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France: supporting mobility for young people in alternance training schemes: a revised legislative framework

Strengthening European mobility is a priority at both national and European levels. The Agence Erasmus+ France/Education Formation aims to expand the benefits of the Erasmus+ programme. The French government has set a target of 15 000 apprentices in long-term mobility for 2022.

New legal provisions have come into force, aimed at removing obstacles to long-term European mobility for apprentices and trainees in alternance training schemes: recent laws reforming the Labour Code (March 2018) and vocational education and training (September 2018) include measures that apply to all young people under the two main schemes, the apprenticeship contract (contrat d’apprentissage) and the professional development contract (contrat de professionalisation). Organising periods of mobility abroad as part of alternance training schemes should now be easier and more legally secure for both training organisations and employers.

Suspension of French employer liability: the French employer is no longer responsible for the conditions of the work performance during the mobility period abroad, as was previously the case. The host employer or training provider becomes solely responsible, in particular for work time, health and safety, remuneration, and weekly rest, in accordance with the legal and contractual provisions of the country concerned.

Facilitating long mobility periods abroad and simplified processes for short mobility periods: in both alternance training schemes the period abroad may vary from six months to maximum one year. In addition, the duration of apprenticeship contracts may now be adjusted taking into account the skills acquired during mobility abroad. This is possible through an agreement between the training provider, the employer and the apprentice.
For short mobility periods (less than four weeks), an agreement governing staff provision needs to be established between the parties concerned.

More flexibility regarding the content of training courses abroad: the provisions of the Labour Code that define the content of training for apprenticeships or professional development contracts no longer apply during the period of mobility abroad. This broadens the potential content of training received abroad.

Additional funding: as part of the ongoing VET reform, the OPCAs (Organismes paritaires collecteurs agréés) – approved joint bodies collecting and redistributing training funds for the continuous training of employees – are expected to be reformed into skill operators (OPCOs - Opérateurs de compétences). OPCOs will be responsible – among others– for developing apprenticeship and professional development contract schemes. The new arrangement is expected to cover the loss of resources generated by mobility outside the national territory: social contributions, remuneration, ancillary costs.

More information:

LOI n° 2018-771 du 5 septembre 2018 pour la liberté de choisir son avenir professionnel  [The Law No 2018-771of 5 September 2018 on the liberty of choosing one’s career]

Mobilité internationale et européenne des apprentis. Article L6222-42 Créé par LOI n°2018-217 du 29 mars 2018 - art. 23 - section 7 [Labour Code – Section 7: International and European mobility of apprentices, Article L6222-42 created by Law No 2018-217 of 29 March 2018]