Chomage Partiel and employment retention measures

Chomage Partiel and employment retention measures

Accueil / Chomage Partiel and employment retention measures

This content is a translation of the document ‘Mesures de soutien économiques’ (Economic support measures) drafted by the government

I am experiencing a temporary decrease in work. Can I benefit from the partial activity (activité partielle) scheme?

The partial activity scheme is a public policy tool aimed at preventing economic redundancies. It allows employers experiencing economic difficulties to have all or part of the cost of their employees’ salary covered. It is governed by articles L.5122-1 et seq. and R.5122-1 et seq. of the French Labour Code. This scheme has proven to be very effective in supporting employment in times of economic downturn.

The key elements of the extraordinary partial activity scheme

 What is partial activity?

Partial activity is intended for all employees who experience a reduction in pay which may be caused by:

  • The reduction in working hours to below the legal limit within any part of the company;
  • The temporary closure of all or part of the establishment.

Employers can request partial activity if the decrease in activity is caused by one of the reasons referred to in article R. 5122-1 of the French Labour Code, including circumstances of an exceptional nature, which apply to the current crisis.

If this is the case for you, you may be eligible for the partial activity scheme. This solution will allow you to avoid redundancies and preserve the skills of your employees, helping you bounce back when your business resumes.

During the partial activity scheme:

  •  The employer receives an allowance from the Services and Payment Agency (Agence de services et de paiement, ASP) equivalent to a share of the hourly pay of the employee placed on partial activity;
  • The employee receives a partial activity allowance from their employer in lieu of their salary for the period during which they are placed on partial activity.
activité partielle2

Informations_Coronavirus_SRConseil  How do I declare my business as being on partial activity?

Note that our teams would have done this already on your behalf.

You can do this directly online at the following website:

To receive free assistance by telephone to get started with the partial activity scheme, you can call this freephone number: 0800 705 800 for mainland France and French overseas territories.
For any request for technical support by e-mail, contact:

The weekly hours actually worked (taking into consideration holidays, sick leave due to Covid-19, etc.) and the total weekly hours not worked must be provided by the employer for each employee.
The Services and Payment Agency (ASP) then pays the allowance to the company, within an average of 12 days.
You have up to 30 days from the day you have placed your employees on partial activity to submit your application online, with retroactive effect.
As of 1 October 2020, the Regional Directorate for Enterprises, Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs, Labour and Employment (Directions régionales des entreprises, de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l’emploi, DIRECCTE) has been responding to requests within 15 days. If a response is not received within 15 days, then the request shall be deemed accepted.
Usually, companies with at least 50 employees must get the Social and Economic Council’s (comité social et économique, CSE) opinion before employees are put on partial activity. In this case, it may give its opinion after the employees have been placed on partial activity, within 2 months of the application for partial activity.

Informations_Coronavirus_SRConseil  What does the extraordinary partial activity scheme consist of?

The company may benefit from the “extraordinary partial activity scheme” for one or more of its employees who are unable to work, if the company is in one of the following situations:

  •  It is affected by orders to close until further notice;
  • It has experienced a decrease in activity and/or supply difficulties;
  • It is impossible to implement the necessary preventative measures to protect their entire staff’s health (remote working, preventative measures, etc.).

Partial activity is intended for all employees who experience a reduction in pay which may be caused by:

  • The reduction in working hours to below the legal limit within any part of the company;
  • A temporary closure of all or part of the company.
  • Employees with a fixed daily and hourly rate over the year can also benefit from partial activity if their working hours are reduced and if the company is completely closed.
  • There is no seniority requirement, nor any conditions linked to the type of employment contract (fixed-term contract, apprenticeship, permanent contract, etc.), nor any conditions linked to the employee’s working time (part-time, full-time) to be eligible for the partial activity scheme.

Within the framework of the extraordinary measures put in place for the health crisis:

  •  As of 1 June and until 31 December 2020, the State’s contribution has been reduced from 100% to 85% of the amount of compensation paid by the employer to the employee, i.e. 60% of the gross salary instead of the previous 70%. Please note that the limit of 4.5x the minimum wage (SMIC) remains in force, as well as the minimum hourly rate of €8.03. The lower limit of €8.03 does not apply to apprentices and employees on a professional training contract whose previous pay was below the minimum wage. The partial activity compensation will be equal to their previous remuneration (the compensation covers both the remuneration applicable under the provisions of the French Labour Code as well as the part stipulated in the contract).
  • However, companies in protected sectors (tourism, hospitality, sport, culture, air transport and events) will benefit from an extension of the 100% coverage of partial activity by the State and the French unemployment benefits agency (Union nationale interprofessionnelle pour l’emploi dans l’industrie et le commerce, Unédic) until 31 December 2020, i.e. 100% of the net salary for employees on minimum wage and around 84% of the net (70% of the gross) up to a limit of 4.5x the minimum wage.
  • Partial activity will be 100% covered by the State for employers in sectors subject to special legislative or regulatory restrictions due to the health crisis or impacted by curfews in several French cities from 17 October to 31 December.

Are salaried entrepreneurs eligible for the partial activity scheme?
Yes. Salaried entrepreneurs who are part of a business and employment cooperative (coopérative d’activité et d’emploi, CAE) have the status of an employee. They enjoy the same rights as an employee of a company or association. Employee status is the first criterion for the partial activity scheme (in particular because they pay into unemployment benefits, which is clearly visible on the pay slip). On their end, self-employed workers, professionals in private practice (professions libérales) and freelancers (autoentrepreneurs) can benefit from the solidarity fund. As long as you are an employee, you can benefit from partial unemployment benefits if: your company is affected by the orders to close OR it has experienced a decrease in activity
and/or supply difficulties which can be quantified OR it is unable to implement the necessary preventative measures to protect the health of all employees (remote working, preventative measures, etc.).

The calculation simulator: It is for:

  • EMPLOYERS: it is a tool that lets employers know immediately of the estimated amounts they can expect to receive if the partial activity scheme is implemented, including an estimate of the amount that remains at their expense.
  • EMPLOYEES: it enables them to estimate the partial activity scheme allowance they could receive if their employer decides to place them on partial activity (this amount is an estimate and should not be taken as the exact amount that is likely to be paid). Exception: The simulator does not take into account special cases (freelance journalists, executive managers, freelance sales representatives, intermittent employees, seagoing personnel, apprentices, professionalisation contracts, etc.).

Informations_Coronavirus_SRConseil  The childcare scheme

As of 1 September, if a child’s educational establishment, class or year is closed, or if a child has been identified as a contact case and must isolate, parents who must look after their child and who cannot work remotely can benefit from the partial activity scheme for childcare.

The employee must send their employer a document certifying the closure of the establishment, class or year, which has been issued by the educational establishment or the municipality, or a document from their health insurance provider certifying that the child is considered to be a contact case. They must also give their employer a sworn statement that attests that they are the only parent in the household requesting a leave of absence for the days concerned.

These documents must be kept in case an inspection is carried out by the administration. The employer will place their employee on partial activity.

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