The Constitutional Council ruled on Thursday that the French Labor Code does not violate the principles of the Constitution. The decision did not invalidate a recent judgment that labor law must be revised to provide paid leave to employees on sick leave, regardless of circumstances. Labor Minister Catherine Vautrin has promised to comply with European legislation once the decision is known.
In his speech before the Council on January 30, the State representative proposed limiting the acquisition of paid leave by employees on sick leave to four weeks per year, in line with the minimum duration at European level, compared to five weeks in France. The Sages had to determine whether two articles of the Labor Code infringed upon the right to health and rest and the principle of equality. The Council dismissed complaints of disregard for these principles.
Employer representatives defended current French legislation before the Council, estimating it would cost at least 2 billion euros per year for companies if employees were given paid leave during periods of sickness. However, in a letter to Medef members in December, its president Patrick Martin obtained assurances from the Ministry of Labor that “the future compliance law” would limit accumulation of paid leave during periods of shutdown illness to four weeks per year, accompanied by “a right to carry over leave over a period of 15 months”.
For CGT, “if this decision is obviously disappointing – symbolic censorship would have been welcome – it does not change anything in terms of rights currently applicable to employees.” In a press release following the decision, they emphasized that “the contested provisions are buried.”