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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-2020-27/1030 Updated – measures in France

Long term short-working scheme

Activité réduite pour le maintien en emploi

Country France , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 July 2020 – 30 June 2022
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 04 August 2020 (updated 30 May 2022)

Background information

From 1 July 2020, two short-time working scheme will coexist:

  • The normal system of short-working (FR-2020-10/462) for which the hourly allowances and benefits paid to employers should be subject to a less and less favourable regime;
  • The reduced activity to keep people in employment ("activité réduite pour le maintien en emploi") or the long-term partial activity scheme ("activité partielle longue durée"), which is more favourable in terms of hourly benefits for employees and employer allowances, but more restrictive in terms of commitments.

This factsheet deals exclusively with the second system.

Content of measure

A decree of 28 July set up the long-term partial activity scheme (APLD), designed by the government to 'take over' the partial unemployment scheme in place as a matter of urgency at the height of the health crisis. Intended for companies facing a lasting reduction in activity, it can be implemented either by a company, establishment or group agreement validated by the administration, or by a document drawn up by the employer - on the basis of an extended branch agreement - and approved. It will apply until 30 June 2022.

This temporary arrangement can be implemented until 30 June 2022. It complements the classic partial unemployment scheme (or "partial activity") which will be modified on 1 October 2020. An employer will not be able to combine the two schemes for the same employees over the same period.

A reduction in activity limited to 40% of the legal duration

The APLD makes it possible to reduce the activity of employees, within the limit of 40% of the legal working time. This reduction in activity is assessed for each employee concerned, over the period of application of the system provided for in the collective agreement or unilateral document: this assessment framework therefore makes it possible to envisage a temporary suspension of activity.

The 40% limit may be exceeded in exceptional cases resulting from the particular situation of the company, by decision of the administrative authority. However, the decree specifies that the limit may be exceeded only under the conditions laid down in the collective agreement and that the reduction in the working hours may not exceed 50 % of the legal duration.

A capped allowance for employees

As in the case of traditional partial activity, it is the employer who pays each employee placed in the APLD scheme directly an hourly allowance for partial activity, equal to 70 % of his gross remuneration serving as the basis for the holiday pay reduced to an hourly rate on the basis of the legal working time applicable in the company, or, where this is lower, on the basis of the collective working time or that stipulated in the employment contract. Employees therefore continue to benefit from the payment of 84% of their net salary.

However, the compensation is capped: the maximum remuneration taken into account for the calculation of the hourly allowance is in fact equal to 4.5 times the hourly rate of the minimum wage.

The partial activity allowance paid to employers

The employer receives a partial activity allowance, the hourly rate of which is equal for each employee concerned to:

  • 60% of the gross hourly pay corresponding to the basis of the holiday pay allowance, up to a limit of 4.5 times the hourly rate of the minimum wage, for agreements that will be sent to the administrative authority before 1 October 2020;
  • 56% of the gross hourly remuneration serving as the basis for the holiday pay allowance, for agreements transmitted to the administrative authority as from 1 October 2020, the date announced for the entry into force of the reformed arrangements for compensation for partial activity under ordinary law.

It should be noted that the decree only covers the transmission of agreements: there is every reason to believe that the compensation rates will be the same for unilateral documents transmitted for approval before or as from 1 October 2020, and that the criterion to be taken into account is the date on which the application for approval or validation is sent. The hourly rate of the allowance is subject to a floor and may not be less than €7.23, with the exception of employees on apprenticeship or professionalization contracts.

The content of the collective agreement

Whether it is concluded at the level of the establishment, the undertaking, the group or the branch, the collective agreement setting up the long-term partial activity scheme must include a preamble presenting a diagnosis of the economic situation and business prospects of the establishment, the undertaking, the group or the branch. The agreement must then define:

  • the starting date and the duration of application of the long-term partial activity scheme;
  • the activities and employees to which the scheme applies;
  • the maximum reduction of working hours below the legal duration;
  • employment and vocational training commitments;
  • the procedures for informing the signatory employee trade unions and employee representative institutions about the implementation of the agreement, which must be provided at least every three months.

Although the text does not expressly refer to it, the agreement must also lay down the conditions under which the 40% activity reduction limit may be exceeded: otherwise, such an overrun could not be authorised.

Updates

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

14 April 2022

On 14 April the ministry of Labour has published a circular question-answer about APLD to explain the extension of the scheme in the context of the consequences of the war in Ukraine (ordinance of 13 April, decree of 8 April). The circular was updated on 2 May 2022.

13 April 2022

An ordinance of 13 April 2022 extends the period of implementation of the long-term partial activity (APLD). The ordinance comes in a still uncertain health context, and in accordance with the measures announced by the Prime Minister, on 16 March, as part of the "economic and social resilience plan", to deal with the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine.

The ordinance comes after the decree of 8 April 2022, which also extended the period during which companies that have set up the APLD can mobilise the system, i.e. for a period of 36 months, consecutive or not, over a reference period of 48 consecutive months.

The ordinance extends the period during which employers will be able to implement the APLD within their companies. To this end, the text postpones from 30 June 2022 to 31 December 2022 the date until which companies wishing to benefit from the APLD scheme may transmit collective agreements and unilateral documents to the administrative authority for validation or approval.

The ordinance also allows companies that will have implemented the APLD by 31 December 2022 to adapt its implementation after that date. To do so, they must send the administration a rider revising their collective agreement or a document adapting their unilateral document.

This possibility of adapting the terms of an agreement or a unilateral APLD document throughout its duration, including after 31 December 2022, thus makes it possible to take into account changes in the company's economic situation during the crisis. A company whose difficulties persist will thus be able to renew the scheme if it has not exhausted the maximum mobilisation period of 36 months.

16 March 2022

In order to cope with the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine, the government has announced that the common law or long-term partial unemployment scheme (APLD) are part of the measures that can be mobilised by companies as part of the economic and social resilience plan presented on 16 March by the Prime Minister. In a "question and answer" circular dated 17 March 2022, the Ministry of Labour details their implementation procedures. It also sent two draft texts, an ordinance and a decree, to consult the social partners, to the National Commission for Collective Bargaining, Employment and Vocational Training (CNNCEFP) to adapt the APLD system.

The company whose activity is reduced or interrupted due to the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine is also eligible for the APLD, including, the ministry specifies, 'in case of voluntary closure' of their establishment. To implement the APLD, a company must be covered either by a company, establishment or group agreement validated by the administration, or by a unilateral document drawn up by the employer on the basis of an extended branch agreement. As the APLD is designed to deal with long-term difficulties, the Ministry of Labour does not recommend "concluding agreements or unilateral documents lasting only a few months, particularly with regard to the application of the rule setting the maximum rate of inactivity at 40%.

Employees with an employment contract under French law and employed by Russian, Belarusian or Ukrainian companies established in France and whose activity is reduced due to the consequences of the war in Ukraine are eligible for the APLD scheme

Before resorting to partial activity, the Ministry of Labour asks French companies established in Ukraine and Russia to give priority to repatriating their expatriate or seconded employees. 'If it is not possible to repatriate employees under a French employment contract to other sites in France due to the geopolitical situation, the employer may be eligible for partial activity or APLD for these employees,' it adds.

29 September 2021

A decree of 29 September 2021 raises to €7.47 the minimum hourly rate of the short-term working allowance paid to the employer from 1 October 2021. It also provides for a specific floor of €8.30 for companies that continue to benefit from an increased rate of short-term working allowance due to the COVID-19-related health crisis. This same minimum allowance of €8.30 also benefits employers who have implemented long-term working (APLD) in their company.

31 May 2021

The government is empowered, by the law of 31 May 2021 (see source section), to issue orders 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 short-working scheme and long-term short-working scheme (APLD).

Use of measure

In June 2021, the last month for which estimates are available, 230,000 employees would have benefited from APLD (50,000 FTEs). The industrial sectors, in particular transport equipment manufacturing companies, account for half of the employees on APLD. Transport companies, especially air transport companies, account for about 20%.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Workers in essential services
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Companies
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

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

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

Social partners were consulted on the content of the draft decree which was design by the government.

Views and reactions

Globally social partners support this scheme.

Sources

  • 17 June 2020: Loi n° 2020-734 du 17 juin 2020 relative à diverses dispositions liées à la crise sanitaire, à d'autres mesures urgentes ainsi qu'au retrait du Royaume-Uni de l'Union européenne (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 28 July 2020: Décret n° 2020-926 du 28 juillet 2020 relatif au dispositif spécifique d'activité partielle en cas de réduction d'activité durable (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 (1) (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 29 September 2021: Décret n° 2021-1252 du 29 septembre 2021 portant modification du taux horaire minimum de l'allocation d'activité partielle et de l'allocation d'activité partielle spécifique en cas de réduction d'activité durable (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 29 September 2021: Activité et conditions d’emploi de la main-d’œuvre pendant la crise sanitaire Covid-19 (dares.travail-emploi.gouv.fr)
  • 16 March 2022: Questions-réponses AP/APLD dans le contexte du conflit en Ukraine (travail-emploi.gouv.fr)
  • 16 March 2022: Plan de résilience économique et sociale (www.gouvernement.fr)
  • 08 April 2022: Décret n° 2022-508 du 8 avril 2022 relatif au dispositif spécifique d'activité partielle en cas de réduction d'activité durable (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 13 April 2022: Ordonnance n° 2022-543 du 13 avril 2022 portant adaptation des dispositions relatives à l'activité réduite pour le maintien en emploi (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)
  • 02 May 2022: Circulaire "questions-réponses" sur l’activité partielle de longue durée (travail-emploi.gouv.fr)
  • 05 May 2022: Questions - réponses "Activité partielle de longue durée (APLD)" (travail-emploi.gouv.fr)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Long term short-working scheme, measure FR-2020-27/1030 (measures in France), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/FR-2020-27_1030.html

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