DS0803 - Mutations du travail, égalité professionnelle

Captialization of working time: collective bargaining and usages in France and Germany – CATT

Submission summary

This comparative research project handles new forms of individual and collective works’ organizations generated by the development of negotiated capitalization’ mechanisms in France and in Germany. It seeks to shed new light on a widespread social phenomenon yet little studied in France. In the frame of this research we will focus more specifically on the time savings mechanisms, developed in both countries during the mid-90s, tracing the evolution of rules and associated uses.

While Time Saving Accounts schemes have emerged at the same time in the two countries, they follow different logics.
In France the introduction of a law on the time savings account (CET) in 1994, allows employees who wish to accumulate paid leave entitlements in return for periods of leave not taken off. The opportunity for the employee to individually control their schedule, even life long, refers both to the arrangement of social time in a given situation, and to the distribution of professional times all over working life. In the centre of the question we first see the opportunity for the employee to control its temporality in a world that favours production (the company) and flexibility (markets).

In Germany, the mechanism appears in a metallurgy company (Volkswagen 1994) than spread to the entire society. The origin of the mechanism refers to the necessity for businesses to adapt to market fluctuations and individualization of social relations. If time conciliations issues are addressed in some work, the capitalization remains a predominantly collective device used extensively for flexibility and job retention policies. Recent literature reports the predominant role of time savings account in the preservation of some three million jobs during the 2008 crisis.

If this analysis in terms of preserving the industrial potential and jobs in the crisis, although unknown in France, seems interesting in itself, the aim of our research would be for us to better characterize the production of the decentralized time rule in Germany, which continues to benefit from a predominant role, though weakened, of the business sector.

We would like to question ourselves on the inequalities in terms social time in regards to capitalisation (gender, demanding jobs, etc.), query a possible trend of individualization of time savings compared to collective bargaining, and ultimately question the robustness of a general "time" equivalent in the perspective of the monetization trends.

In the context of rapid changes in the French legislative framework, concerning the time savings and the decentralization of collective bargaining combined with a particular social context marked by the aging of the population and the general rising of uncertainties related to the labour market, time savings is pushed at the centre of questioning that affect both the employee, the company and society as a whole. It is therefore a "central" mechanism yet little studied.
In the frame of this research, we will combine a quantitative approach, based on collective agreements and legal texts dealing with French and German time saving account mechanisms, with a qualitative approach, mainly focused on semi-structured interviews as well as companies’ monographs.

Project coordination

Jens Thoemmes (Centre National de Recherche Scientifque / CERTOP)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CNRS/CERTOP Centre National de Recherche Scientifque / CERTOP

Help of the ANR 171,745 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: November 2015 - 36 Months

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