Employment law

/Employment law
2020-05-06T15:43:54+01:00

Measures have been taken at the national level in the field of social law to combat Covid19:

Partial unemployment

Exceptional and massive mechanism of partial unemployment with the State paying compensation for employees forced to stay at home for a period of 2 months. 

Employee and employer contributions

Possibility of postponing, for up to 3 months, or staggering all or part of the payment of employee and employer contributions due on March 15, 2020 for all companies without justification or penalties. At the end of the crisis, the situation will be reassessed and this postponement may be transformed into a cancellation for some companies, on a case-by-case basis.

Supplementary pension contributions

Possibility of postponement or delay of payment.

Emergency Act to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic of 23 March 2020

Authorization granted to the government to take by ordinance, within 3 months of the publication of the said law, any measure allowing:

  • to limit the termination of employment contracts and mitigate the effects of the decline in activity, by facilitating and strengthening the use of partial activity for all companies, regardless of their size, in particular by temporarily adapting the social treatment applicable to the indemnities paid in this context, by extending it to new categories of beneficiaries, by reducing, in the case of employees, the remaining costs for the employer and, in the case of the self-employed, the loss of income, by adapting implementation methods, by promoting better coordination with vocational training and by taking better account of part-time employees
  • to modify the deadline and the conditions of payment of the exceptional purchasing power bonus mentioned in Article 7 of Law n°2019-1446 of 24 December 2019 on the financing of social security for 2020
  • to modify the procedures for informing and consulting employee representative bodies, in particular the social and economic committee (hereinafter “CSE”), in order to enable them to issue the required opinions within the set deadlines, and to suspend the electoral processes of the social and economic committees in progress
  • to amend the provisions of Part 6 of the Labor Code, in particular to enable employers, training bodies and operators to meet legal obligations regarding the quality and registration of certifications and authorizations, and to adapt the conditions of remuneration and payment of social contributions for vocational training trainees.

Paid leave, working hours and rest days

(Order No. 2020-323 of 25 March 2020 related to emergency measures)

  • possibility, through a collective agreement or, failing that, a collective bargaining agreement, to determine the conditions under which the employer is allowed to decide when employees have to take acquired paid leave, including before the opening of the period during which they have to be taken, or to unilaterally modify the dates of taking paid leave, within the limit of 6 days and subject to observing a notice period which may not be reduced to less than one clear day.

The agreement may authorize the employer to split paid leave without being required to obtain the employee’s agreement and to determine the dates of paid leave without being required to grant similar paid leave to spouses or partners bound by a civil solidarity pact working within the company

The period of forced paid leave or modified paid leave may not be extended beyond 31 December 2020

  • considering the economic difficulties resulting from the spread of Covid-19, the employer may, if it is necessary for company’s interest, subject to observing a period of notice of at least one clear day:

– require to employees (i) to take acquired rest days when he decides so, or (ii) to decide to take, on dates determined by him rest days arising from a number of working days per year or a number of working hours on a monthly/weekly basis, and/or (iii) to ask for the use of the rights allocated to the employee’s time savings account for taking rest days at a given time determined by him;

– (i) unilaterally change the dates for taking rest days or (ii) unilaterally change the dates for taking rest days arising from a number of working days per year or a number of working hours on a monthly/weekly basis.

Period during which employer may require or change rest days dates is not extended beyond 31 December 2020.

The total number of rest days employees may be required to take or whose dates have been changed is limited to 10

  • companies belonging to sectors especially necessary for the security of the Nation and the continuity of economic and social life (a list will be determined by decree – sectors of energy, logistics, transport, agricultural activities or the agri-food chain), may:

– extend the maximum daily working time to 12 hours

– increase the maximum daily working time at night to 12 hours, subject to granting a compensatory rest equals to the time exceeding the period provided for by Article L.3122-6 of the French Labor Code

– reduce the resting period on a daily basis to 9 consecutive hours, subject to the benefit of a compensatory rest equals to the length of the rest period from which the employee could not benefit

– increase the maximum resting period on a weekly basis to 60 hours

– increase the weekly working time assessed on the basis of 12 consecutive weeks or over a period of 12 months to 48 hours for the farms, companies, establishments and employers mentioned into 1° to 4° of Article L.722-1 and in 2°, 3° and 6° of Article L.722-20 of the French Rural and Maritime Fishing Code and having an agricultural production activity

– increase the weekly working time at night assessed on the basis of 12 consecutive weeks to 48 hours

A decree will specify, for each of the concerned sectors of activity, the categories of derogations allowed and the maximum working time or minimum resting period that may be set for by employers.

The employer who implement at least one of such derogations shall immediately inform the CSE and the labor administration (DIRECCTE).

The implemented derogations shall cease on 31 December 2020.

  • specified provisions for Moselle, Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin: companies belonging to sectors especially necessary for the security of the Nation and the continuity of economic and social life (a list will be determined by decree) and companies which provide such companies with the required services for the performance of their main activity, are allowed to change weekly rest (usually on Sunday) to another day by rotation

Additional compensation, profit-sharing and incentives

(Order No. 2020-322 of 25 March 2020 temporarily adapting the terms and conditions of allocation of the additional compensation provided for by Article L.1226-1 of the French Labor Code and modifying, on an exceptional basis, the deadlines and terms and conditions of payment of sums paid under the profit-sharing and incentive scheme)

  • payment of the additional indemnity provided for by Article L.1226-1 of the French Labor Code:

–  to employees who benefit from a sick leave pursuant to Article L.16-10-1 of the French Social Security Code, excluding the seniority condition provided for by first paragraph of Article L.1226-1 of the French Labor Code or the conditions provided for by 1° and 3° of the same article, being specified that the exclusion of the categories of employees mentioned by 5th paragraph of the same article is not applicable

– employees who are in a situation of absence from work justified by incapacity resulting from illness or accident provided for by Article L.1226-1 of the French Labor Code, excluding the seniority condition and being specified that the exclusion of the categories of employees mentioned by the 5th paragraph of the same article is not applicable

– deadline for the payment to beneficiaries of sums according to a profit-sharing or incentive plan is postponed to 31 December 2020. The same applies for allocating to an employee savings plan or a blocked current account

Short time working

(Decree No. 2020-325 du 25 mars 2020 related to short time working: emergency measures for partial activity: methods for determining the allowance and partial activity allowance)

Order No. n° 2020-428 of 15 April 2020 related to several social provisions in order to be facing the spread of Covid-19

  • extension of the employees who may benefit from short time working:

– top executive employee (cadre dirigeant)

– employees involved in wage portage, employed under indefinite term employment contract, during periods when there is no performance carried out for clients

– temporary workers

  • amending status of apprentice and training contract: short time working indemnity will be assessed depending on the amount of their compensation before such period (less or upper than minimum wage):

– if employee’s compensation is equal or upper than minimum wage, the indemnity amounts to 70% of the previous gross hourly compensation, if the result is upper than 8,03€

– if such result is less than 8,03€, the indemnity amounts to 8,03€

Order No. n° 2020-460 of 22 April 2020 related to several social provisions in order to be facing the spread of Covid-19 

  • treatment of the additional indemnities: when the sum of legal short time working indemnity and the additional short time working indemnity paid on the basis of a collective agreement or an unilateral employer’s decision is upper than 3,15 times minimum wage (namely 70% of 4,5 times of minimum wage, thus 31,97), the fraction of the additional indemnity beyond such amount is subject to social contributions and charges applicable to income. Such provision is applicable to indemnities related to short time working periods which will enter into force as from 1 May 2020
  • public employers: they may benefit from this package, only if the majority stake of their resources is based on the product resulting from their main industrial and commercial activity
  • overtime hours: the specific situation of employees whose working time (i) has been determined according to a number of working hours on a monthly/weekly basis including overtime hours and (ii) is upper than the legal working time according to a collective agreement, has been taken into consideration:

– working time provided for by the employment contract or the collective agreement is taken into considering in lieu and place of legal working time for assessing the loss of compensation resulting from decreasing work schedule applicable within the company below legal working time

– overtime hours included into working hours determined on a monthly/weekly basis or collective working time are taken into consideration for calculating the number of unworked hours which will be paid to employees

These provisions have entered into force as from 28 March 2020 until 31 December 2020 at the latest.

  • individual short time working: by derogation, an employer may, on the basis of a collective/establishment agreement, or a collective bargaining agreement in the absence of, or in the lack of agreement after CSE/company committee’s favorable opinion, implement a short time working for a determined part of employees from the company/establishment/department/factory/, including those who belong to the same professional category, or provide for that these employees fall under a specific distribution of worked hours and unworked hours, if such individualization if required for remaining or starting again company’s activity.

The agreement of the document submitted to CSE or company committee shall determine in particularity:

1er skills considered as necessary for remaining or starting again company/establishment/department/factory’s activity.

2° objective criteria related to positions, functions carried out or qualifications and professional skills, on the basis of which employees have been assigned (remaining under or benefiting from short time working or falling under a specific distribution of worked hours and unworked hours)

3° conditions and frequency under which the abovementioned criteria shall be subject to a re-examination in order to be adapted according to the evolution and the volume of the activity and to change the agreement or document if the case needs be. In any case, the frequency shall not be lower than 3 months

4 ° specifics forms under which employees’ professional life and personal/family life shall be reconciled

5° conditions under which employees will be informed of the application of the agreement during its duration

Employees’ acceptation is necessary. Collective agreements and employer’s decisions cease 31 December 2020 at the latest.