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État d’urgence sanitaire Covid-19 Droit du travail Droit social

Work – Expertise decided by the social and economic committee (work council), in the context of the health and economic crisis linked to the coronavirus (Covid-19)

The Social and Economic Committee (work council) can take the initiative to appoint an independent expert. We may expect a significant increase in the use of expertise, given the combination of the health crisis and the economic crisis.

By Franck BEAUDOIN, avocat (attorney-at-law in France), FB Juris

Published on idroit.co on 13 June 2020

References: articles L. 2315-78 and followings and R. 2315-45 and followings of the French labor code. In the absence of precision, the provisions cited below are those of the French labor code.

In the context of the health and economic crisis, it is important for both the employees and the employer to master the rules of expertise initiated by the Social and Economic Committee.

Indeed, the Social and Economic Committee can take the initiative to appoint an independent expert.

Depending on the subject of the expertise, its cost is either borne entirely by the employer, or shared between the committee (20%) and the employer (80%), or borne entirely by the committee.

The committee can in particular commission a chartered accountant within the framework of the consultation on the economic and financial situation of the company (articles L. 2315-88 and following of the labor code), within the framework of the exercise of its right of economic alert (L. 2315-92 and L. 2312-64), or in the event of collective redundancies for economic reasons (L. 2315-92 and L. 1233-34 s.).

The committee can also appoint an authorized expert when a serious, identified and current risk, whether or not revealed by an accident at work, an occupational disease or a professional one, is observed in the establishment (L. 2315-94 1 °), or in the event of the introduction of new technologies or a major project modifying health and safety conditions or working conditions, provided for in paragraph 4° of article L. 2312-8 (L. 2315-94 2 °).

In this period of resumption of activity, after the confinement due to the health crisis of the coronavirus (Covid-19), we can expect a significant increase in the expertises initiated by the committees, because in addition to the still current health crisis, there is also a serious economic crisis. Expertises can therefore be motivated both by the health situation in the company and by the economic and financial situation of the company.

Therefore, it can be expected, in particular, that the legal basis for the expertises will give rise to some controversies.

Indeed, for example, the cost of the expertise is fully borne by the employer if it intervenes in the context of recurrent consultation on the economic and financial situation, in the event of collective dismissals for economic reasons or in the event of serious, identified and current risk. However, the cost is shared between the committee (20%) and the employer (80%) in the context of exercising the right of economic alert, as in the case of a major project modifying health and safety or working conditions.

We publish a legal guide to the expertise initiated by the committee, in French, as well as a note in English.

+ LIRE > Work – Expertise decided by the social and economic committee (work council).

+ LIRE > Travail – CSE – Expertise décidée par le comité social et économique.

+ LIRE > Travail – CSE – Expertise décidée par le comité social et économique, dans le contexte de la crise sanitaire et économique liée au coronavirus (Covid-19).

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