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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

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-2020-13/217 Updated – measures in France

Emergency measures relating to short-time working

Mesures d'urgence en matière d'activité partielle

Country France , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 27 March 2020 – 31 December 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g., short-time work)
Author Frédéric Turlan (IRshare) and Eurofound
Measure added 31 March 2020 (updated 18 May 2021)

Background information

Link to case FR-2020-10/462

An ordinance to enact “emergency measures” related to short-time working, which was published in France’s official journal on 28 March, temporarily modifies the rules on how certain employees (part-time workers, apprentices and individuals on professional training contracts) are compensated and opens up the system to groups that are normally excluded (public companies, individuals who work from home).

It also modifies the rules for employees that do training during the short-time working period as well as short-time working in the case of protected employees (e.g. staff representatives).

Content of measure

The new ordinance guarantees partial time workers the same rights to minimum monthly remuneration as full-time employees. Apprentices and employees on a professional training contract will be compensated with 100% of their usual remuneration. Employees who during the period of short-time follow a training course are normally compensated by their employer with 100% of their remuneration.

For training programmes agreed between employees and employers after the entry into force of this ordinance, employees will only receive 70% of their remuneration.

When short-time working is applied for all employees at a company, establishment, department or workshop to which a protected employee is assigned or posted, the employer’s decision is binding on protected employees. As a result, until the end of the health crisis, the employer does not have to obtain the agreement of protected employees to put them on short-time working.


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

21 December 2020

Given the still fragile health context, an ordinance of 21 December 2020 extends most of the emergency measures taken in terms of partial unemployment until the end of 2021 at the latest. The provisions allowing to modulate the rate of partial activity coverage for the benefit of the most affected sectors are also extended until 30 June at the latest.

The parameters of partial activity have been adjusted several times to adapt to the different phases of the health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. This new ordinance of 21 December 2020 provides for a further extension of most of the emergency measures incorporated in ordinance no. 2020-346 of 27 March 2020, which constitute the exceptional partial activity scheme, and for the modification of certain parameters. It also provides for the possibility of modulating the rates of reimbursement applicable to the indemnity and the partial activity allowance.

Use of measure

Information not yet available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Other groups of workers
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

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

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


Social partners on national level has been informed when the measure was decided by the government, but consulted when it was extended.

Views and reactions

The opinion of the CSE (Conseil social et economique) was required because employers will have to consult them within 2 months after the request for partial activity


  • 28 March 2020: Ordonnance n° 2020-346 du 27 mars 2020 portant mesures d'urgence en matière d'activité partielle (
  • 30 April 2020: Activite partielle - covid 19 - CPME (
  • 21 December 2020: Ordonnance n° 2020-1639 du 21 décembre 2020 portant mesures d'urgence en matière d'activité partielle (


Eurofound (2020), Emergency measures relating to short-time working, measure FR-2020-13/217 (measures in France), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.