The Comité Social et Économique (CSE) – or social and economic committee – is the employee representation body that must exist in companies with 11 or more employees. It is responsible for presenting individual and collective employee issues to the employer, as well as promoting health, safety, and working conditions company-wide.
Every four years, employers must organise a formal election for members of the CSE.
Voting is organised within 90 days of informing employees, and the election takes place by secret ballot, either in an envelope or via electronic voting. Strict rules are in place to ensure the appropriate privacy and secrecy.
French labour law provides for a minimum of two electoral colleges.
An electoral college is a group of employees who share the same status and job function, which is selected to elect a candidate to the CSE.
The first electoral college comprises manual and office workers, and the second engineers, heads of departments, technicians, supervisors, and cadres (or executives). Companies employing more than 25 cadres must form a third “college cadres”.
A list of candidates is then established by each college to vote from. The first round of the election is reserved for trade union-backed candidates; if there are none the second round is entered automatically.
Who is eligible to vote and run in CSE elections?
Employees are eligible to vote if they are over 16 years of age, in possession of their civic rights, and have completed at least three months of service at the first election round.
To be an eligible CSE candidate, an employee must:
- be aged 18 or over,
- have worked in the company for at least a year,
- not be the spouse or partner of, or have family links to, the employer,
- not have any convictions which would prevent them from being elected.
Are there any circumstances under which CSE elections are not held?
In companies with 11-20 employees, elections are not required to be organised if nobody chooses to stand as a candidate within 30 days of being informed. Good practice generally involves approaching some employees directly and encouraging them to stand.
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