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The COVID-19 journey so far – France

01 June 2020
The story so far for France during the COVID-19 pandemic and what returning to the workplace in the post-lockdown environment may look like.

In March 2020, the French Parliament voted an emergency law that permitted the government to take decrees and orders related to the health crisis. As of 28 May, 139 orders/decrees were taken by the government in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. 

These regulations permitted notably:

  • Employees who took care of their children during the lockdown to claim for sick allowances. 
  • To modify the short-time unemployment scheme to be more protective: under the scheme the employee does not work or partially work and is paid 70% of the gross salary, i.e. 84% of the net salary. The employer is granted an indemnity from the State to compensate this salary. 
  • To allow employers to force employees to take some days off during the health crisis.
  • To grant a specific bonus to employees who had to work in the company premises during the health crisis.

Since May 11, the lockdown is partially over; but employers must keep the employees under a work from home organisation whenever possible. New regulations are considered to decrease the cover of the part-time unemployment (up to 12,3M€ of beneficiaries) and modify other regulations that were taken during the health crisis. 

From lockdown to return to work

The lockdown is over in France, but a lot of restrictions remain in force, notably in public transportation. The French government has asked employers to keep their employees under a work from organisation for the time being when possible. 

Employers have implemented return to work policies, providing for the main health protection measures when working in the office, masks, gel, prohibition to hold meetings, 4m2 per employee as working space otherwise masks but be worn all day, cleaning of the premises several times per day, possibility to take the employee's temperature, modification of working hours to avoid too many people in the public transportation at the same time, etc.  

It is difficult to know for how long these restrictions in the office will last. 

To support employers with their return to work planning, we have prepared a step by step guide on the key measures and employment checklist. 

Please see our France employment checklist for a step by step guide on the key measures to consider >

Return to the global overview page to review the story so far in other locations >