What is the role of the President of CSE?

Since January 1, 2020, all companies with 11 or more employees are required to have a CSE social and economic committee. It is also the only representative body for employees, appointed by election within the company and headed by a president. Discover the different roles of the chairman of this committee, his missions, his obligations, as well as his powers.

How to appoint the chairman of the committee?

Unlike other members of the CSE who are elected by employee vote, the chairman of this committee is designated by law. Furthermore, it stipulates that the employer is responsible for presiding over this proceeding.

Thus, in a sole proprietorship, the operator chairs the CSE. In companies of the EURL, SARL, SNC, SCS or EURL types, the presidency is provided by the manager of the company. On the other hand, in a joint stock company, the function belongs to one of the members of the executive board. Of course, if the company is a public limited company with a board of directors, it is the general manager or the CEO who will take over the management of the CSE.

Finally, in the case of an organization forming part of civil society, such as a union or an association, the chairman of the works council will be the person whose status confers the highest hierarchy within of the organism.

In the event that the chairman of the committee is not available

The chairman of the CSE, in his capacity as manager or head of a company, may be indisposed to participate in meetings of the representative body of employees for business or other management reasons. However, he does not have the capacity to cancel a meeting, on pain of being accused of a crime of obstruction. This is why, it is necessary to designate a representative, among the employees, to ensure the chairing of the meeting for him when he is not available.

Of course, the latter will not be content to play the role of spokesperson by transmitting information between board members and the employer. He will have all the prerogatives of the president, which will be delegated to him by a formal and written document, in order to carry out the meetings and the missions of the president.

In addition, the designated employee must explicitly or implicitly accept the task entrusted to him, just as he must have the qualities and skills necessary to fulfill his role. As a general rule, the representative chosen is an executive working in the company's human resources department. In fact, employers most often choose the director of the department, that is, the director of corporate social relations. In addition, there are even specialized training courses in CSE management, during which employees can acquire the skills necessary to manage these committees.

Finally, if ever a meeting is requested by at least half of the committee members and there is absence of president and his representative, the law stipulates that the labor inspector can assure the direction of the committee during a certain period. of time.

Assistants to the President of the CSE

Although the presidency of the CSE must be unique and not collegial, as mentioned in the labor code, the president can still be assisted by co-managers. Indeed, the business manager may need to consult a few employees for the presentation and processing of certain files. However, their number is often limited to three assistants, to whom he will take turns speaking during the meeting.

On the other hand, in companies with less than 50 employees, the number of co-managers available to the president or his representative is limited to two, in accordance with article L2315-21 of the French labor code. Furthermore, it is mentioned in the same article that the number of assistants must not be greater than that of the elected representatives.

Of course, these assistants must be employees of the company. They participate in the debate, like the other members, and help the president through their clarifications and their expert opinions in certain files relating to the economy or security, for example. However, they cannot in any case participate in the vote and thus remain observers only, when decisions are made.

The role and missions of the president

The presence of the president of the CSE or his representative is compulsory for the functioning of the committee. Their roles are summarized below.

The president or his representative are responsible for developing the agenda for each meeting that the CSE plans to hold, and this, together with the secretary of the committee. The latter will be responsible for initiating the subjects that elected officials want to address and defend, while the president will examine the subjects he wishes to share with the members.

The agenda, on the other hand, corresponds to the list of all the items that will be discussed during a meeting. Thus, if a subject does not appear there, it will not be discussed during this one. Of course, the latter must imperatively be validated by the chairman and the secretary of the committee, after discussion or negotiation. If there is ever a dispute and the parties concerned cannot agree on the agenda, it will be up to the judge in chambers to settle the dispute.

Furthermore, once signed by both parties, the agenda will no longer be modifiable. It must then be sent to all of the committee's elected officials, potential assistants to the president, union representatives and experts who may be called upon to participate in the meeting. It must therefore be transmitted to the latter at least three days before the meeting, so that the participants have studied the questions enough for the meeting to be effective.

That said, the rules for developing the agenda differ when the company has fewer than 50 employees. In this case, the employer receives the elected representatives directly each month, so that they send him the points they wish to raise.

Convocation of CSE members

Once the agenda has been established, the president should send an invitation to the members concerned by the meeting, when he has determined the date, time and place. Although no statutory deadline is mentioned in the labor code, the notice must still reach elected officials within a reasonable time before the meeting. Thus, in general, the president of the CSE sends the convocation at the same time as the agenda.

However, the law stipulates that for a company of 300 employees or less, a meeting must take place at least every two months. For those with more than 300 employees, a meeting every month is required. Of course, this does not prevent the CSE from meeting more often, if the parties concerned consider it necessary.

Meeting management and discussion facilitation

When the meeting begins, the president will be responsible for: distributing the floor equitably among the speakers during the debate, ensuring compliance with the agenda, presenting or letting the experts present certain information, in particular economic indicators, or even news security standards, while ensuring the smooth running of the votes. He is also responsible for managing incidents and suspending the session at his request or at the request of an elected official.

Although he cannot limit the time the meeting will take, since elected representatives have the right to ask as many questions as they wish and even to defend their positions, he can however suspend the meeting if it is spread out enormously in time and postpone it to a later date.

During the debate, the president and his potential assistants communicate to elected officials information or present an action plan that the employer wishes to carry out in the enterprise. Elected officials, on the other hand, defend the points relating to employees and try to influence the decisions made by the employer.

Resource allocation to the CSE

The employer has the obligation to provide the CSE with premises to hold meetings. The latter must be provided with equipment (computers, printers, etc.) for the operation of CSE activities. He must also be responsible for the fees of the various experts who will be consulted during the meetings, as well as paying the works council the annual operating grant.

The writing of the report

The writing of the minutes is not the responsibility of the president, but of the secretary of the CSE. The president, like all the other members of the works council, retains the right to propose modifications.

President's right to vote

Although the president is a member of the CSE, the labor code has considerably limited his right to vote, given his position in the hierarchy of the company. Thus, the president cannot, for example, vote during a decision concerning the dismissal of a staff member or when the decision concerns the budget for social and cultural activities. On the other hand, he can take part in the votes concerning the validation of a meeting report, or even in a decision concerning the internal regulations of the CSE.

As for decisions on which the president has the right to vote, these are mentioned by the Court of Cassation.

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