It is an important text. The first signed for thirteen years in the field of occupational health. Thirteen negotiation sessions were necessary between unions. This national interprofessional agreement a direct consequences for employees since it is binding on all companies in all sectors of activity.
The first part of this agreement concerns medical visits. France has known for several years a shortage of occupational physicians. They are less than 5,000 and many are approaching retirement. The agreement provides that city doctors will be able to carry out periodic medical examinations and return to work visits. Only selected, voluntary and trained practicing physicians can replace occupational physicians.
This second point is important, it is even the subject of a legal battle. In terms of risk prevention, does the employer have an absolute obligation to do everything in its power to avoid putting its employees at risk? Certain social partners, the CPME in particular, wanted a provision to be included in the labor code to reduce the liability of employers. If they had implemented means, then their responsibility could not be engaged. The text does not quite go in this direction, but it says that we can consider that the responsibility of the employer cannot be questioned if he has implemented preventive actions. This is a very important point during an epidemic. If an employee falls ill at work, can his employer be sued? The signed agreement says rather than no. If the employer has done everything to limit the risks, in the end, it will be up to the judge to decide.
Last important point, it concerns the maintenance of employment of vulnerable workers. This is a very delicate question. Each year, around 80,000 employees are made redundant because they have been declared unfit for their work by the occupational physician himself. The national inter-professional agreement wants to ensure that these employees are better followed. It sets up within the occupational health services, whether they are internal to the company or common to several companies, “cells” which will devote themselves to this issue. It will also be necessary that a mid-career medical examination concerns these fragile employees, in order to prevent the fatal outcome.