As announced by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Saturday, March 14, 2020, the Coronavirus COVID-19 stage 3 imposes the closure of all places welcoming the public that are not essential to the life of the country: restaurants, cinemas, bars, ... In this context, companies will be able to resort to partial activity, commonly known as "partial unemployment" or "technical unemployment". »

1/ Definition of partial activity

According to article R. 5122-1 of the Labour Code "Code de travail" , the employer may place his employees in a position of partial activity when the company is forced to reduce or temporarily suspend its activity for one of the following reasons :

1° The economic situation; 2° Difficulties in the supply of raw materials or energy; 3° A disaster or bad weather of an exceptional nature; 4° The transformation, restructuring or modernization of the company; 5° Any other circumstances of an exceptional nature.

Obviously, the Coronavirus COVID-19 meets this definition, as the Government has moreover recognised.

2 / Employees concerned

All employees of the company are entitled to benefit from compensation for partial activity, including those working part-time and at home (Cass. soc. 22-6-1994 n° 89-42.461).

It is important to specify that the partial activity is a collective measure, which should therefore not be aimed at any particular employee.

3/ Consequences on the employment contract

When employees are placed on short-time working, their employment contract is suspended but not terminated.

Thus, during the hours or periods not worked, employees must not be at their place of work, at the disposal of their employer and comply with his instructions.

As the employment contract is suspended, employees receive a compensatory allowance paid by their employer.

This compensation must be at least 70% of the gross previous remuneration and may be increased by the employer.

To accompany the payment of the allowance, the employer receives a lump-sum allowance co-financed by the Governement and Unédic corresponding to :

-7.74 euros for companies with fewer than 1 to 250 employees; -7.23 euros for companies with more than 250 employees.

4/ Implementation procedure

The employer shall send the "prefet" of the department in which the establishment concerned is located a prior request for a partial activity permit to

The request specifies:

1° The reasons justifying the recourse to the partial activity;

2° The foreseeable period of sub-activity;

3° The number of employees concerned.

The request is sent electronically on the dedicated portal before the actual placement of employees in partial activity. If it is not possible to anticipate applications for partial employment prior to the placement of employees in partial employment, employers must submit their application for partial employment within a reasonable period of time after the start of the requested period.

5/ Decision of the Administration The Labour Code provides that the administrative authority has a maximum of 15 days to examine the application. At the end of this period and in the absence of a reply from the administration, the application shall be deemed to have been accepted.

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