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19.03.2020Myriam de Gaudusson, Patrick Thiébart

Alert – Coronavirus – Covid19

Update on what companies facing Coronavirus losses can do in France?

All companies whose activity is reduced due to the coronavirus, and in particular those which are subject to an obligation to shut-down their business, such as restaurants and bars, may apply for short-time working through the following website: activitepartielle.emploi.gouv.fr.

The short-time working is also available for companies who decide to reduce employees’ working hours below the legal working hour threshold of 35 hours a week as a result of the closure of an establishment or part of an establishment.

At this point in time, French authorities grant short-time working in less than 48 hours. However, given the expected surge in applications, it is possible that this deadline may be extended by a few days.
The financial aid paid to companies for short-time working will be calculated from the date of application, even if the administration’s authorization is given a few days later.

Employers are required to pay an indemnity to their employees which cannot be less than 70% of their gross salary (i.e. 84% of the net salary). The French labour administration will then reimburse employers for the full amount of this indemnity up to 4.5 times the minimum legal wage so that the full coverage cannot exceed €4,849.16 for a whole month without work.

Please note that hours paid to employees above 35 hours a week are not indemnified by the labour administration. That is the same for the portion of the indemnity paid to the employees which would exceed 70% of their gross salary.

While all schools and childcare facilities have been closed since 16 March, employers are being encouraged to telework parents of children under the age of 16. In the coronavirus context, teleworking can be implemented without employees’ consent, as it is deemed to be a necessary adaptation of the workplace allowing the continuity of the company’s activity and guaranteeing employees’ health.
If the employee’s job positions are not adapted to teleworking, the may « apply for an indemnified work suspension”, without any waiting period. This suspension will be valid for the period of time during which the employee is unable to work.

The employee asking for an indemnified work suspension does not need to go to the doctor. The application must be made to the employer, who cannot refuse it.

The employer must declare this work suspension and send the certificate to the Health Insurance Agency, by filling-in the form available at the following internet address: declare.ameli.fr

The suspension can be split: the employee can alternate between work and suspension. Only one parent at a time can take advantage of this.