What is a union advocate?

Verified 16 June 2021 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

The trade union advocate is a person authorized to assist or represent another employee engaged in contentious proceedings (Conseil de prud'hommes, Cour d'appel). The union advocate has a number of obligations. He has rights and guarantees.

The trade union advocate shall assist or represent the employee before a prud'homme council or a court of appeal.

In the course of his duties, he advises and defends the employee during the proceedings.

The trade union defender shall enjoy the status of protected employee.

Any person may be included on a list of trade union defenders.

This is established by the Dreets: titleContent on a proposal from employers' and employees' organizations.

This list shall be reviewed every 4 years and may be amended at any time.

Any employee who wishes to be assisted or represented by a trade union defender can choose it by consulting the list directly:

  • Either in each labor board or court of appeal in the region
  • Either at the Dreets: titleContent
Who shall I contact
Who shall I contact

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Establishment of at least 11 employees

The trade union defender shall have the time necessary for the performance of his duties, within the legal limit of 10 hours per month.

Establishment with less than 11 employees

No statutory hours credit is imposed on the employer.

In the absence of treaty provisions, the trade union representative shall agree with the employer to take advantage of the hours of absence.

The absences of the trade union defender in connection with his activities are remunerated by the employer, without any reduction in salary.

The trade union defender shall be granted leave to attend for the purposes of his training.

The defender shall be entitled to two weeks' leave of absence per four-year period following the publication of the list of trade union defenders on which he is registered.

The union representative shall inform the employer of his absence for training at least 30 days in advance (or 15 days if the absence is less than 3 consecutive days). It shall specify the name of the establishment or body responsible for the training, the date, the duration and the scheduled times.

The union advocate shall be certified as attending the training. He gives this certificate to the employer when he returns to work.

Paid Leave

The hours of absence are taken into account for the accrual of the days of paid leave.


The hours of absence shall be taken into account in determining seniority entitlements.

Termination of contract

The exercise of the task of trade union defender may not be a cause of disciplinary action or termination of the contract of employment.

The dismissal of the trade union advocate must be authorized by the labor inspector.

Obligation of discretion

The trade union defender shall have an obligation of discretion in respect of information of a confidential nature to which he has access.

Failure to comply with these obligations may result in his removal from the list of trade union defenders on which he is inscribed.

Obligation to exercise

A trade union defender who does not perform his duties for one year shall be automatically removed from the list of trade union defenders.

The trade union defender must intervene free of charge (otherwise he will be removed from the list of trade union defenders on which he is registered).