New career transition leave

French employers already benefit from various schemes or tools to adapt their workforce to the evolution of employment and their needs.

Besides redundancy plans or collective mutual termination agreements, which are used by employers to eliminate positions, French employers are encouraged to opt for less dramatic ways of transforming employment, while supporting employees in the evolution of their qualifications and their transition to sustainable positions and/or positions for which hiring is under stress.

To do so, French employers are indeed offered various schemes, under which they may benefit from Sate’s incentives or support to train their employees and promote their retraining. These include:

  • Employment agreements (“accords sur l’emploi”), which are long-term training initiatives designed to promote the internal retraining of employees who are the most exposed to the consequences of economic or technological change (in other words, employees likely to be affected by redundancies in the short to medium term);
  • Commitments to develop employment and skills agreements, which allow the employer – when facing economic change – to anticipate and support the development of jobs and qualifications, to prevent the risk of employees becoming unemployed and to meet the skill-development needs of both employees and employers;
  • Training and adaptation agreements (Conventions de formation et d’adaptation), which aim to support vocational training and the employees’ adaptation to changes in their jobs, for employees who are most vulnerable to the economic situation or to changes in technology, particularly because of their low qualifications.

French employers also benefit from specific leaves, the purpose of which is to accompany employees in a possible professional reconversion, such as the secure voluntary mobility leave («Congé de mobilité volontaire sécurisée »), during which the employee can plan to create or take over a business or to benefit from a period of part-time work for this purpose.

In January 2021, as part of the national recovery plan, France created a new leave, the “career transition leave” ( “congé de transition professionnelle”).

To that end, a new collective and local retraining scheme was created, called collective transition (“Transitions Collectives” or “Transco”), which enables employees whose jobs are under threat to be trained in a promising profession within their own region.

The aim of the collective transition program is to meet the need for retraining outside the company.

To be eligible to that scheme, employers must have identified the jobs at-risk in a “Job and career management” agreement (“GEPP”). The project carried out by an employee within the framework of this Collective Transitions program must aim at retraining on a promising job in the region, preferably in the employee’s region of residence.

If the project is endorsed by the training organizations, the employee can then train on a more promising job and continue to receive their remuneration from their employer, if the training is done during working hours. The employer can then ask for the financing organizations (ATpro) to cover the cost of training.

At the end of the Collective Transitions program, if the employee has found a new employer, their contract can be terminated with the initial employer. However, if no positive solution is found that would allow the employee to be hired by a new employer, the employee must return to their initial company, which must offer the employee their job back or an equivalent position.

The French Government hopes that this new program will help employees and employers to meet their respective needs without going through redundancies. 

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