26.03.2020Myriam de Gaudusson, Patrick Thiébart

Alert Coronavirus n° 4 – New measures for employers facing health emergency

The Emergency Health Law No. 2020-290 of 23 March 2020 authorizes the Government to take, by means of Ordinances, measures to deal with the consequences on employment of the spread of covid-19 virus.

The text adopted by the National Assembly includes the measures contained in the bill.

On the basis of this legislative authorization, no less than 25 Ordinances were published in the Official Journal  on Thursday 26 March.

Two of these Ordinances are of particular relevance and are intended to:

  • temporarily adapt the conditions for granting the additional employer’s allowance in the event of sick leave due to the epidemic;
  • to modify the deadlines and terms of payment of mandatory and optional profit-sharing;
  • exceptionally modify the rules relating to paid leave, working time and rest days.

The main changes made by these Ordinances are as follows.

Possibility for the employer to impose the taking of paid leave and replacement compensatory rest days (“RTT”) during the isolation period

  • Paid leave

The Ordinance No 2020-323 enables a company-wide collective bargaining agreement or an industry-wide company bargaining agreement  to determine the conditions under which the employer is entitled, within a 6-working day statutory limit, to impose the taking of paid leave or modify the paid leave dates already agreed upon (subject to a notice period of at least one (1) day).

  • Compensatory rest days (“RTT”)

By derogation from the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement, the employer may, where the interests of the company justify it and within an overall limit of ten (10) days, impose on a unilateral basis:

  • the taking of compensatory rest days accrued by the employee and modify the dates already scheduled for the taking of the said days ;
  • the taking of compensatory rest days granted under a lump-sum working time agreement (“forfait jours” or “forfait heures”) and modify the date on which the said days are to be taken up;
  • the taking of days allocated to a Time-Savings Account (“Compte Epargne Temps”).


  • Derogations from the rules governing working time and rest periods for certain companies

Companies belonging to sectors particularly necessary for the security of the Nation or the continuity of economic and social life will be allowed to derogate from the rules governing working time and rest periods.

A list of these sectors will be published by Decree in the coming days. The Minister of Labour has already mentioned the following sectors:

  • agri-food industry;
  • logistics;
  • transport;
  • telecoms.

From 26 March 2020 to 31 December 2020, companies belonging to these sectors will be allowed, regardless of the collective bargaining agreement’s provisions but within the limits that will soon be determined by Decree, to implement:

  • a daily working time of :
    • 12 hours;
    • 12 hours for the night worker (provided that a compensatory rest equal to the excess in comparison with 8 hours is granted) ;
  • a daily rest period of 9 consecutive hours, provided that an equivalent compensatory rest equal to the rest period not taken by the employee is granted;
  • a maximum weekly working time of 60 hours;
  • a weekly working time calculated over a 12-week period of 48 hours;
  • a weekly night working time of 44 hours calculated over a 12-week period;
  • derogations from Sunday rest by allocating the weekly rest in rotation.

The company which will implement one of these derogations will have to inform without delay and by any means the DIRECCTE the CSE where applicable.


  • Postponement of the deadline for payment of mandatory and optional profit-sharing

The deadline for payment of amounts of mandatory or optional profit-sharing or their allocation to either an savings scheme or a frozen current account is extended to December 31, 2020.


  • Changes regarding salary maintenance

Employees justifying a work stoppage in the context of the covid-19 (isolation, home care, childcare, etc.) benefit from a salary maintenance aimed at guaranteeing 90% of their gross remuneration for 30 days, then 60% for the following 30 days (these periods are increased according to seniority).

Ordinance No 2020-322 provides that until August 31, 2020, the seniority condition for receiving this additional allowance is removed and it is now due for the period to home-based employees, seasonal employees, intermittent workers and temporary employees.

We are awaiting a Decree that could adjust the deadlines and terms of payment of this allowance and which should probably remove the 7-day waiting period (Article D.1226-3 of the French Labour Code).

*   *   *

We are still waiting for certain measures announced in the emergency law of 23 March 2020 as regards:

  • the adjustment of the deadline and the conditions of payment of the exceptional bonus known as the “Macron Bonus”;
  • the definition of the electorate, for elections aimed at enabling the measure the representativeness of trade unions within VSEs;
  • the suspension of the ongoing electoral processes of the CSE members.

Franklin law firm is fully mobilized to assist you throughout the state of health emergency and will continue to keep you informed of new social measures.


Related alerts:

Alert Coronavirus n° 1 – What French employers should know

Alert Coronavirus n° 2 – French Bill on Covid-19 pandemic

Alert Coronavirus n° 3 – Short-time working, what you should know