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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-2020-27/1836 Updated – measures in France

Exceptional aid for the recruitment of work-study students

Aides exceptionnelles à l’embauche d’alternants

Country France , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 July 2020 – 31 December 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Active labour market policies (enhancing employability, training, subsidised job creation, etc.)
Author Frédéric Turlan (IRshare) and Eurofound
Measure added 10 April 2021 (updated 16 September 2022)

Background information

The third amending finance law for the year 2020 (L. No. 2020-935 of 30 July 2020, Art. 76) introduced hiring aid intended to limit the effects of the health crisis on the number of people taking up work-study contracts. Its implementation procedures were defined by two decrees of 24 August 2020: one concerns hiring under a "professionalisation" contract (D. No. 2020-1084), the other concerns hiring under an apprenticeship contract (D. No. 2020-1085). This temporary aid is granted for the first year of performance of apprenticeship or professionalisation contracts concluded between 1 July 2020 and 28 February 2021 for a maximum amount of €5,000 for a minor and €8,000 for an adult.

Content of measure

Beneficiary companies The aid is open to all companies employing private law employees likely to sign an apprenticeship or "professionalisation" contract (private law companies, associations, public industrial and commercial establishments, etc.).

Excluded from the "normal" one-off aid for hiring apprentices, companies with 250 or more employees are eligible for this exceptional aid provided that they undertake to reach a certain threshold of alternating work-study students in their workforce by 2021. They must therefore reach a quota of 5% of alternating students in their workforce (or a lower rate while demonstrating an increase in the number of alternating students).

Beneficiaries All persons eligible for the apprenticeship contract are entitled to aid for the recruitment of work-study students.

  • The apprenticeship contract is aimed at young people aged 16 or over (15 if the young person has finished secondary school and reached 16 between the start of the school year and 31 December) and up to 29 years of age. However, an apprenticeship contract may be concluded with a person up to the age of 35 if he or she has already been in an apprenticeship and wishes to move on to a higher level of qualification, or if his or her previous contract was terminated for reasons beyond his or her control or because of unfitness. In addition, there is no age limit for concluding an apprenticeship contract with a disabled worker, a business creator/entrepreneur or a high-level sportsperson.
  • In the case of recruitment under a "professionalisation" contract, access to the aid is limited to a young public. In fact, it is only granted for the recruitment of employees aged under 30 on the date the contract is concluded.

Length of the scheme This scheme only covers apprenticeship or "professionalisation" contracts concluded between 1 July 2020 and 28 February 2021. But this aid has been extended (see update below).

Amount of the financial support The amount of aid for hiring work-study students varies according to the age of the employee and reaches:

  • €5,000 maximum for an employee under the age of 18. When the student reaches the age of majority, the aid will be increased to €8 000 from the first day of the month following his or her birthday;
  • €8,000 maximum for an employee aged 18 or over.

With this measure, the cost of recruiting an employee on a work-linked training scheme is considerably reduced. The aid covers almost 50% of the salary of a young person under 18 on a professionalisation contract and more than 65% for a young person between the ages of 18 and 20. The aid covers 100% of the salary of an apprentice under 21 years of age and 80% of the salary of an apprentice between 21 and 25 years of age.


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

29 June 2022

Two decrees of 29 June modify certain parameters of the various forms of aid currently granted by the State for the hiring of work-study students. The first extends the implementation of the exceptional aid for hiring work-study students and the increase in the one-off aid for hiring apprentices. The second opens, as of 1 July, the temporary aid for hiring certain jobseekers under a professionalisation contract to new groups.

Extensions of aid for young people until the end of the year

The first decree postpones from 30 June 2022 to 31 December 2022 the date on which both:

  • the temporary derogation to the amount of the one-off aid to employers of apprentices;
  • and the exceptional aid paid to employers of apprentices and employees under 30 years of age on a professionalization contract. Thus, any work-study contract concluded until 31 December 2022 and aiming at a certification not exceeding the level of Master's degree or Bac+5 will give entitlement to aid of a maximum of €5,000 if the work-study student is under 18 and a maximum of €8,000 if he or she is of age.

Adjustment of the aid targeting the long-term unemployed

The second decree modifies the €8,000 recruitment aid granted to employers who recruit long-term jobseekers on a professionalisation contract. Initially, this hiring aid was only to be paid to employers who hired long-term jobseekers aged 30 and over for contracts concluded between 1 November 2021 and 30 June 2022, and without any age condition for contracts concluded between 1 July 2022 and 31 December 2022. Because of the extension of the exceptional aid for hiring work-study students, the contracts concluded during this second period will also be reserved for jobseekers aged 30 or over.

31 March 2021

Decree n° 2021-363 of 31 March 2021 has extended the exceptional aid to end of 31 December 2021.

26 February 2021

Decree n° 2021-224 of 26 February 2021 has extended the exceptional aid to end of 31 March 2021.

Use of measure

According to the Ministry of Labour, nearly 1.3 million young people under 26 were hired on permanent or fixed-term contracts of more than three months between August and January this year, of which 340,000 have so far applied for aid. The cost between July 2020 and 31 March 2021 is estimated at €803 million.

However, the aid will not have been enough to maintain the level of hiring of young people. Thus, according to DARES, in February 2021, the hiring of young people under 26 on permanent and fixed-term contracts of more than three months was lower than in February 2019 and February 2020, by 10% and 19% respectively. For young people under 30 as a whole, the decline in hires is similar (-11% and -19% respectively compared to February 2019 and 2020).

Over the period August 2020 to February 2021, the number of cumulative hires reaches 1,399,000 for young people under 26 years of age on lasting contracts. This is 8% lower than the figure for the same period a year earlier. the same period a year earlier. The decline is 10% for young people under 30. (DARES, Situation sur le marché du travail pendant la crise sanitaire au 29 mars 2021).

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Other groups of workers
Youth (18-25) in employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Social partners are consulted to the measures before the government takes its final decision.

Views and reactions

This measure received the support of social partners, even some trade unions highlighted the risk of windfall effect.


  • 24 August 2020: Décret n° 2020-1084 du 24 août 2020 relatif à l'aide aux employeurs de salariés bénéficiaires d'un contrat de professionnalisation (
  • 24 August 2020: Décret n° 2020-1085 du 24 août 2020 relatif à l'aide aux employeurs d'apprentis (
  • 26 February 2021: Décret n° 2021-224 du 26 février 2021 portant attribution d'une aide exceptionnelle aux employeurs d'apprentis et de salariés en contrats de professionnalisation (
  • 31 March 2021: Décret n° 2021-363 du 31 mars 2021 portant modification et prolongation des aides à l'embauche des jeunes de moins de 26 ans, aux emplois francs et aux employeurs d'apprentis et de salariés en contrat de professionnalisation (
  • 29 June 2022: Décret n° 2022-957 du 29 juin 2022 modifiant le décret n° 2021-1404 du 29 octobre 2021 relatif à l'aide à l'embauche de certains demandeurs d'emploi en contrat de professionnalisation (
  • 29 June 2022: Décret n° 2022-958 du 29 juin 2022 portant prolongation de la dérogation au montant de l'aide unique aux employeurs d'apprentis et de l'aide exceptionnelle aux employeurs d'apprentis et de salariés en contrat de professionnalisation (


Eurofound (2021), Exceptional aid for the recruitment of work-study students, measure FR-2020-27/1836 (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.