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T Perrin C
T Perrin C, Consultant: information en droit du travail
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 1353
Experience:  8 years as a Senior judge at Paris Conseil de Prud'hommes (Paris Industrial Tribunal)
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Im a qualified teacher in the UK and Ive tried to get a jo

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I'm a qualified teacher in the UK and I've tried to get a job here in France, either in state schools or Catholic schools. However, I was turned down because I'm too old at 68. According to the Code de Education, the age limit is 65 they tell me.
Such a law is unheard of in any Anglophone country! I do believe that the EU now have a recent law which prohibits age discrimination in the workplace. Do these two laws not conflict with each other, and if so, which one takes precedence?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: French Law
Expert:  T Perrin C replied 1 year ago.
Yes, age discrimination is forbidden.... But one cannot work above the legal age limit set for obtaining a pension, which is presently 65 in the educational sector in France (primary and secondary level) and 68 in higher education.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Your answer is ambivalent. In fact, I was only looking for work as a Supply Teacher (remplacant?) In Britain one can work part-time through agencies without contributing towards a pension - at any age.


Surely, if they don't allow a teacher to work after 65, it must still be a violation of the EU law?


I have heard of teachers in France who have continued in their jobs beyond the age of 65.

Expert:  T Perrin C replied 1 year ago.
Yes my answer is ambivalent since it deals with the opposition between French social laws, which, for the supposed well-being of old-age workers sets age limits for all jobs in the private and public sectors, and which are strongly defended by trade unions, and the age discrimination set by the EU directive (which only becomes law when transcribed into national legislations by parliaments of member countries).
This certainly leaves space for fighting this in the French administrative courts of laws, then in the EUCJ... As of now this has led no-one nowhere, as the workers age limit issue is a very heated debate in French politics.

Some teachers in higher education can work until 68, or can work as independent workers hired by language schools or other private schools (most catholic schools are only semi-private, meaning that teaching personnel is subject to civil service rules and are paid by public funds). they usually opt for the auto-entrepreneur status.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What you tell me is astonishing! As I understand it in the UK, where I lived for many years, the whole country is 'hamstrung' with an incessant stream of EU directives which simply can't be avoided and become UK law automatically. There aren't any 'options', where trade unions, et al, may contest it. This is the main reason why many Brits want to re-negociate the terms of their EU membership.


It seems that things are quite different here in France, where they can simply pick and choose which EU directives they wish to obey and/or stall for time in the law courts?


These kinds of protection practices do nobody any good and inhibit schools and institutions from choosing the best person for the job or the free mobility of the workforce between EU states. In other words, the French are being disingenuous about their aims to create a federal European state, where all nationals are treated equally.


My experience of education in both France and Germany is that one very seldom finds a native English-speaker teaching English in any school, anywhere - in stark contrast to the UK. Also, my UK teaching qualifications aren't worth the paper that they're written on here in France!


Therefore, my follow-up question is: does EU Law ultimately take precedence over French Law in principle, or not, or is the matter always to be decided by an arbitrary adjudication between the two parties in a French Law Court, depending on the merits of the arguments presented by both sides? If not, then I must tell David Cameron; it would save the UK so much trouble if it could simply circumvent any 'inconvenient' EU directives.


Do you know of any actual cases where the EU Ageism directive has been used to challenge French law in education? Any surely it oughtn't to be down to an individual teacher, for example, to challenge this conflicting dichotomy, at great trouble and expense, in order to establish the true legal position? The very essence of any law is that it ought to be straightforward for the common man to understand and apply.


Sorry to 'labour' the point but these are involved but vitally important issues for us all.

Expert:  T Perrin C replied 1 year ago.
EU law does not exist per se. There are only a whole set of directives, regulations, rules,... which member states are supposed to transcribed into laws, nationally. In the case of directives, member states face penalties if they are not transcribed into national legislation but the time frame is... extremely loose.
Politicians, both in France and in the UK (and other countries), use - and even abuse, the excuse of EU directives, rules and regulations to impose extremely unpopular legislation. In front of their voters, they put the blame on Brussels... Moreover, they can use an "opt out" clause in the EU treaties, to avoid certain EU rules that they really do not want to enforce in their country. For example the UK opted out of many EU financial regulations and of the Schengen common security area, to name just two.

Ultimately, EU directives will be imposed onto France, but it may take years. And in the current political climate, the French administration will do nothing to anger its public sector clientèle which is very strongly against higher working ages. No challenge has gone anywhere to my knowledge as this means engaging in a very costly legal battle bound to last at least 10-12 years, with lots of aggravation both by the state and the unions who fight such motions in court. The real evolution is that competitive exams, which must be taken by aspiring teachers (and other civil servants or semi-public personnel) to access stable employment are now open to persons of all ages who have the appropriate diplomas and certifications up to compulsory retirement age, when until recently, they used to be opened only to persons below 27 or 35, depending on various criteria.
T Perrin C, Consultant: information en droit du travail
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 1353
Experience: 8 years as a Senior judge at Paris Conseil de Prud'hommes (Paris Industrial Tribunal)
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