Country overview

Lionel Fulton (Labour Research Department)

Employees are represented on the boards of both public-owned French companies and some private sector companies – largely those which have recently been privatised. Both unions and employers were consulted on how the directive was to be implemented in France. However, this did not lead to a wider public debate.

In most cases in France only public-owned companies and those which have recently been privatised have board members who represent all employees – other private sector companies can choose to introduce this but only rarely do so. In addition, employee representatives can also be present as board members representing employee shareholders. The number of employee representatives on French boards varies according to the size of the company, whether it is publicly or privately owned and the size of the board. In a publicly-owned company with more than 1,000 employees, one third of the board members are elected by employees; in a recently privatised company where the board has fewer than 15 members, employee members should have three seats (two elected by all employees and one elected by employee shareholders).
Unions and employers were consulted on the implementation of the directive in France, receiving an initial draft of the French legislation in March 2003 which was modified in the light of their comments. The modified draft was discussed at a meeting of the Social Dialogue Committee for European and International Questions (Comité du dialogue social pour les questions européennes et internationales) in June 2004, although MEDEF, the principal employers’ organisation was absent. The implementation of the directive did not, however, lead to a wider public debate.

Special negotiating body (SNB)

Standard rules under the fallback procedure

Misuse of procedures and structural change

L. Fulton (2008) Anchoring the European Company in National Law - Country Overviews (online publication, prepared for