Coronavirus: The measures France has taken that impact workers

As France fights what President Emmanuel Macron has dubbed “a war” against coronavirus, the government has announced a series of measures aimed at keeping its economy afloat and protect against job losses.

Twenty-five measures (ordonnances) in total - specifically targeting both employers and employees - will aim to lessen the negative repercussions of the epidemic on the French economy. 

"It's a novel and massive way to protect skills and businesses," France's Labour Minister Muriel Pénicaud said as she laid out the plan to the press on Tuesday.

"France will go into recession this year," Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has previously stated.

The country went into lockdown on March 17th, with its activity level reduced to the very minimum and all sectors focused on tackling the coronavirus epidemic, which has killed more than 1,300 people and put thousands more in hospital.

The new measures are products of the state of health emergency that the government has declared and their main goal is that, after an inevitable global and national financial downturn, France will be able to get back on its feet as quickly as possible.

Here’s a look at the main points of the temporary measures.

Temporary unemployment

The government has allowed employers to declare chômage partiel (temporary unemployment) in a bid to prevent companies laying off staff en masse.

According to the government over 100,000 companies representing over one million workers have applied for the status.

To encourage those companies, hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, making workers redundant, the state has said it will foot most of the wage bill.

If companies qualify for "chômage partiel" their workers will get 84 percent of their net salary during the period they are not working, while those earning minimum wage (€1,201 a month) get their whole salary reimbursed. 

The measure only covers those earning up to 4.5 times the minimum wage (€5,404 a month).

The benefit (indemnité) is paid by the employer who is then reimbursed by the state. Workers on a temporary (CDD) or permanent (CDI) contract whose company hit by the crisis will be covered.

France's jobs agency website Pôle Emploi says it is up to the employer not the employee to organise the paperwork.

"At the practical level, the employee does not have to take any steps to benefit from the partial activity allowance (no registration or updating). The employer is responsible for requesting the benefit from the regional labor administration (DIRECCTE)," reads the website.



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