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Termination and Severance Policies

Learn about the legal processes for employee termination and severance in Guadeloupe

Notice period

In Guadeloupe, the French Labor Code (Code du Travail) and Collective Bargaining Agreements (Conventions Collectives) govern employment termination procedures, including notice periods. All employees are entitled to a notice period before termination, except in cases of gross misconduct or serious incapacity. During this period, the employee remains employed and receives regular salary.

Employer Notice Obligations

The minimum notice period an employer must provide depends on the employee's seniority:

  • One Month: Applies to employees with six months to two years of seniority.
  • Two Months: Notice period for employees with more than two years of seniority.

Notice for Less Than Six Months' Service

The minimum notice period for employees with less than six months' service is determined by either a relevant Collective Bargaining Agreement or established company practices, in the absence of a collective agreement.

Notice Period Calculation

The notice period commences on the day the employee receives the written dismissal letter. It cannot be postponed or interrupted except in specific situations such as workplace accidents, occupational illnesses, or paid leave.

Employee Notice Obligations

While less common, employees who intend to resign are also typically required to provide a notice period. The minimum notice period for employees generally mirrors those required of employers based on their seniority, as outlined in any applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement or company policy.

Severance pay

In Guadeloupe, under the French Labor Code (Code du Travail), severance pay (indemnité de licenciement) is a legal right for employees who have been involuntarily dismissed, with certain exceptions.

Eligibility for Severance Pay

To be entitled to severance pay in Guadeloupe, employees must meet the following conditions:

  • They have completed at least eight consecutive months of service with the employer.
  • Their dismissal was not due to gross misconduct (faute grave) or serious misconduct (faute lourde), which are grounds for dismissal without severance.

Calculating Severance Pay

The calculation of severance pay is based on both the employee's length of service and their average monthly gross salary. The specific rules are as follows:

  • Basic Formula:

    • 1/4 of monthly salary for each year of service up to 10 years.
    • 1/3 of monthly salary for each year of service beyond 10 years.
  • Additional Provisions:

    • The average monthly salary is calculated over the last 12 months or the last three months (whichever is more favorable to the employee).
    • Collective bargaining agreements may provide for more generous severance calculations.

Exceptions to Severance Pay

There are certain exceptions to severance pay:

  • Retirement: Employees who leave employment due to retirement are typically not entitled to severance pay.
  • Fixed-Term Contracts (CDD): Severance pay generally doesn't apply at the end of a fixed-term contract, but a precariousness allowance may be due.
  • Resignation: Severance pay isn't granted when the employee voluntarily resigns.

Termination process

In Guadeloupe, the termination process is governed by the French Labor Code (Code du Travail). It's important for both employers and employees to understand these procedures.

Types of Termination

There are several types of termination:

  • Dismissal for Personal Reasons: This is when the employer initiates termination due to reasons related to the employee's conduct or performance, but not constituting serious misconduct.
  • Dismissal for Economic Reasons: This is termination due to economic difficulties or necessary technological changes within the company.
  • Resignation: This is when the termination is voluntarily initiated by the employee.
  • Mutual Agreement (Rupture Conventionnelle): This is when both the employer and employee agree to terminate the contract under negotiated terms.

Dismissal for Personal Reasons

The process for dismissal for personal reasons is strict:

  1. Pre-Dismissal Meeting: The employer must summon the employee to a preliminary meeting (entretien préalable) via a registered letter. The letter must clearly state the reason(s) for the proposed dismissal.
  2. Observation Period: A period for the employee to provide explanations and potentially address the issue may be required, unless immediate dismissal is justified for urgent reasons.
  3. Dismissal Notification: If the employer proceeds, a formal dismissal letter must be sent by registered mail, outlining the reasons for termination and the effective termination date.

Dismissal for Economic Reasons

The process for economic dismissal is similar to that for personal reasons but has additional requirements, particularly for larger companies, which may include social plans to mitigate the impact on employees.

Important Considerations

  • Discrimination: Dismissal must not be based on discriminatory grounds such as gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability.
  • Legal Challenges: Employees who believe their dismissal was unjustified can challenge the termination before the Industrial Tribunal (Conseil de Prud'hommes).
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