PSE: what is the legal validity period?
Publié le 11 Aug 2023

PSE: what is the legal validity period?

In the current economic context, marked by increasing globalization, market fluctuations and unexpected crises, many companies find themselves facing financial difficulties. To deal with these delicate situations, companies resort to restructuring measures, such as Employment Protection Plans (PSE) . These plans are of paramount importance for companies in difficulty, because they allow them to reorganize their activity, reduce their costs and, in some cases, maintain their economic sustainability.

Before diving into the details relating to the legal validity period of a PES , it is important to understand its definition. A PES is a system which aims to anticipate and mitigate the social consequences of business restructuring. Mandatory in companies with at least 50 employees, it is put in place when the employer plans to carry out collective economic layoffs, that is to say when the number of planned layoffs reaches a certain threshold defined by law. To do this, the employer can either neglect a majority agreement or develop a unilateral document.

Beyond the legal obligation, PES play an essential role in the management of human resources and in preserving the interests of the employees concerned. They offer employees affected by a workforce reduction support measures such as internal reclassifications, professional training, business creation assistance measures or even early retirement schemes.

However, at the heart of the question is the legal validity period of a PES. How long does a PES remain effective? What are the employer’s obligations and employees’ rights during this period? This article examines these issues in detail, looking at the current legal provisions.

Legal obligations regarding PES

Legal obligations regarding PES | Reactive Executive

When a company finds itself in a situation of dismissal for economic reasons, it is subject to specific laws and regulations which require the establishment of a PSE.

Laws and regulations relating to PES

In France, the main law governing PES is the law of June 25, 2008 , known as the “Economy Modernization Law”. This law stipulates that companies with more than 50 employees that plan to make redundancies for economic reasons must develop and implement a PES. The terms of application and the criteria for dismissal are specified in the Labor Code, in particular in articles L.1233-61 to L.1233-64 .

Elements to include in a PES to comply with the law

To comply with the law, a PES must contain certain specific elements. Here are the main elements to include:

  • A diagnosis of the economic situation of the company justifying the collective dismissal measures,
  • The order criteria for dismissals, which must be objective and non-discriminatory,
  • The support measures planned for employees, such as seeking reclassification, professional training, business creation assistance measures, early retirement schemes, etc.
  • The terms of consultation of staff representatives,
  • The methods of communication and information of the employees concerned about the PES and its consequences,
  • Methods for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the PSE.

Companies are required to consult staff representatives (works, social and economic committee or, failing that, staff delegates), to negotiate the terms of the PES and to provide all the required information to the employees concerned. Failure to comply with these obligations may result in legal sanctions and compromise the validity of the PES.

Validity period of the PSE

Validity period of the PSE | Reactive Executive

The validity period of a PSE may vary depending on the specific situation of the company, whether in the event of recovery , liquidation or other special circumstances.

Different validity periods possible depending on the company’s situation:

  • Period of validity in the event of recovery

When a company is in receivership, the PSE is subject to a validity period determined by the court . This period may vary depending on the size of the company, the number of layoffs envisaged and the support measures planned. The court may decide on an initial validity period, with the possibility of extension if necessary to carry out the actions provided for in the PSE.

  • Period of validity in the event of liquidation

In the case of judicial liquidation, the validity period of a PSE may be different from that in reorganization. The main objective is to ensure the cessation of the company’s activity while preserving the rights of the employees concerned. The period of validity can be determined by the liquidator or by the decisions of the court in charge of the file.

Criteria to take into account to determine the most suitable validity period

Criteria to take into account to determine the most suitable period of validity | Reactive Executive

Several criteria must be taken into account to determine the most suitable validity period for a PES. Among these criteria, we can cite:

  • The complexity of the planned support measures: if these measures require a longer time to be implemented, the period of validity may be extended.
  • The number of employees affected by the PES: if a large number of employees are affected, it may be necessary to extend the period of validity in order to guarantee adequate support for each of them.
  • The specificities of the company’s activity: certain sectors of activity require additional time to allow employees to retrain or find new job opportunities.

Taking these criteria into account in order to determine an appropriate period of validity for a PES ensures that the support measures are effectively put in place and that the employees concerned benefit from the necessary support to cope with this transition period.

What are the deadlines for the CSE to issue an opinion on the collective redundancy project?

What are the deadlines for the CSE to issue an opinion on the collective redundancy project? Reactive Executive

When a company considers a collective redundancy project, it is required to consult the Social and Economic Committee (CSE) and obtain its opinion before implementing the project.

According to the French Labor Code, the CSE has a period of two months to give its opinion on the collective dismissal project, if the number of employees affected is less than 100. This period can be extended by an additional month if the number of employees varies between 100 and 249 and by a second additional month if this number exceeds 250 employees.

It should be noted that these deadlines can be adjusted as part of a collective agreement or an agreement between the employer and the CSE.

What is the expected duration for DREETS to validate or approve the PSE?

What is the expected duration for DREETS to validate or approve the PSE? Reactive Executive

Once the company has developed the PSE, it must be submitted to the Regional Directorate of Enterprises, Competition, Consumption, Labor and Employment ( DREETS ) for validation or approval.

The deadline is also governed by legislation and is approximately 21 working days , from receipt of the complete file to decide on the final decision of the PSE. This period may also be extended if DREETS considers it necessary to obtain additional information or to carry out additional verifications concerning the PSE.

How long before sending individual dismissal letters to employees?

How long before sending individual dismissal letters to employees? Reactive Executive

To carry out layoffs, the company must respect certain deadlines before sending individual letters to the employees concerned. According to the Labor Code, deadlines of at least 7 working days for a non-managerial employee and 15 working days for a managerial employee must be respected between the summoning of employees to a prior dismissal interview and the actual sending of dismissal letters. .

The law also provides for a minimum period of 2 working days between delivery of letters and the effective date of termination of the employment contract.

Once again, it is important to specify that these deadlines can be modified or adjusted according to the specific provisions provided for in the PSE or in a collective agreement. In certain cases, longer deadlines may be provided to take into account the particularities of the company.

Renewal and updating of the PES

A PSE is an essential system when a company plans to lay off at least ten employees over a period of thirty days. However, circumstances may change, requiring a renewal or update of the existing PES.

3 Situations requiring renewal or updating of the PES

  • Change in the economic situation of the company : if the company experiences significant fluctuations in its activity or if its financial situation changes significantly, it may be necessary to renew or update the PSE in order to take these into account. changes.
  • Changes in legislation : laws and regulations regarding redundancy may be subject to change. If new legal provisions are adopted, the PES will need to be updated to comply with the new legal requirements.
  • Reassessment of support measures : it is possible that the support measures provided for in the PSE are no longer suitable or effective. In this case, an update of the PES can be considered to reassess and adjust the measures in order to better meet the needs of employees.

Steps to follow to make changes

To renew or update a PES, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Situation analysis : it is essential to carry out a thorough assessment of the economic situation of the company, possible legislative changes and the effectiveness of existing support measures.
  1. Consultation of stakeholders : as part of a PES, staff representatives and trade union organizations must be consulted and informed of the planned reduction measures. Social dialogue plays a very important role in making decisions regarding the renewal or updating of the PES.
  1. Development of modifications : Based on the analysis carried out and feedback from stakeholders, necessary modifications can be identified. This may include reviewing the order criteria for dismissals, adjusting support measures or any other adaptation deemed appropriate.
  1. Validation decision and implementation : modifications to the PES must be subject to legal validation, in compliance with the competent procedures and authorities. Once approved, the changes must be communicated to the employees concerned and implemented in a transparent, direct and effective manner.

Following these steps rigorously is imperative to ensure that the renewal or update of the PES is carried out legally, fairly and in accordance with the needs of the company and key stakeholders.


Ultimately, the legal validity period of a PES must be determined rigorously and accurately, paying particular attention to the specificities of each situation. Respecting criteria such as the complexity of the support measures, the number of employees concerned and the particularities of the company’s activity ensures that the PES achieves its employment protection objectives while protecting employees. impacted.

In addition, it is important to emphasize that the renewal or updating of a PES may be necessary in the event of a change in economic, legislative or organizational circumstances. Finally, the implementation of a PES ensures a smoother professional transition and encourages the search for alternative solutions for affected employees. In doing so, companies will be able to get through difficult periods while ensuring the preservation of jobs and respect for employee rights.

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