France: Government Passes Exceptional Measures to Limit Impact of Coronavirus
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the vast majority of businesses in France are closed. Companies that are open are instructed to allow their employees to work from home. The State has taken emergency social and economic measures to help limit a part of the economic blow resulting from the situation.
On March 14, the government ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses that are open to the public. This concerns the vast majority of retail stores. All schools are closed for at least two weeks starting from March 16, 2020. Consequently, many employees have to stay home to take care of their young children. With the order of nearly generalized confinement(“stay at home”) ordered by the executive on March 16, telework becomes the mandatory rule for all positions that can accommodate it. Social-distancing rules for jobs not eligible for telework must be respected. As a result of the President’s announcement, all companies affected by the closure order dated 14 March 2020 are eligible for partial activity, which allows for the partial shutdown while avoiding the termination of contracts. The “advantage” of partial activity for businesses is that the French state absorbs the vast majority of the economic fallout of this situation. Moreover, companies are allowed to defer the payment of social dues and contributions.
A massive economic fund of 300 billion euros has been promised by the President to help businesses from going bankrupt as a result of the pandemic, a halt on companies’ rents and utilities bills has been ordered, and measures are expected shortly in order to help independent workers, as they are not currently eligible for the standard unemployment benefits relating to partial activity.
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