Are you an employer and want to use fixed-term contracts to fill certain temporary positions but you do not know what type of contract to use?
Is your company’s business related to carrying out projects or assignments of a certain duration, but you consider that the fixed-term contract for a temporary increase in activity is not fully adapted to the variations of your business? You want to consider your other options.
Have you ever considered using a fixed-term contract (CDD) "with a defined purpose"?
The fixed-term contract with a defined purpose is in fact a contract which may have certain advantages in comparison with a "conventional" fixed-term contract, subject to compliance with certain mandatory conditions.
As a reminder, the "conventional" fixed-term contract, i.e. the one provided for in Articles L. 1241-1 to L. 1242-17 of the French Labour Code, is a contract that allows the employer to fill positions temporarily for a certain number of reasons, listed exhaustively.
For situations other than the need to replace an absent employee, the use of this type of contract is considered valid in the following cases in particular:
These reasons for use are adapted to variations in a company's activity.
However, this range of reasons has a drawback that must not be overlooked and can sometimes be very restrictive: these reasons for using a CDD can only be applied in the context of a fixed-term contract with a specified end.
Thus, the sine qua non condition for the validity of such contracts is that the start and end date of the contract must be known to the Parties and stated when the contract is concluded.
The penalty for non-compliance with such a condition is the reclassification of the fixed-term contract as a permanent contract in the event of litigation.
Moreover, the "conventional" fixed-term contract can only be subject to:
Finally, a waiting period (or a period of delay) must also be respected between the conclusion of two successive contracts, the length of which varies according to the term of the initial contract and the assumptions considered (whether or not it’s the same employee, whether or not it’s the same position).
All these conditions do not make it possible to individually adjust the term provided for in the contract, nor to adapt the duration of the contract according to the needs of the company.
This system may therefore lack flexibility.
Yet little known and little used in practice, the fixed-term contract with a defined purpose is more flexible and deserves to be better understood by employers.
Like any legal system, it has both advantages and disadvantages.Variable term, the advantage of the fixed-term contract with a defined purpose
Prévu à l'article L. 1242-2 6° du Code du travail, le CDD à objet défini peut être conclu pour une durée comprise entre 18 mois et 36 mois.
Provided for in Article L. 1242-2 6° of the French Labour Code, the fixed-term contract with a defined purpose may be concluded for a term of between 18 months and 36 months.
This leaves the employer room for manoeuvre to adapt the duration of the employment contract to the assignment.
This type of contract, which makes it possible to provide for contracts adapted to the term of the assignment planned, may therefore be appropriate for the business of a company which operates structurally with a system of temporary but relatively long assignments.Note, however, the demanding formalism of the French Labour Code
This great flexibility must not make the employer forget that this type of contract remains exceptional in nature and that a number of mandatory conditions must be met for the fixed-term contract with a defined purpose to be valid.
These legal requirements may of course limit the interest that this type of contract offers for the employer.
However, these conditions are already well known since they are similar to those of a conventional fixed-term contract, which must also be analysed with regard to the flexibility that can be provided by the conclusion of this type of contract.
For certain activities or sectors that lend themselves to it, such a system can thus make it possible to find a little more flexibility than with the conventional fixed-term contract system.