FRANCE - The French government is expected to announced adjustments to a new law covering voluntary retirement, following confusion over indemnities payable by employers.

Legislative changes were introduced by the French government in July to initially target severance payments but the reforms have caused so much confusion the French law makers have been forced back to the drawing board, as the new law could lead to an increase in the minimum indemnities payable upon voluntary retirement.

According to Towers Perrin, the revised approach would also have an accounting impact on company financial statements.

Gilles Dureuil, of Towers Perrin in Pari,s told IPE: "An adjustment is expected but it hasn't been issued yet. Since volunteer retirements should clearly not have been modified, a lot of legal advisers seem to think this clarification should happen in the next months."

Earlier changes were intended to make it more difficult for employers to carry out involuntary retirements, though according to the consultant the text of the latest revisions was vaguely written, leading some companies and industries to believe higher severance indemnities are required for voluntary retirements as well.

The ambiguity only came to light in September when the legal department of France's metal industry sector organisation flagged it up, following an analysis.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Carolyn Bandel on +44 (0)20 7261 4622 or email