mainly to the taking of paid holidays, the mobilization of vocational training, provident insurance and the APLD (around thirty agreements)”, notes the Director General of Labor. Company agreements relate mainly to paid holidays, working time arrangements, bonuses, compensation for partial activity, long-term partial activity, teleworking. Pierre Ramain has counted “more than 4,000 company agreements on the APLD”. They represent “an increasing part of company agreements”.

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Social dialogue has also been adapted to the health crisis and the question of the sustainability of these derogatory measures arises. “The derogatory measures to adapt the labor code to the health crisis were conceived as temporary measures. They were not designed to be perpetuated, affirms Pierre Ramain. He recognizes, however, that” the modalities of development of social dialogue have given rise to habits (…) CSE videoconferencing meetings can be one of the things that could be made sustainable. “Other possibilities of exemption, on the other hand, were only very weakly mobilized, like for example the possibilities to derogate from the rules applicable to fixed-term contracts (waiting periods, etc.). “They do not meet a pressing need of companies”, concludes the DGT.

The Professional Equality Index remains a priority

But the health crisis does not make the DGT forget the priorities set by the Ministry of Labor. This is the case with the Professional Equality Index. Considered “a priority government reform”, the Director General of Labor confirmed the creation of a new indicator, currently under study at the Ministry of Labor and the Economy. During a conference organized yesterday in Bercy on “10 years of the Copé-Zimmerman law”, Elisabeth Borne has, moreover, partly unveiled its outlines: it should measure not the remuneration but “a balanced representation between women and men, at the level of the company’s senior executives (…) Because it is by acting at the level of all the management teams, which are the breeding grounds for future Comex and Codir, that we will be most effective ” , said the Minister of Labor.

In addition, Pierre Ramain indicated that the labor inspectorate has set a target of 10,000 checks this year. On the one hand, to verify that companies publish their Index. Some refractories exist, especially among the smallest companies (59% of companies with 50 to 250 employees publish their results, against 81% of all sizes). On the other hand, to validate the corrective actions implemented in companies having obtained a score of less than 75% (out of 100). Companies can, in fact, be subject to a financial penalty, up to 1% of their payroll, when the results obtained with regard to the indicators are less than 75 points, at the end of a period of three years. It will therefore be the moment of truth for companies with more than 1,000 employees, pioneers in reporting their results, in March 2019.

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Just like the fight against fraudulent postings

Another priority of the Ministry of Labor: posted work. “The focus on this subject testifies to the importance given to this major theme by the Ministry of Labor and the DGT”. Pierre Ramain recalls that a voluminous circular on the subject. “Many large companies were waiting for it because the last circular dated from 2008. It includes all the developments that have occurred since”.

No planned change in work orders

The Labor orders should not see any further changes in the coming months. The follow-up work is continuing within the framework of the evaluation committee set up within France Strategy, but “at this stage there is no project to change the orders”, assures Pierre Ramain.

Still, changes could arise here and there through litigation. This is the case first of all with the notion of hierarchical minimum wage. Let us recall that the Labor ordinances confirmed the primacy of branch agreements over company agreements in terms of hierarchical minimum wages. But a debate has opened on the very definition of the minimum wage. The General Directorate of Labor has retained one restrictive meaning that some dispute, including Laurent Berger, the secretary general of the CFDT. For the time being, the Ministry of Labor does not envisage any change in its position, except when the Council of State is called to order. “This is a question on which there are several disputes brought before the Council of State, explains Pierre Ramain. Depending on the response of the Council of State, if it does not validate our interpretation, we will develop our doctrine. , but for the moment no change is planned “.

Another subject subject to litigation: the scale of compensation for dismissal without real and serious cause which continues to be contested before the trial judges. “There is a dispute before the ILO, this is what will mobilize us, we are awaiting its response. It is also possible that the Court of Cassation will have to study this point in the coming months”.

Staff management

Human resources management (or personnel management) covers several areas of interest to HR:

– Recruitment and career management (of which professional training is an important part);
– Administrative management of staff;
– The payroll and the remuneration and benefits policy;
– Social relations.

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Florence Mehrez with Anne Bariet

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