The 4 May 2004 Act, known as “loi Fillon”, was published on 5 May
2004 in the Journal officiel. New individual rights have been created: a right
for each employee in a full-time job to claim 20 hours per year of training
(or 120 hours over six years) and the possibility for young workers, between
16 and 25 years of age, as well as for unemployed people aged 26 and above,
to be offered a training contract (partially exempting their employer from taxation
on their salary), combining training for a professional qualification and work
experience in the relevant field, in consideration of remuneration to be fixed
at a later stage by government. The second part of the Act deals mainly with
negotiations between employers and employees. Article 42 of the Act controversially
allows firm agreements to depart – unless otherwise explicitly stated
in the agreement negotiated at higher level – from agreements negotiated
at a higher level, even to employees’ disadvantage.
On 4 May, the French Lower House adopted, with a few minor amendments, the
text voted by the Upper House on 6 April relating to voluntary workers.
On 6 April 2004, the Upper House of the French Houses of Parliament adopted
on first reading a proposal relating to the status of voluntary workers in French
charity associations abroad. The status would rely on a written contract of
limited duration – two years maximum – between an association and
a voluntary worker. The association would be under the legal
obligation to provide voluntary workers with training, pay for their travel
expenses, and help them with plans to return to paid work at the end of their
The Social Section of the Cour de cassation held on 6 April 2004 that employees
with representative or trade unions mandates were entitled
to make phone calls within the firm with the guarantee that their calls would
not be intercepted.
According to the Social Section of the Cour de cassation’s decision
of 7 April 2004, a medical statement confirming an employee’s pregnancy
justifies the nullity of any redundancy proceedings instituted
On 1/2 March 2004, legislative proposals to improve the lives of handicapped
people had their first reading in the Upper House of the French Parliament.
One of the key measures proposed is the introduction of new rights to financial
support for special needs flowing from a handicap