What are the legal obligations when doing a work schedule?

The staff schedule is a tool for organizing and coordinating the work of employees, so as to ensure the smooth running of a company. It is an official document that must comply with a number of legal obligations, in line with the French Labor Code and collective bargaining agreements. To ensure the legality of your document, the use of work schedule management software is particularly recommended. These fully-automated online tools are designed to facilitate the creation of schedules in compliance with the rules laid down by law. However, it is essential to be aware of the employer’s scheduling obligations before embarking on the creation of a staff schedule

Planning obligations linked to design

What is a work schedule?

The schedule is a management tool used by companies to organize the work of their employees. It enables all staff to be coordinated and tasks to be allocated efficiently. The document acts as a roadmap for employees. It contains work schedules, rest periods and vacations for a given period.

What must be included on the work schedule?

The document must include several important items of information. They are part of the obligations of a schedule that the employer must respect when drawing it up. In the case of a collective timetable, whose schedules apply to all employees of a company, the following information must be mentioned:

  • Opening hours
  • End-of-day schedules
  • Days off
  • The period during which the schedule applies

In companies with flexible working hours, the schedule must also indicate :

  • Dates of the period concerned
  • The timetable for each week

These details ensure that the employer complies with the legal working hours in France, i.e. :

  • 10h maximum daily working time
  • 48h maximum working week
  • 35 hours off per week

What form should a work schedule take?

While the content of a work schedule is regulated, the law imposes no obligation on the form the document must take. Employers are free to choose whatever suits their company best: a spreadsheet, a diary, an online schedule or a paper document are just some of the possibilities. The schedule can also be weekly, monthly or yearly.

Today, there are a large number of applications and software packages available for designing staff schedules. These online tools have the advantage of offering clear presentation templates that can be adapted to all sectors of activity. Among other things, this makes the document easier to read.

Theuse of personnel management software also makes it possible to design complex schedules. Thanks to data automation, the tool takes into account all the company’s HR information to create coherent, efficient schedules. It’s a great way to ensure productivity and manage periods of fluctuating activity.

Planning obligations relating to employee communications

Communication deadlines

The law makes no mention of the deadline for notifying employees of their working hours. This deadline is generally indicated in the collective agreement for each company or sector of activity. You should therefore consult it directly to find out what your obligations are.

In the absence of indications, the employer is subject to a “reasonable” notice period of maximum 7 days before the start of the schedule. Ideally, employees should be given as much advance notice as possible of their work schedule, to avoid any dissatisfaction and to enable them to organize their personal obligations in advance.

Employee communications

Employers are obliged to comply with a number of schedule transmission obligations. The rules depend on how the company operates.

In the case of group schedules

Collective working hours apply to all or some of a company’s employees. It is not necessarily the same for everyone. In the case of a service company, a day shift is assigned to the team working during the day, and a night shift is common to all employees working at night. In this example, there are two collective working hours for the same company.

Employers who have set up collective working hours within their organization are required topost the schedules on their premises, so that they are accessible to all staff. It also depends on the collective agreements of each organization. In all cases, it must be clear and legible.

If teams work outside the company, in a building other than the head office, the schedule must be posted on the respective sites.

In the event of modification, the corrected schedule must also be posted within the company under the same conditions as the initial schedule. Whatever the format of the schedule, it must always be dated and signed by the employer. It will then be forwarded to the Labour Inspectorate. Failure to comply with the obligation to post schedules may result in sanctions. The employer is liable to a fine of up to €750. Failure to do so can also have repercussions within the company itself, leading to employee discontent. Trust is an important criterion for employees, who may see this refusal to communicate as a lack of transparency on the part of their superiors. Failure to communicate schedules to the labor inspector is also punishable by a fine of up to €37,500. The offence of obstruction is punishable by imprisonment.

For individual schedules

Individual working hours apply to a single employee. It may involve fixed or flexible working hours. Employers who offer individualized working hours to their staff are not required topost schedules. There is no legal requirement to provide a paper version of the document. Nevertheless, employees must be able to consult their schedules within the company.

Using personnel management software makes it easier to communicate schedules to employees. Schedules can be accessed directly online 24 hours a day, with the option of receiving the document by e-mail or SMS. Allowing all members of the company to access their information freely is a good way of limiting errors that can lead to delays and absences. In the event of a schedule change, staff are informed of the change more quickly. They can then take the time to reorganize their daily routine.

The purpose of the work schedule is not just toinform employees of their working hours. It is also a good way for the employer tooptimize staff management and visualize thehuman organization of his company. The document, whatever its form, also has a legal value. It must mention a number of elements, such as working hours, vacations and employee breaks. It also ensures that the employer complies with legal working hours. To make sure that your document is compliant, theuse of HR management software is particularly recommended. These online tools are designed to optimize the creation of schedules, in compliance with the law. They are designed to facilitate the communication of schedules to employees, and reduce the time needed to transmit the document.