In three recent decisions, the French civil Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) has ruled that forfaits-jours agreements (lump sum payments for work time computed in days) are not valid if a union agreement does not provide for sufficient protection of the employee's health and safety. These decisions are of great interest to French employers for two reasons: the rejection of a forfaits-jours agreement can create substantial financial risk for an employer, and the cases are part of a legal trend to increase health and safety obligations on French employers.
In the year 2000, legal working time in France was reduced from 39 hours to 35 hours a week. Since then, the calculation of employees’ working time has been dependent upon each employee's position. Senior officers who work hours that cannot be controlled or pre-determined may enter into forfaits-jours agreements with their employers providing that their compensation will be disconnected from their actual working time and will constitute consideration for a flat number of days worked throughout the year (up to a maximum of 218 days).
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