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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure FR-2020-11/509 Updated – measures in France

Work stoppage to care for a child under 16 years of age

Arrêt de travail pour garder un enfant de moins de 16 ans

Country France , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 11 March 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Support for parents and carers (financial or in kind)
Author Frédéric Turlan (IRshare) and Eurofound
Measure added 12 April 2020 (updated 20 January 2022)

Background information

An employee who is not ill and who has to look after a child under the age of 16 as a result of the closure of a school may be granted sick leave, provided that his or her job does not allow for teleworking. An employee who wishes to be placed on sick leave simply has to send a certificate to his employer. The latter, then, makes an online declaration on the Health Insurance website so that the benefits can be paid.

Content of measure

According to this measure, if the job does not allow teleworking, the employer makes a declaration on the health insurance website (ameli.fr). The employee receives the sickness benefit without any seniority condition. In order to ensure equal treatment between insured persons who are ill, those who are placed in isolation and those who are forced to care for their children under 16 years of age, the waiting period for entitlement to compensation for work stoppages is abolished during the period of a state of health emergency. The measure applies to all compulsory schemes: general, agricultural and special schemes, including the civil service scheme. The insured persons concerned will therefore receive their compensation from the first day of the stoppage.

This measure has been in effect since March 11 and remains in force until the end of the closure of the schools (whose reopening date has not been set).

Only one parent at a time (or holder of parental authority) may be issued a work stoppage. It is possible to split the stoppage or to share it between the parents for the duration of the closure of the establishment. Periods of absence from work to care for children under the age of 16 do not give entitlement to paid leave.

The measure applies to employees, seamen, clerks and employees of notaries, artists-authors, self-employed persons and contract civil servants. It is also intended for the liberal professions and health professionals benefiting from the payment of exceptional flat-rate daily allowances.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

11 November 2021

The law on various health vigilance provisions (loi portant diverses dispositions de vigilance sanitaire, see Source) of 10 November, which notably allows the health pass to be maintained until 31 July 2022, extends until 31 July 2022 the possibility of increasing the rates applicable in the context of partial activity for childcare and for vulnerable persons.

31 May 2021

The government is empowered, by the law of 31 May 2021, to issue ordinances until 30 September 2021, in order to adapt and extend the exceptional measures taken to limit the consequences of the health crisis on employment in several areas, such as the specific partial activity scheme benefiting vulnerable people at risk of developing a serious form of COVID-19 infection and parents of a child under 16 years of age or a disabled person subject to an isolation, eviction or home maintenance measure.

13 April 2021

It is now planned that from 1 April 2021, the rate of the short-time working allowance paid to the employer for employees under private law who are unable to continue working for the reason of childcare will be increased to 70% of the remuneration for all employers with a floor set at €8.11 (decree no. 2021-435 of 13 April 2021), which will ensure that there is no remaining cost for employers.

31 March 2021

In the wake of the announcement of the new health restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic by the President of the Republic on 31 March 2021, the Ministry of Labour returned in a press release to the possibility of mobilising Short-time working for the benefit of parents obliged to look after their children under 16 years of age because of the closure of schools and nurseries during the new lockdown period starting on 3 April for four weeks. Partial activity allowances paid to employees who cannot telework and are forced to look after a child under 16 will be fully covered.

In addition to the postponement of the application of the increased rates of the allowance paid in the event of short-time working already put in place, the Ministry of Labour announced on 1 April the reinforcement of the modalities for the coverage of short-time working for childcare. Due to the closure of schools and nurseries, employees unable to telework will be able to request short-time working to look after their child, if they are parents of a child under 16 years old or of a child with a disability, without age limit.

The ministry reminds us that the employee must give his employer a certificate on his honor confirming that he is the only one of the two parents requesting to benefit from partial activity for the reason of childcare.

But above all, the Ministry indicates that employees placed on partial unemployment will benefit from 'compensation of 84% of their net remuneration or 100% for employees earning the minimum wage, with no remaining costs for employers'. In order to allow this full coverage, a draft decree was sent to the social partners on 2 April.

01 September 2020

The schools have opened again progressively from 11 May. Since schools are opened, the scheme has ended. However, Since 1 September, a measure has been in place for private-law employees who are obliged to keep their child because of the closure for health reasons of the section, class or institution where their child is being cared for or because their child has been identified as a contact case. If these parents cannot telework to care for a child under 16 years of age or a disabled child affected by such a closure, they may be placed in short-time working, declared by their employer, and be compensated as such. The employee will receive an allowance equivalent to 70% of his or her previous gross salary. Until 31 October, the employer will receive an allowance equivalent to that which he would have received for an employee placed in short-time working under ordinary law. From 1 November, the employer will receive an allowance equivalent to 60% of the employee's previous gross pay.

It should be noted that since 1 August 2020, vulnerable employees and employees cohabiting with vulnerable persons no longer benefit from the short-time working scheme. Decree No. 2020-1098 of 29 August 2020 maintains, for the most vulnerable employees, the partial work placement on medical prescription.

Use of measure

Potentially all employees of of the private sector with a child under 16 years old or a child with disabilities without age limit. No data available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Self-employed
Workers in non-standard forms of employment
Parents in employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Social insurance
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Unknown Unknown

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown

Involvement

No information available.

Views and reactions

Social partners have reached a consensus on this measure.

Sources

  • 31 January 2020: Décret n° 2020-73 du 31 janvier 2020 portant adoption de conditions adaptées pour le bénéfice des prestations en espèces pour les personnes exposées au coronavirus (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 09 March 2020: Décret no 2020-227 du 9 mars 2020 adaptant les conditions du bénéfice des prestations en espèces d’assurance maladie et de prise en charge des actes de télémédecine pour les personnes exposées au covid-19 (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 23 March 2020: Loi no 2020-290 du 23 mars 2020 d’urgence pour faire face à l’épidémie de covid-19 (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 29 August 2020: Décret n° 2020-1098 du 29 août 2020 pris pour l'application de l'article 20 de la loi n° 2020-473 du 25 avril 2020 de finances rectificative pour 2020 (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 01 October 2020: Ministère du travail : Garde d’enfants et personnes vulnérables (travail-emploi.gouv.fr)
  • 31 March 2021: Communiqué de presse : Activité partielle: prolongation des taux actuels de prise en charge et précisions sur les règles applicables pour la garde d’enfant
  • 13 April 2021: Décret n° 2021-435 du 13 avril 2021 modifiant le décret n° 2020-1786 du 30 décembre 2020 relatif à la détermination des taux et modalités de calcul de l'indemnité et de l'allocation d'activité partielle (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 31 May 2021: LOI n° 2021-689 du 31 mai 2021 relative à la gestion de la sortie de crise sanitaire (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 11 November 2021: LOI n° 2021-1465 du 10 novembre 2021 portant diverses dispositions de vigilance sanitaire (1) (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Work stoppage to care for a child under 16 years of age, measure FR-2020-11/509 (measures in France), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/FR-2020-11_509.html

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