COVID-19 Updates - France

Information is continuing to emerge on COVID-19 and the resulting legislative changes being instituted in France. We have compiled a list of important updates for French employers to be aware of. Our teams are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to provide the latest updates to keep you informed.


Last Updated – March 24, 2020 


Employee Health Procautions

Employers who do not take adequate precautions to reduce risk and protect the health and safety of their employees may be considered liable.

Employees considered high risk (those in contact with an infected individual or those recently returning from travels abroad) must go in to quarantine. Employees in quarantine can provide work cessation to employer through regional healthcare authority (ARS). Sick leave guidelines apply for quarantined employees, if the employee:

  • Is pregnant
  • Has a chronic respiratory disease or chronic breathing issues
  • Has multiple sclerosis
  • Has heart issues
  • Has diabetes
  • Suffers from hypertension
  • Has kidney failure
  • Has an immune-depression such as HIV or an auto-immune disease
  • Has liver disease
  • Suffers from obesity


Right of Withdrawal 

Employees that believe they are in grave danger can legally exit their work station and refuse to return. If the reason for departure is deemed lawful, the employer is unable to take any action against the employee, including the withholding of pay.


Remote Working 

While employers cannot normally imposed remote working, article L.1222-11 of the Labor Code states that in exceptional circumstances, such as a health crisis, employers can impose remote working to ensure the protection of the employees.


Partial Unemployment 

Employers are able to enact partial unemployment retroactively, in cases or reductions or suspension of operations. This allows employers to temporarily reduce employee working hours. Employees on partial unemployment receive hourly allowance from the employer at 70% of the gross salary they would have received if working full-time. These allowance payments are exempt from employee and employer social security contributions but remain subject to the CSG at a rate of 6.2%, and to the CRDS at the rate of 0.50%.

Employers receive a compensatory allowance each month from the government.

  • € 7.74 per non-working hour in companies with 1 to 250 employees
  • € 7.23 per hour in companies with more than 250 employees

Employers have 30 days to fill out the Partial Unemployment Application. Once request received by Ministry of Labor, the employer is notified of response in 48 hours via dedicated website.


Leave of Absence

Employees unable to work remotely due to the demands of childcare can be placed on a leave of absence. Employers provide employees with official notification that they are being placed on leave.

Employers must request that the employee provide a certificate stating they will be the only parent requesting leave of absence benefits. The employee must also provide name, age, school name, school address and duration for which the school is closed for each of their children and inform employer once the school reopens. Employee receives leave of absence payments on a daily basis with no waiting period for the duration of the school closure.


Social Contributions and Taxes

Employers struggling with challenges caused by COVID-19 can request postponement of social contributions or tax payment deadline. If request is granted, new deadlines will be established and any late penalties accrued during this period will be waived.