This announcement confirmed the position of the Ministry of Labor on the same day, according to which “All companies whose activity is reduced due to the coronavirus, and in particular those (restaurants, cafes, shops, etc.) which are the subject of an obligation to close in application of the decree of March 15th of 2020 are eligible for the partial activity plan”.

The companies could therefore legitimately understand that the use of short-time working would be massively open and accepted by the administration, but also fully compensated by the state.

However, it appears from the various interventions by the Government over the past two days, that the use of partial activity should not be as simple as the initial speech suggested.

Indeed, both the Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Labor or of the Interior, point out that all companies which are not affected by the closure order of March 15th of 2020 (completed on March 16, 2020), must continue their activity, by taking barrier measures allowing their employees to work safely.

According to our information, notably from several DIRECCTEs, requests for partial activity are likely to be refused, on the grounds that the reduction of employees’ hours or the partial or total closure of the company is not justified.

Indeed, the existence of the epidemic and the containment decreed do not in themselves constitute causes of partial or total closure of the business, and therefore cases of automatic authorization for partial unemployment.

We therefore call on you to be particularly vigilant in the context of authorization requests that you may have to make.

The reasons why you have to reduce the activity of your employees, or even close your business completely or partially, must be carefully explained.

The mere reference to the pandemic will not suffice.

We are obviously, and more than ever, by your side to support you in all these steps.

Alexandra Servouze
Specialist in labor law and social security & social protection law – partner of the SCP of lawyers TEN France