Dismissal indemnities: what impact has the Macron scale had on their amount?

Has the application of the Macron scale led, as one might fear, to a drastic drop in the amount of severance payments paid to employees? In a report for the evaluation of the work orders of 2016, published Thursday 10 December, France Stratégie, an organization attached to Matignon, tries to answer this question. To do this, it is based on provisional results of work carried out (and still in progress) as part of a call for research projects funded by Dares, a statistics body of the Ministry of Labor, on the impact of ordinances on individual labor relations and employment management. Note that at this stage, these first results are still “very provisional and will require additional work to confirm or deny them”, reports France Stratégie.

As a reminder, the Macron scale was set up in 2016 and fixed on floor and ceiling of the compensation that the employer must pay to the employee in the event of dismissal “without real and serious cause”. The minimum and maximum amounts vary according to two criteria: the employee’s length of service and the number of employees in the company. To find out the impact of the system, the authors of the work cited by France Stratégie, namely the researchers Raphaël Dalmasso and Camille Signoretto, compared the compensation obtained under 240 judgments delivered in October 2018 and in October 2020 for redundancies pronounced before 44 September

, which are therefore not affected by the Macron scale, with 106 February and March stops 2020, which this time concern redundancies pronounced after the implementation of the scale, and therefore whose compensation is framed by the latter. It should be noted that these are only judgments delivered by courts of appeal, and not by industrial tribunals (a majority of the latter’s decisions having been the subject of an appeal).

The Macron scale “globally applied by judges”

First of all, the authors of the study note that the Macron scale was rather well applied by the judges: on the sample of 106 judgments observed, “only nine judgments granted compensation above the ceiling (approximately 10%) and three stops an amount lower than the floor ”, Reports France Strategy. And without great surprise, the system has led to a standardization of the amounts paid: since its implementation, 63% of compensation for dismissals without real and serious cause are between the floor and the ceiling of the scale, against 23% before the reform.

Concerning the amounts obtained, before application of the scale, the employees winning in appeal received severance pay (without real and serious cause) corresponding to 7.9 months gross salary on average. The median allowance amounted to 6.5 months’ salary. Since the implementation of the Macron scale, the allowance has (not surprisingly) decreased: to 6.6 months of salary on average, and to 6 months of salary for the median amount.

This decrease in the amount of allowances mainly concerns employees with little seniority. Thus, if we compare the amounts granted before the Macron scale with the floors and ceilings subsequently set by the order of 2016, “44% of these allowances (before implementation of the orders of 2017, editor’s note) were higher than the ceiling ”of the Macron scale, details France Strategy, always using the results of the work of Raphaël Dalmasso and Camille Signoretto. These allowances above the current ceiling concerned “63% of employees with less than five years of seniority and almost all employees with between two and five years of seniority, in companies with at least eleven employees ”, describes the institute attached to Matignon. It is therefore these employees with little seniority who are the first exposed to a decline in the amount of their compensation with the setting of the ceiling of the Macron scale. “It is for these employees that the (financial) interest in acting would first weaken. The effect is less for employees with more than five years of service, ”adds France Stratégie.

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Depending on the organization, it will also be necessary to monitor the appearance of a possible drift in connection with the implementation of the scale Macron: based on an analysis of the grounds for dismissal over the period from 240 to 2019, “the share of dismissals for serious and gross misconduct could be increasing since 2017 ”, in particular because this reason does not give rise to the right to the payment of legal compensation dismissal, but also because of “the lower expected cost of litigation over these dismissals, in connection with the scale”, notes France Strategy in its report. This point remains to be confirmed, however, with a more in-depth analysis.

It should be noted that France Strategy notes in parallel a decrease in appeals before industrial tribunals: from 18% Between 2015 and 2016, from 10% between and 2017, then in a more attenuated manner the following years (- 5% over one year in 2018, and -1% in 2019) . “A trend that should be verified in the coming years, the year 2020 being very atypical ”, Notes the organization attached to Matignon. This decline having been well started before the orders of 2016, it is not necessary to necessarily see an impact of the Macron scale, according to France Stratégie.

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