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Covid 19 - New French employment legislation

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New French employment legislation has been enacted in the last few days in the context of Covid 19 state of public health emergency in order to resume the suspension of certain administrative and procedural time limits. 

You will find below a summary of Decree n°2020-471 of 24 April 2020, as well as the second Amending Finance Law (n°2020-473) of 25 April 2020.  

Decree n°2020-471 of 24 April 2020:

Order n°2020-306 of 25 mars 2020 suspended until the expiry of a period of one month from the date of end of the state of public health emergency the deadlines that had not expired before 12 March 2020 and postponed the starting point of the deadlines that should have started to run during the same period. 

Pursuant to this Order, the Decree of 24 April 2020 lists the categories of acts, procedures and obligations, for which the deadlines had been suspended on 12 March 2020 and resumes their course as from 26 April 2020.

As a result, 35 deadlines, suspended or postponed, resumed on 26 April 2020.

These include, in particular: 
  • The homologation of the mutually agreed termination (“rupture conventionnelle”). However, the time limit for the investigation within the framework of the procedure for validating the mutually agreed termination of a protected employee is not covered by this decree;
  • The validation or homologation by the administrative authority of the collective bargaining agreement relating to the employment protection plan (“plan de sauvegarde de l’emploi”); 
  • Notification of the decision of validation by the administrative authority of a collective bargaining agreement relating to a collective termination of employment by mutual consent (i.e. a voluntary departure plan);
  • The possibility for the administration to make observations as from the filing of optional or mandatory profit-sharing agreements or employee savings agreements;
  • The instruction by the administrative authority of the request for derogation from the absolute or average maximum weekly working time;
  • Decisions of the Labour Inspectorate regarding the duration and organization of working time, particularly with regard to individualized working hours, the use of substitute teams, derogations from maximum working time or minimum rest periods, night work, or concerning young workers;
  • Certain formal notices delivered to the employer regarding health, hygiene and safety.

Amending Finance Law for 2020 n° 2020-473 of 25 April 2020:

Two articles of this new law relate to employment law in the exceptional context of the covid-19:
  • Article 4 increases the annual ceiling of tax exemption for overtime and additional working time. Thus, if overtime and additional time worked between 16 March 2020 and the last day of the state of health emergency leads to the annual limit of €5,000 provided for by the French General Tax Code being exceeded, the annual limit is then raised to €7,500. However, this limit may not exceed €5,000 for overtime and additional working time worked outside the period of the state of public health emergency.
 
  • Article 20 aims at putting automatically in short-time work program employees who benefits from "covid-19" work stoppages as of 1st May 2020. 

This measure applies to employees who are unable to go on working for one of the following reasons:
 
  • the employee is a vulnerable person at risk of developing a severe form of covid-19 infection, according to criteria defined by regulation; 
    • This employee may benefit from this measure until a date set by decree and no later than 31 December 2020.
 
  • the employee shares the same residence as a vulnerable person presenting a risk of developing a serious form of covid-19 infection, in accordance with criteria defined by regulation;
    • This employee may benefit from this measure until a date set by decree and no later than 31 December 2020.
 
  • the employee is the parent of a child under the age of sixteen or of a person in a disabled situation who is subject to a measure of isolation, eviction or home care.
    • This employee may benefit from this measure for the entire duration of the isolation, eviction or home care measure concerning his or her child.

As of May 1st, 2020, these employees automatically receive the short-time work compensation mentioned under section II of Article L. 5122-1 of the French Labour Code, without the conditions provided for under section I of the same Article L. 5122-1 being required (i.e. prior administrative authorization on the short-time work). This short-time work compensation cannot be combined with the daily allowance provided for at Articles L. 321-1 and L. 622-1 of the French Social Security Code and with the additional allowance provided for in Article L. 1226-1 of the French Labour Code.

The employer of these employees benefits from the short-time work allowance provided for in section II of Article L. 5122-1 of the French Labour Code.

The French Social Security Administration ("Assurance Maladie") has published practical information sheets (in French) on how to switch these work stoppages to the short-time work scheme that you will find here : link to these leaflets.
 

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