European employment law – Vive la difference?

ThinkstockPhotos-492528693Across Europe, there is often a perception that all laws are roughly equal and all countries follow them similarly. However, even within the European Union (EU), there is a whole range of rules and regulations that are interpreted differently from one country to another. This is especially so in employment law. Though intended to protect the rights and define the obligations of workers and employers, European labor law is a developing field, so companies are often challenged to understand and abide by these laws.

As the EU territory expands and cross-border working becomes less restricted,the need to manage these differing regulations becomes greater. Attempts to harmonize rules for employment have been around for sometime (see The Role of Temporary Agency Work and Labour Market Transitions in Europe from the International Confederation of Private Employment Services [Ciett]). However, this gap has not yet been closed.

Consider labor laws in France. Lately, I have been spending a lot of time in France. I hope my friends and colleagues in France will forgive the views of this particular‘Rosbif’, but to understand the reasons for French employment law is to understand the history and culture of France itself.

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For example, French law is tight around protecting the rights of temporary employees. A Contract Duration Determinée (CDD) places restrictions around length of contract, renewal, contractor age, end of contract bonus payments, etc. So how do organizations adhere to these restrictions? How do you know if a person is approaching 18 months of employment or whether they have had their CDD extended twice? How do you manage this if they have worked in a different department, division, town or role?

This is where a system of record that records individual employment histories across the entire organization and flags possible discrepancies becomes vital to offering the right visibility and reducing risk. In France, like many countries, technology is needed to manage this complex web of regulations to match the needs of both the organization and the temporary worker.

France has recently relaxed some of its rules on temporary worker contracts, and rumors are, more changes are on their way. Indeed, the EU Council has urged change to encourage a more flexible workforce. But temporary labor is only set to increase across Europe and with evermore demanding accountability, the need for better systems has never been greater. Organizations without an accurate system of record that can forecast, manage and report on their non-employee workforce will soon start to see how exposed they are. As we say in Europe,“Vive la difference!” But at what cost?

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John Fuggles

John Fuggles
John Fuggles is global account manager for IQNavigator.

John Fuggles
John Fuggles is global account manager for IQNavigator.

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