Impacts of the Brexit on employment law matters should be anticipated.
On December 24, 2020, a trade and cooperation agreement was reached with the United Kingdom. January 1, 2021 marked the end of the transition period (from February 1 to December 31, 2020) under which the law of the European Union continued to apply. Hence, and since January 1, 2021, the trade and cooperation agreement determines the rules applicable to relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union in a number of areas.
From a French labour law perspective, employers must pay attention to the consequences of Brexit on legal formalities regarding the employment of British nationals or the posting of workers.
Consequences on the employment contract in France
European and national labour law provisions apply regardless of the worker’s nationality, once a French labour law contract is concluded. All rights and obligations related to the employment contract acquired before and during the transition period (from February 1 to December 31, 2020) will continue to apply after January 1, 2021. This means that an employment contract and a British employee’s rights cannot be challenged by the sole effect of Brexit.
From a French employment contract perspective, employers must pay careful attention to the right of residence.
Indeed, in principle, foreigners must, in order to be able to exercise a salaried activity in France, be in possession of a valid document equivalent to a work permit, unless they are EU or EEA nationals.
Since January 1, 2021, employers based in France who are willing to employ a British national should make sure that the latter is covered by a regular residence permit. The type of residence permit depends on the length of the applicant’s legal residence in France.
British nationals and members of their family residing in France before December 31, 2020, must apply for a specific residence permit online, before July 1, 2021, via a website specially dedicated for this purpose. They will be issued with a residence permit called “Agreement for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union“. In any case, they must be covered by this specific permit by October 1, 2021, at the latest.
Consequences on the posting of workers to France
The posting of workers is subject to specific French labour and social security regulations.
Administrative formalities and compliance with French labour law and applicable collective bargaining agreements apply to any foreign employer who is willing to post workers in France.
Specific transitional measures have been adopted for posting in France which started before January 1, 2021. Under those transitional measures, if the posting of a British national started in France prior to January 1, 2021, it may continue until the assignment end date mentioned on the social security form attesting the social security legislation applicable to the employee (A1 form), even if this date is subsequent to December 31, 2020.
On the contrary and as of January 1, 2021, British companies wishing to post one of their employees to France, and French companies wishing to post employees in the United Kingdom, are subject to the membership and contribution rules of the State of employment. The trade and cooperation agreement provides for the possibility, after January 1, 2021, of maintaining the possibility of secondment within a limit of 24 months. However, this possibility must be formally accepted by each State. These arrangements are currently being analysed by France.
This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice addressed to particular circumstances. You should not take or refrain from taking any legal action based upon the information contained herein without first seeking professional, individualized counsel based upon your own circumstances. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.
Information by ALARIS AVOCATS, English speaking lawyers in France (Paris) specialized in French labor law, especially any kinds of Social Plans, dismissal procedures and labor contract clauses.