Should an employer association apply a collective agreement?

Verified 01 April 2021 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry for Associative Life

Associations which employ employees must apply the provisions of the collective agreements and sectoral agreements to which they are attached.

An association is subject to a collective agreement if it is in one of the following cases:

  • Its activity corresponds to that covered by a collective agreement and falls within its geographical scope
  • A ministerial order extends the professional and territorial scope of a collective agreement, without conditions of membership to the signatory or member organizations

If its activity is not covered by one of the preceding cases, the association does not have to apply a collective agreement. In this case, it can choose to voluntarily apply or to join a collective agreement that regulates a category of trade different from its own. She then has 2 options:

  • Apply some or all of the provisions of the selected collective agreement
  • To benefit only one category of its employees (e.g. to a manager and not to a non-manager)

In order to determine whether its main activity is covered by a collective agreement, the association may refer, by way of indication, to the EPA code assigned to it at the time of its registration to the SIRENE Directory.

In order to determine the collective agreement to which it may be subject, the association may approach the regional directorate for the economy, employment, labor and solidarity (DREETS or DRIETS for the Île-de-France), ex-Direct.

In principle, all employees of the association are covered by the same collective agreement. However, where the association has several establishments which carry out different activities, each establishment shall be subject to the agreement applicable to it in accordance with its own activity.

Exceptionally, associations which occasionally organize live shows and hire artists, workers and entertainment technicians must grant these employees one of the following agreements:

The reference to the agreement shall be included in the declaration of use form.

The collective agreement is mentioned in the employee's employment contracts and/or pay slips.

In addition, the association must give the employee, at the time of his hiring, a notice informing him of the treaty texts applicable in the association.

It must keep these texts up to date and at the employee's disposal at the workplace. This can also be done via an intranet.