The new French “Economic Growth and Activity” Bill, commonly known as the “Macron Bill” as per the name of Emmanuel Macron, Minister of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector, is currently being discussed in the French Parliament.
By enacting this law, French Government is looking to reassure foreign investors on France’s current intention to boost its economy by developing employment and social dialogue, modernizing the market for goods and services by unlocking highly regulated sectors, and stimulating investment by simplifying the system
The Bill contains numerous work and employment-related articles to try to make the Labour market more flexible.
The liberalization of Sunday openings is perhaps one of the most criticized measure addressed by the Bill. It proposes to offer local councils the ability to grant 12 rather than only 5 Sunday openings to businesses (other than food retailers) throughout the year. Opening hours of businesses in tourism and commercial areas will also be modified.
The Bill also aims at renewing social dialogue in companies by introducing a less formal and simplified process.
Despite Macron’s regular criticisms of the 35-hour working week constraints on French businesses, we could nevertheless regret that the Bill says nothing at all about it.
Another one of the Bill’s ambition is to remove the existing barriers on certain sectors.
The Bill proposes a serie of measures to modernize regulated legal professions (bailiffs, notaries, auctioneers…):
Facilitating start-ups ad sitting especially for young professionals,
Opening up access to capital to boost investment and cross-industry cooperation and,
Better regulate fees and charges.
The Bill also proposes freeing up the coach transportation offer across the country and improving the governance of motorway tolls to the benefit of users.
Finally, one of the Bills’ objective is to remove the regulatory obstacles which are limiting the supply of new housing in order to address the urgent lack of house-building in areas under pressure, by freeing up land. It should also significantly reduce time to obtain a building permit.
To kick start its economy, France is also trying to revitalize investment.
In this respect, the Bill aims at making the legislative and regulatory environment more transparent and stable as well as simplifying certain procedures.
For instance, the Bill is introducing measures to encourage more effective intervention from the State as a shareholder. The Bill proposes to authorize the implementation of public shareholding companies’ on industrial project and to authorize transfers of public assets so that, apart from debt reduction, a dynamic industrial policy is conducted and investment financed.
The Bill also includes reforms to employee saving schemes to better finance the economy and develop these tools for the benefit of employees.
It will propose measures promoting employee share-ownership which could give employees greater involvement in their company’s development and allow high potential staff to be recruited in start-ups and small and medium sized companies.
Finally, the Bill proposes to reduce financial obligations of companies, particularly very small ones, and to implement an electronic identity card for companies to facilitate interactions with customers, suppliers and public Administration.
French Government and especially Emmanuel Macron insists that this Bill purely aims at reviving and boosting the economy which is, for the 3rd consecutive year, at a near zero growth. Let’s wait a few months and see if this was nothing more than a storm in a glass of water…