Government introduces Value Sharing Bill

The government presents this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers its draft law on the sharing of value, “faithful” transposition of an agreement concluded between unions and employers to generalize the sharing of company profits to employees. The executive sees this agreement as proof that social dialogue is still possible, despite the tensions generated by the pension reform.

Concluded in February in a context of high inflation, the national inter-professional agreement (ANI) aims in particular to widely generalize mechanisms such as profit-sharing, participation or value-sharing bonuses (PPV) to all companies over of 11 employees, as well as to develop employee share ownership.

The text of the bill is a “faithful and integral transposition” of the agreement between social partners, said the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, Tuesday during a press conference. “Any modification, any contribution to the ANI, the government will only defend them with a consensus of the signatories of the ANI”, he added.

The government is aiming for adoption before the end of the parliamentary session this summer.

Lagging small businesses

Participation is a mechanism for redistributing profits, currently compulsory in companies with more than 50 employees, while profit-sharing is an optional bonus linked to results or non-financial performance, schemes which come with tax advantages.

But smaller companies are still lagging behind: 88.5% of employees in companies with more than 1,000 people benefited from a value-sharing scheme in 2020, compared to less than 20% in those with less than 50 employees. , according to the Statistics Department of the Ministry of Labor (Dares).

To generalize these mechanisms, the agreement provides that companies between 11 and 49 employees that are profitable — that is, their net profit represents at least 1% of turnover for three consecutive years — ” put in place at least one “value-sharing system” from January 1, 2025. Companies with fewer than 11 employees “have the possibility” of sharing the profits with their employees, according to the ANI, signed by four unions on five, with the exception of the CGT.

The government has chosen 2025 as the date of entry into force, contrary to the recommendation of a parliamentary report which at the beginning of April recommended an implementation “from 2024” given inflationary tensions.

“Risk of overbidding”

In February, the president of the Medef, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, like the general secretary of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, had called on the executive to respect the text of the ANI during its transposition into a bill. The boss of bosses had estimated that “any unraveling” would constitute “a stab in the back of the social partners”, and the union official considered that a modification would be “a tripping up social democracy”.

The bill is limited to the measures of the agreement between unions and employers and does not include additional measures on “superprofits”, mentioned by Emmanuel Macron at the end of March. Pointing to large companies devoting their “exceptional” income to share buybacks, the president had asked the government to think about ways to make workers “benefit” from this windfall.

The Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, had mentioned, regarding companies with more than 5,000 employees, a possible “doubling” of the sums paid under the value-sharing schemes. In the National Assembly, “there is a risk of overbidding with subjects on superprofits and superdividends”, estimated Olivier Dussopt. With this bill, the executive also wants to turn the painful page of pensions.

After a rough resumption of contact with the unions, which are still demanding the repeal of the reform, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne received the main employers’ organizations at the start of the week, the latter saying they were ready to discuss the employment of seniors.

(with AFP)

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