Josiane Benz: give a human dimension to 35 hours
'Companies which implement the 35 hours system are today asked to organize working time and to apply an agreement which is for the moment only juridical.'
Josiane Benz, Athena Strategy, a consulting firm specialized in human resources. Josiane Benz who is a former financial and administrative director and at the same time a human resources manager for middle-sized firms and big Anglo-Saxon groups (for her last job, she worked in Sophia for Conexant), founded her own firm at the beginning of 1999. Her first missions were axed towards the implementation of the 35 hours system. Today, the companies which have implemented the working time reduction system are facing other needs.SophiaNet.com: what are now companies' demands? Josiane Benz:The companies which have implemented the system are now obliged to organize working time and to apply a 35 hours agreement which is for the moment only juridical. We must go further and give a social dimension to the working time reduction law. This implies a forward-looking management of jobs and careers, implementation of versatility, development of training plans, renewal in wage system.What is the order of priorities? Josiane Benz:It depends on companies, on their organization before the agreement, on markets' pressure, on salaried employees and even on unions. A great deal of agreements asked for a wages maintenance. Today, we hear about economic development, about growth, and employees want to participate to expansion. They claim the growth profit, which means demands for salaries' increases. It is at that moment I play a part in a first reflection about changes in the firm remunerating system.On this last point, does it exist flexibility? Josiane Benz:Yes, for sure. It is about to establish a more variable part of payment, settled on precise objectives, quantifiable and realizable. We also set up tax and social exemption tools for a part of the income. For example: the profit-sharing which allows to exempt until 20% of the salaried mass and which coupled with a PEE, allows a tax exemption after five years. Other tools, restaurant bills, improvement in mutual insurance, of provident conditions, of extra retirement products, stock options distribution…Other demands? Josiane Benz:Another market is going to open. It comes from start-ups. They are looking for a more deeper social management, but they do not have time nor resources to do it themselves. Some example: choice of mass convention, contract to propose with all clauses, and all the actions that can be made out of the firm and that allow them to receive the advice of a human resources manager, but for a duration and a price adapted to their needs…Contacts:Josiane Benz, World Trade Center, Sophia Antipolis - Tel.: 04 93 77 66 91Fax.: 04 93 77 66 92e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org