Office notebook. The economic landscape does not bode well for the mental health of employees. Validated or approved employment protection plans (PSE) jumped from the second quarter of 2022, up by 51.8% over a quarter, according to the Ministry of Labor. Social law lawyer David Guillouet, of the firm Voltaire Avocats, notes for his part “a return of disputes linked to social plans which are increasing”. And business failures have increased by 50% in one year.
Restructuring, which accompanies PES, is always a potential threat for employees, both for those leaving and for those who remain. In effect, “mental health is affected when there is an imbalance between risk factors – overwork, aggressive relationship with a manager – and protective factors – social support, family support, skills development, sense of usefulness”, explains Camy Puech, founding president of Qualisocial, a consulting firm in the prevention of psychosocial risks (RPS).
Three major risk factors appear when a restructuring is announced: economic insecurity, loss of meaning (my job is abolished, so I am useless) and the deterioration of social relations (distrust of managers, prioritization of self-interest). While no protection factor appears. So there is an imbalance. The risk for the company is that the restructuring will go wrong.
More supervised companies
This is probably why requests for support for restructuring projects are increasing at the start of the year at Qualisocial. “Since January, we have received more than one file per week, precisely nine files have reached us in the first two weeks of 2023, compared to forty for the whole of 2022. And they concern major projects with the closure of business sites. more than 300 people, even large companies that are cutting 10% to 15% of their workforce”, says Camy Puech.
Companies are all the more mobilized as they know that they are more closely watched. The responsibility of the employer vis-à-vis the health of employees is not new. Pursuant to Articles L. 1233-30 and L. 4121-1 of the Labor Code, the employer is required to identify and prevent the risks induced by any restructuring project. But “following the increase in post-PSE litigation, the administration has become more demanding on employers’ compliance with the treatment of RPS”explains M.e Guillouet.
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