Corona virus: implications for French staff, recent developments explained

The Corona virus raises many questions and uncertainties. What consequences does the COVID-19 have for my French staff? At EuroDev we are dealing with European HR matters every day. Every country has their own measures regarding the Coronavirus. We monitor the situation and have put all information together per country. If you employ people in France, the information below might help you with managing your French staff.

*The information in the blog has the purpose to help the reader with gaining more knowledge and insights on the measures taken by the government. Please keep in mind that we have outlined basic rules. There might be specific terms, rules and regulations to each measure. As a result, EuroDev cannot guarantee any reimbursements or liabilities.  For more detailed information, please contact our experts.
 

As of 15 April 2020, there are 143,303 confirmed cases in France.

Government announcements

On March 16, 2020, the President of the Republic decided to take measures to minimize contact and travel. A containment system is in place throughout the territory from Tuesday, March 17 until Wednesday April 15. As of April 14, this containment system (also referred to as lock down, is extended until 11 May, after which creches and schools to reopen progressively. Bars, restaurants, cinemas to stay closed; large public gatherings banned until at least mid-July.

GDP is predicted to fall by 7.2% in 2020.

Travel is prohibited except in the following cases and only if you have a certificate for:  

  • Travel between home and place of professional activity
  • Make essential purchases in authorized local shops;  
  • Go to a health professional;  
  • Travel for childcare or to help vulnerable people with the strict condition of respecting barrier gestures; 
  • Exercise only on an individual basis, around the home and without any gathering.  

 The two documents necessary to circulate are available:  

Violations of these rules will be punished with a fine of 135 euros. If in doubt about these travel restrictions, you can consult the questions and answers by clicking here .  

Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the Coronavirus, the French government announced measures regarding partial unemployment.  Partial unemployment is a legal measure, used when the employer plans to temporarily pause the business, or plans to reduce working hours. Normally this would be due to the economic difficulties in the business, in this case more likely because of lockdowns. So far, the state has only confirmed reimbursement for the minimum wage. The Minister of Labor, Muriel Pénicaud, informed the public on Friday March 13th that 100% of the partial unemployment costs will be covered by the government. 

How can Eurodev help you?

We can help you declare partial unemployment if needed. In the case of partial unemployment, we will establish the request to open an online profile. To do so, the following information must be completed:

  • Information relating to the identity of the employer
  • The list of names of the employees concerned and their personal registration numbers
  • The nominative statements specifying in particular the number of non-working hours per employee
  • The reasons justifying the use of partial activity
  • The expected period of partial activity

The request will be sent electronically, and is mandatory to benefit from the partial unemployment. The follow-up of the request will be done online. At the moment we are awaiting details on the establishment of a platform dedicated to the current context.

It should be recalled that refusal decisions can occur. In these specific cases, they are motivated by the government. The government has indicated that the new platform would be available starting from this week. If you need assistance with your application, EuroDev’s HR experts are here to help.

Short-time working

What is the purpose of short-time working?

The purpose of the scheme is twofold: compensating employees for loss of earnings and helping employers to finance this compensation as a result of:

  • a temporary closure of the whole or part of the business; or
  • reduction in the working time in whole or part of the company below the legal threshold of 35 hours per week.

The benefit of this scheme has been extended to individual employers and childcare assistants as well as to foreign companies employing at least one employee with no establishment in France.

In which cases can employers take advantage of the short-time working?

The employer must justify the use of short-time working by one of the following reasons :

  • economic circumstances;
  • supply shortages;
  • a damage or exceptional adverse weather conditions;
  • the transformation, restructuring or modernization of the business;

or any other circumstances of an exceptional nature.

How to make a short-time working application?

The employer must send a preliminary request for short-time working to the labour agency of the area where the company is located.

For more information on short-time working, our representatives are more than happy to help you. We have the needed information at our disposal. 

FAQ French employment during the Corona virus

1. Do I have to pay employees if they can't go to work? 

President Macron has announced an “exceptional and massive” aid package to help workers affected by the virus. This will apply mainly through the principle of “technical unemployment” status, which will affect tens of thousands of workers nationwide. Also knows as “partial activity” status, this means that workers will avoid losing their jobs if they are not able to work due to self-isolation. Companies requesting to be part of the scheme will receive a response from the ministry of work within 48 hours.   

2. How to implement telework? 

Since the transition to stage 3 of the epidemic, the implementation of telework must be imperative as soon as the workstation allows it. The telecommuting can be implemented when the layout of the workstation is necessitated to allow the business continuity of the company and to ensure the protection of employees. 

Article L. 1222-11 of the Labor Code mentions epidemic risk as being able to justify the use of telework without the employee's agreement. 

The implementation of telework in this context does not require any particular formalism. 

3. What consequences for the employment contract? 

When the employees are placed in a position of partial activity, the employment contract is suspended but not broken. Thus, during non-worked hours or periods, employees must not be at their place of work, at the disposal of their employer and comply with his directives. 

The employment contract being suspended, employees receive compensatory compensation paid by their employer. This compensation must correspond to at least 70% of the gross previous remuneration and can be increased by the employer. In case of training during the partial activity, this indemnity is brought to 100% of the previous net remuneration. 

4. What financial compensation for the employer? 

To support the payment of the compensation, the employer benefits from a flat-rate allowance co-financed by the State and Unédic: 

- 7.74 euros for companies with less than 1 to 250 employees; 

- 7.23 euros for companies with more than 250 employees. 

In addition to these questions, you might have questions specific to your case and company. If you are looking for answers, we are happy to help. Schedule a 15-minute call with Monique Ramondt, VP of HR Outsourcing by clicking the image below:

Schedule a call with Monique

About EuroDev

EuroDev, established in 1996 with offices in The Netherlands and France, has a single, defined purpose to help mid-sized North American companies expand their business in Europe. We have created a proven, successful business development model and since our founding, have partnered with over 300 companies to help them define and meet their European business goals. Services provided include Sales Outsourcing, HR Outsourcing and Digital Marketing. Additionally, EuroDev is home to 75 professionals from 24 nationalities, covering a total of 21 languages between them. 

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