Work – Expertise decided by the social and economic committee (work council)

The social and economic committee (work council) may appoint an expert under several circumstances, without the authorization of the employer.

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

Published on idroit.co on 11 June 2020

The social and economic committee (work council) may appoint an expert without the authorization of the employer, under several circumstances, in particular in relation with the consultation on the economic and financial situation of the company (L. 2315-88 of the French labor code), in relation with the exercise of his right of economic alert (L. 2315-92) or in case of serious risk (L. 2315-94 1°).

Expertise as part of the consultation on the economic and financial situation.

The mission of the chartered accountant relates to all elements of economic, financial or social order necessary for the understanding of the accounts and the appreciation of the situation of the company (L. 2315-89). To carry out any verification or control entering into the exercise of his missions, the chartered accountant has access to the same documents as the company’s statutory auditor (L. 2315-90).

Expertise in the exercise of the right of economic alert.

The social and economic committee may be assisted, once per accounting year, by a chartered accountant. The committee may convene the statutory auditor and appoint two employees of the company in an advisory capacity chosen for their competence and outside the social and economic committee. These employees have five hours each to assist the committee with a view to drawing up a report under the right of economic alert. This time is remunerated as working time (L. 2312-64).

Each quarter, in companies with at least three hundred employees, the employer must provide the social and economic committee with information on:

  • The general evolution of orders and the execution of production programs;
  • Possible delays in payment of social security contributions by the company;
  • The evolution of the workforce and the qualification of employees by gender.

The chartered accountant has access to the information under the following conditions (L. 2315-93). The employer provides the expert with the information necessary for the performance of his mission (L. 2315-83). To carry out any verification or control entering into the exercise of his missions, the chartered accountant has access to the same documents as the company’s auditor (L. 2315-90).

Expertise in case of serious risk.

The social and economic committee may appoint an expert when a serious, identified and current risk, whether or not revealed by an industrial accident, an occupational or professional illness, is noted in the establishment (L. 2315-94 1°).

Costs, extent and duration of the expertise

When the social and economic committee decides to appoint a chartered accountant to consult on the economic and financial situation of the company, the expertise costs are entirely borne by the employer (L. 2315-80). The same applies when the expertise relates to a serious risk.

When the social and economic committee decides to appoint a chartered accountant in relation with the exercise of his right of economic alert, the expertise costs are borne at 20% by the committee and at 80% by the employer.

The expert notifies the employer of the estimated cost, the extent and the duration of the expertise within ten days of his appointment (R. 2315-46).

The expert shall ask the employer, no later than three days after his appointment, for any additional information he considers necessary for the accomplishment of his mission. The employer responds to this request within five days (R. 2315-45).

Litigations

The employer seizes the judicial judge within ten days (L. 2315-86 and R. 2315-49) of:

  • The deliberation of the social and economic committee deciding on the use of expertise if the employer intends to contest the need for the expertise;
  • The appointment of the expert by the social and economic committee if he intends to contest the choice of the expert;
  • Notification to the employer of the specifications and the information provided for in article L. 2315-81-1 if he intends to contest the estimated cost, the extent or the duration of the expertise;
  • Notification to the employer of the final cost of the expertise if he intends to contest this cost.

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

+ READ > 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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