Health and Safety Protocol, Partial Activity, Financial Aids

To follow up on our previous memos, please find below information related to the following topics:

  • Update of the health protocol in companies and implementation of an action plan on telework in companies in confined areas
  • Extension of the partial activity regime and measures for the confined departments
  • Continuation of financial aids for the hiring of young workers
  • Solidarity fund
  • Financial aid for fixed costs of companies
  • Ile-de-France – Assist Entreprises

 

  1. Update of the health and safety protocol in companies and implementation of an action plan on teleworking in companies in confined departments

The government published on March 23, 2021 a new version of the health and safety protocol applicable in companies.

 

Here are the main contributions:

 

  • An action plan on teleworking must be implemented in companies in confined departments:

 

  • The objective is to reduce as much as possible the time of presence on site of the employees, taking into account the teleworkable activities. Its modalities are adapted to the size of the company, and must be discussed in the framework of the local social dialogue.

 

  • An instruction from the General Directorate of Labour (DGT) dated March 25, 2021 updated the instruction dated February 3, 2021 relating to labour inspection controls on telework. It is specified that within the framework of the controls, “the attention will be focused on the effective character of the actions implemented as soon as possible by the employer to reduce as much as possible the time of presence on site of the employees whose activities are totally or partially teleworkable, rather than on the formalism of the action plan”.

 

The DGT thus reminded that “the controls carried out by the labour inspectorate must necessarily concern the employer’s compliance with his obligation to assess the risks and the methods he has chosen to determine the most appropriate prevention measures and to monitor their application“. Pursuant to article L.8113-5 of the French Labor Code, the labor inspector may thus “request communication of the elements attesting to the rate of effective presence on site“.

 

As regards non-teleworkable tasks, the employees concerned must “be the subject of increased vigilance, in view of the evolution of the health situation”, in particular workers in contact with the public or in groups. Therefore, “particular attention will be paid to the social premises (changing rooms, toilets, etc.), to the conditions of transport of personnel and to the catering premises, in particular in relation to the evolution of the protocol on the subject“.

 

  • As a reminder, the health protocol stipulates that employees who telework 100% of the time may return to the office one day a week at most when they express the need to do so, with the agreement of their employer.

 

  • The company’s catering arrangements have been strengthened:

 

  • The memo on collective catering is updated, taking into account the particular contagiousness of catering places in which the mask cannot be worn continuously. It is now required to:
    • to set up, whenever possible, take-away baskets or meal trays to be consumed at the workstation when possible and when the configuration of the workstations allows it,
    • to eat lunch alone, leaving an empty seat in front of you and keeping a distance of 2 meters

 

  • The isolation of employees presenting symptoms must be reinforced:

 

  • The new version of the protocol insists that people with Covid-19 symptoms must isolate themselves at home, as soon as symptoms appear, and get tested as soon as possible. If they cannot continue working from home, they should register on the declare.ameli.fr website in order to receive daily benefits without waiting period as soon as symptoms are reported, provided that they perform a PCR test within 48 hours.

 

  • It is also essential for “contact case” employees to stay at home. The employer should ask them not to go to work (not just those with symptoms suggestive of Covid-19). The protocol reminds employees that they can also request a sick leave to isolate themselves without a waiting period.
  • Carpooling among employees should be kept to a minimum:

When carpooling is necessary, the presence of several employees in a vehicle is possible on the condition that each one wears a mask, that hand hygiene is respected and that there is an effective procedure for regular cleaning/disinfection of the vehicle, as well as very regular ventilation of the vehicle for a few minutes.

 

 

  1. Extension of the partial activity regime and measures for confined departments

The extension of the current partial activity regime in April has been announced by the Ministry of Labour, as well as the implementation of specific measures for confined departments.

 

We will come back to you later in detail when the related decrees are published.

 

  • For the confined departments

Following the latest government announcements, the Ministry of Labor has specified that establishments and companies under opening restrictions in the confined departments would benefit, under certain conditions, from a 100% coverage of partial activity.

 

This would include:

  • companies and businesses receiving the public that are administratively closed;
  • the “non-essential” shelves, therefore closed, in large and medium-sized stores;
  • other companies in these departments if they are part of the sectors most affected by the crisis (lists S1 and S1 bis);
  • other companies in these departments if they can justify a loss of 60% of their turnover compared to the previous month or the same month in 2019 as a result of these new restrictions.

In other situations, a remaining expense of 15% would apply for the employer.

 

This financial support would remain applicable as long as the health restrictions are implemented in the departments concerned.

 

  • For other departments

During the Social Dialogue Conference of March 15, 2021, the Ministry of Labor confirmed that the rules of the partial activity would again be extended identically until the end of April 2021.

As a reminder, the scheme breaks down as follows:

  • A zero remaining cost for companies in protected sectors;
  • A remaining expense of 15% for the other sectors;
  • A maintenance of the indemnity at 84% of the net salary for employees.

 

 

  1. Extension of financial aids for hiring young workers

At the Social Dialogue Conference on March 15, 2021, the extension of aid for hiring young workers was approved:

 

  • The exceptional aid for work-study programs has been extended identically until December 31, 2021: as a reminder, its amount can range from 5.000 euros for the hiring of any work-study student under 18 years of age (in an apprenticeship contract or professionalization contract), to 8.000 euros for the hiring of a work-study student over 18 years of age;

 

  • The aid for hiring young workers is extended until May 31, 2021: from April, this aid will only be applicable to salaries below 1.6 Smic (compared to 2 Smic currently).

 

  1. Solidarity fund

 

  • February 2021

The eligibility criteria for the solidarity fund have been updated.

 

We invite you to refer to the practical note published by the government in order to determine your eligibility.

 

  • March 2021

Shops that are administratively closed due to the March lockdown will benefit from the solidarity fund in its strengthened version with an option right of up to :

 

  • 10,000 euros per month,
  • or 20% of turnover up to a maximum of €200,000.

 

 

  1. Financial aid for fixed costs of companies

 

The Ministry of Economy and Finance has announced the introduction of a scheme to cover the fixed costs of companies that are not covered by their revenue, insurance or public aid, operational from 31 March 2021.

 

This scheme, which complements the solidarity fund, will see the State cover 70% of operating losses for companies with more than 50 employees and 90% of operating losses for companies with fewer than 50 employees, up to a limit of 10 million euros over the first semester of 2021.

 

The scheme is opened to companies established before 1 January 2019 for the January-February scheme, before 28 February 2019 for the March-April scheme and before 30 April 2019 for the May-June scheme and which:

 

  • Have been closed to the public for at least one calendar month of the eligible period OR
  • Belong to sectors S1 and S1bis OR
  • Have their main activity in retail trade and have at least one of their retail premises located in a shopping center of more than 20,000 m2 , which has been or is being closed to the public without interruption for at least one calendar month of the eligible period
  • Carry out their main activity in retail trade and are located in a commune listed in annex 3 of the decree of 30 March 2020

 

And which, furthermore, meet the following requirements :

 

  • Have benefited from the solidarity fund for at least one of the two months of the eligible period.
  • Have a monthly reference turnover of more than 1 million euros, or an annual turnover for 2019 of more than 12 million euros.
  • Have lost at least 50% of their turnover between the two months of the eligible period and the turnover achieved in the same month of 2019 or, for companies created after 1 January 2019, the turnover achieved between the date of their establishment and 31 December 2019, adjusted for one year.
  • Have a negative gross operating surplus.

 

From 31 March 2021, eligible companies will be able to submit their application for the months of January and February 2021 from their professional space on the impots.gouv.fr website.

A certificate from their accountant will be required.

For the months of March and April 2021, the application will be made in May.

For the months of May and June 2021, it will be possible to apply in July.

 

You will find here the practical note published by the government.

 

 

  1. Ile de France : Assist Entreprises

The Assist Entreprises service offers small and medium-sized businesses in the Ile-de-France region affected by the health crisis access to experts to prevent the risk of failure and quickly identify the solutions to be implemented.

 

You can access this service here.