These probation periods may be extended if the extension is authorised by a sectoral collective agreement and if the possibility of renewal is expressly provided for in the employment contract. In case of extension, the trial period must not exceed 4, 6 and 8 months for each of the categories listed above (Article L.1221-21 of the French Labour Code). The end of the trial periods has obviously given rise to different types of litigation. The Labour Chamber of the Court of Cassation had already been asked to decide on the application of the provisions of the collective agreements in this regard. Yes, but strict compliance with the rules of procedure is essential. There are four main possibilities for terminating an employment contract in France: (a) dismissal, b) dismissal, c) dismissal and (d) mutual cancellation agreement. Each type of termination involves different stages of the procedure. Indeed, the Court of Cassation had established the principle that, in the absence of explicit indications in the applicable collective agreement, the period of notice must not expire during the probation period or before the expiry of that period (Labour Chamber of the Court of Cassation, 31 October 1989, No. 86-43.894 and 11 October 2000, No. 98-45.170).

On April 11, 2014, we published an alert to a new addendum to the SYNTEC national collective agreement in France. This change resulted in significant global media coverage, including reports that the agreement “involved one million French employees,” that the work had “become illegal” after 6 p.m., and that after that period, French employees were “forced to turn off their phones,” etc. Yes, for the most part, the objective of the two agreements is different and should not be confused.