CSE Elections in France: The Process Explained

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In a previous article, we discussed the background and eligibility for the election of members to the CSE (Comité Social et Économique).  Here, we will summarise the process for these elections.

Step One: informing employees and trade unions

The employer must inform employees and relevant trade unions of the impending elections and the date on which the first vote will be held (usually no later than the 90th day after such information is given).

Formal CSE elections must be held every four years.  If the employer fails to organise them at the correct time, an employee or trade union member can make a formal request.  The employer then has one month to comply.

Step Two: the pre-election agreement

Trade unions must be invited to negotiate the pre-election agreement, with the first meeting taking place at a minimum of 15 days after the invitation is issued.

The pre-election agreement sets out the rules for organising the ballot, and is negotiated between the employer and the invited trade unions.

It covers the following points:

  • Rules for the organisation and conduct of the election
  • Distribution of seats between the electoral colleges (colleges are defined by employee category)

Should no trade union come forward to negotiate the agreement, the employer will organise the voting; simply distributing the seats between the electoral colleges. 

Step Three: the electoral list and voting

The employer must create the electoral list and post it in good time – usually at least five days before the first round of voting begins.

Note: the employer may create the physical list, but the candidates themselves are chosen by the unions in the first round.  The unions cannot present more candidates than there are seats to be filled (although they can have less) and their candidate lists must feature the same proportions of men and women as there are in the electoral colleges themselves.

An on-site polling station must then be organised, in a dedicated room and with a team on hand to ensure the regularity of the vote.  The next task is to arrange a strictly confidential distance vote, either by mail or electronically. 

Bear in mind that an approved external service-provider must carry out the electronic voting process, so this option comes with an associated cost.

Step Four: the first voting round

The first round of the CSE elections is reserved for candidates supported by the trade unions invited to negotiate the pre-electoral agreement. 

If there are no trade union-supported candidates, the quorum was not reached in the first round (the quorum refers to the number of validly-cast votes, which must be at least equal to half the number of registered voters) or there are still vacant seats after the first round, a second round must be organised.

Step Five: the second voting round

If applicable, the second voting round must be held within 15 days of the first.

At this point any eligible employee can be a candidate, with the lists from the first round maintained only unless the trade unions actively choose to withdraw them.

Step Six: announcing the results

Announcing the results of the CSE elections includes the formal drafting of minutes (procès verbal) which must be communicated to the Ministry of Labour and participating trade unions.

Can we answer your questions about CSE elections in France?

Regardless of the issue, our friendly team of bilingual HR consultants are waiting to help you navigate the complexities of employing people in France.

Please contact us to arrange a free initial consultation.

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