Works council: the real advantages!

 The works council market is a fast growing market that has recently taken a new turn. Indeed, nowadays, works councils are becoming essential players by becoming powerful and decision-making organizations. Nevertheless, in addition to the movement they are creating around an already dynamic market with leisure or vacations, works councils are opening up to other fields such as law, savings and even taxation. 

In France, the market currently counts about 33,000 works councils, divided into 28,000 works councils and 5,000 COS, CCAS and staff associations, representing a budget of more than 15 billion euros.

What is a CE? 

A short history of the CE 

  • 1st version:

On October 4, 1941, PÉTAIN's Labor Charter created works councils. Under General PÉTAIN's leadership, there were no trade unions; these committees were in fact an instrument of control over the world of work. The works councils were then run under the supervision of the employers.

It is mainly thanks to General PÉTAIN that the CE/CSE à la française has its most well-known role among the general public and employees of companies with 50 or more employees: vouchers, reduced-rate ticketing, sports activities, vacation camps, Christmas trees, etc.

Nevertheless, there is a second version of the story of the creation of the CE that we will see next. 

  • 2nd version: 

On February 22, 1945, an ordinance issued by the provisional government of the Resistance and chaired by General de Gaulle created works councils.

If the CE-CSE elected by the employees and independent from the employer exist in France, it is first of all because this trade union demand, which was born between the two world wars, was included in the program of the Resistance.

However, this historical version is disputed. 

What is the purpose of a works council?

Nowadays, the works council represents several roles including the social and cultural role, the economic role as well as that of company analysis, it is one of the institutions representing the personnel within your company.

Role as a social and cultural actor:

The role of social and cultural actor is one of the most important for a works council, although the works council is not obliged to organize social and cultural events. Indeed, the social and cultural activity is mainly carried out for the benefit of the company's staff, in order to improve the collective conditions of employment, work and professional life within the company.

However, the social and cultural activity of the works council must respect two legal principles:

§ The activities must maintain a certain ideological neutrality; trade union, religious or political activities cannot be considered as social and cultural activities by the works council.

§ No distinction or discrimination between employees may be made.

 

Role as an economic actor: 

The works council has sometimes a role of consultant to the employer on economic and professional activities, on certain fields :

  • The length and organization of working hours: individualized working hours, recourse to part-time work and all issues related to rest.
  • Dates of paid vacations.
  • Rules of procedure: establishment or modification.
  • Professional training: regular consultation, for example when the employer decides to send its employees on training courses as part of the training plan.
  • Dismissal of an employee representative: the consultation of the works council is a compulsory prerequisite to the referral to the labor inspection.
  • Economic redundancy: consulted on the redundancy project, on the determination of the order of redundancies, on the job protection plan, etc.
  • Collective proceedings: consulted during a safeguard, recovery or liquidation procedure.
  • Other: agreement on profit-sharing or participation, when new technologies are introduced, provident fund, etc.

Role as a player in the analysis of the company's accounts 

The works council can also have the role of analyzing the company's accounts thanks to the accounting and financial documents that the employer is obliged to provide.

All documents intended for the annual general meeting of shareholders are first sent to the works council. The same applies to the auditors' report.

The role of the works council is to make observations on the economic and social situation of the company, which are transmitted to the general meeting of shareholders, together with the report of the board of directors, the management board or the managers.

For what benefits?

On the one hand, there are benefits for employees. But on the other hand, employers can also benefit from certain advantages linked to the works council. 

For the employee: 

Thanks to the Works Council, employees benefit from benefits in kind: vouchers, gift cards, discounts, etc. But also benefits linked to the company.

Two factors play an important role in providing these benefits: the size of the company and the industry. A larger company will have an easier time offering employee benefits.

Please note that a works council is compulsory from 50 employees.

Once the CE is integrated into the company, the employee can benefit from restaurant vouchers, culture vouchers, reading vouchers or vacation vouchers. These means of payment are exempt from social security charges, which makes them the most interesting URSSAF gift vouchers.

These vouchers offer additional purchasing power and can be used to purchase all categories of books, multimedia, cultural activities for the family, and entertainment for couples or friends. They therefore represent a significant salary advantage.

The benefits can also be linked to the company on organizational, social, cultural or personal issues. The works council can ask for the help of a works council service provider in order to obtain multiple advantages such as a ticketing service with numerous advantageous offers.

For the employer: 

The employee is motivated and feels involved in the company's projects. They take part in the company's decisions.

These benefits are also a source of interesting additional income for the employees. Their purchasing power is enhanced, thus increasing employee loyalty and strengthening the company's image both internally and externally.

CSL Benefits:

CSL benefits are intended to improve the working and living conditions of staff.

It is defined as:

§ Improving the living and working conditions of the staff.

§ Optional for the employer.

§ For the company's employees.

We have as examples of CSA: catering, coffee machine, drink dispenser, gift card for a wedding or birth.

On our side, F2i is setting up from July 1st a CE for its consultants with a budget of 1000€ per consultant.

Within this CE, we set up several actions for our consultants, mainly gift vouchers, vacation vouchers, ticketing, as well as CESU vouchers. 

What are the differences between CE and CSE?

The CSE groups together all the former bodies such as the DP, the CE, the CHSCT and the DUP. A CSE is now set up when 11 employees are reached for more than 12 months, while a CE is set up from 50 employees.

The economic attributions of the CSE in companies with more than 50 employees are very similar to the works councils since they must ensure, as before, "a collective expression of the employees allowing the permanent taking into account of their interests in the decisions relating to the management and to the economic and financial evolution of the company, to the organization of work, to the vocational training and to the production techniques.

Moreover, the CSE also gathers the attributions formerly assigned to the CHSCT which are based around :

§ Analysis of occupational risks,

§ Access to all jobs for women and people with disabilities,

§ The prevention of moral or sexual harassment and sexist behaviour.

Finally, the CSE has the ambition to generate benefits for the company and the delegation:

§ First of all, the functioning is simplified, because the 3 former bodies : Works Council, Hygiene Committee and the employees' representatives are gathered in a single organization : the CSE. This makes it possible not to deal with the same subjects or to organize more easily between each organization. Secondly, the power to negotiate collective agreements. Thanks to the CSE, it is now possible to include in its negotiating power the collective agreements previously held by the delegates. Finally, the management of the budget of the CSE is more flexible, as transfers are possible between the two budgets (operating, social and cultural activities). It will thus have the possibility to allocate up to 10% of its total annual budget for activities to the operating budget. Conversely, the surplus of the operating budget can be paid in full to the activities.

The objective of the CSE is to gather all the bodies such as the DP, the CE and the CHSCT to simplify the dialogue, the opinions and to harmonize the decision making! This facilitates its organization!

 

Why set up a works council? 

Setting up a works council will allow companies to bring several advantages to their employees. 

By providing these benefits, companies will be able to retain their employees and improve their image. 

Contribute to the improvement of the employer brand.

Today, companies are finding it more and more difficult to recruit, especially when it comes to profiles requiring high skills or atypical profiles.

The benefits must be present, and must also correspond to the needs and desire to balance private and professional life.

Thus, by adapting its offer and its range of benefits in terms of social and cultural actions, the company can make the difference with respect to its competitors and attract to it the most sought-after talents while limiting recruitment costs.

An ally in employee and talent retention policy.

The implementation and granting of benefits in connection with the works council will not only be useful to improve and make visible the image of the employer brand, it will also be a particularly effective tool in the implementation of the policy to retain employees and even more so your talents.

At F2i, we have implemented this solution in order to meet the needs of our consultants and especially to bring them economic, social and cultural benefits.

The establishment of a works council will allow us to retain our consultants by offering them privileges linked to the works council. 

Do you know the difference between a PEE and a PERCO? 

What is a PEE(Plan d'épargne entreprise)

The company savings plan (PEE) is a collective savings scheme that allows employees (and managers of small companies) to buy securities, with the help of the company. Employees and companies can make payments into the PEE. The sums are unavailable for at least 5 years, except in the case of exceptional releases.

The advantages of a PEE 

Setting up this savings scheme in the company represents an opportunity from a social and fiscal point of view. In particular, the PEE allows you to benefit from an exemption from social security contributions and the deduction from taxable income of sums paid in as employee savings (profit-sharing, participation, matching contributions). 

 

What is a PERCO (Savings plan for collective retirement)

The Group Retirement Savings Plan (PERCO) is a savings system set up by collective agreement or by decision of the employer. It allows employees to build up savings for retirement, with the help of their company, in addition to the compulsory pay-as-you-go pension schemes. It can be funded by various types of payments which are then spread over financial investments.

Who benefits from a PERCO? 

The PERCO benefits all the employees of the company. Indeed, as an employee savings scheme, the PERCO is necessarily collective and no employee can be excluded. The notion of employee is understood in the sense of the labor law. It refers to employees bound to their employer by an employment contract and carrying out their activities in a subordinate relationship.

The advantages of a PERCO 

The PERCO solution brings several benefits both in terms of social charges and taxation. 

Indeed, the PERCO brings a simple taxation. The capital gains generated during the savings phase are not subject to annual income tax. In case of exit, all the gains obtained can be exempted from tax, except for the termination of the PERCO in the form of a life annuity.

Moreover, the sums paid into the PERCO are subject to the CSG and CRDS. Gains are subject to social security deductions at the exit. The company is liable for a special tax called forfait social, unless it has less than 50 employees. 

Conclusion: 

Nowadays, a lot of companies set up CSE (social and economic committees), formerly CE (works council), mainly in order to increase the loyalty of their employees and to bring a favorable image of the company. 

In terms of benefits, we can find social, economic and cultural advantages for employees. We can find gift vouchers, luncheon vouchers, CESU vouchers and even a ticketing service for park tickets, concerts and others.  

At F2i, our goal is to provide our consultants with these advantages in order to optimize their salaries. 

Don't hesitate to ask before joining a company to find out what advantages it will bring you. 

To go further, you will find our complementary tools to this article to manage the social relations in companies:

  • Understanding the landscape of social relations
  • Mastering the establishment of trade unions in companies
  • Setting up staff representation in the company
  • Managing employee representative bodies in companies
  • Managing the means of action of employee representatives in companies
  • Managing social dialogue
  • Practicing collective bargaining
  • Preventing and managing collective conflits.

Sources : 

 

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