Some measures of the French Act No. 2021-1774 of Dec. 24, 2021—which is aimed at accelerating economic and professional equality—took effect on Sept. 1. The act creates an obligation of balanced representation between women and men among senior executives and members of management bodies of large companies, accompanied by an obligation of transparency in this respect.
Under the act, companies employing at least 1,000 employees for a third consecutive year are to annually publish any gaps in representation between women and men among senior managers within the meaning of Article L. 3111-2 of the French Labor Code, as well as between members of the management bodies defined in Article L. 23-12-1 of the French Commercial Code.
Senior Managers and Management Bodies
Managers are considered senior managers if they are entrusted with responsibilities that imply a high degree of independence in the company, if they are empowered to make decisions largely autonomously and if they receive remuneration at the highest levels of the remuneration systems applied in their company or establishment.
Furthermore, any body set up within a company, by any act or corporate practice, for the purpose of regularly assisting the bodies in charge of general management in the performance of their duties, is considered a management body.
Requirements of the Act
As of March 1, companies had to publish annually any gaps in representation between women and men among senior executives and members of management bodies. This information will be made public on the website of the Ministry of Labor, starting March 1, 2023. For the first year of application, the companies concerned had until Sept. 1 to publish any discrepancies.
As of March 1, 2026, companies must achieve a target proportion of at least 30 percent of women and men in senior management and at least 30 percent of women and men in management bodies. In the event that these targets are not met, the company concerned must define appropriate and relevant corrective measures.
As of March 1, 2029, the targets proportions are increased from 30 percent to 40 percent. If these targets are not met, the company concerned has two years to comply, and must, after one year, publish progress targets and the corrective measures adopted. If at the end of this period, the objectives have still not been achieved, the employer will incur a financial penalty of up to 1 percent of the remuneration and earnings.
Sabine Smith-Vidal is an attorney with Morgan Lewis in Paris. © 2022 Morgan Lewis. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission of Lexology.