European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

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-2021-1/1906 Updated – measures in France

Exceptional assistance to cover up to ten days of paid leave

Aide exceptionnelle afin de prendre en charge dix jours maximum de congés payés

Country France , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 January 2021 – 07 March 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Working time flexibility
Author Frédéric Turlan (IRshare) and Eurofound
Measure added 16 May 2021 (updated 30 July 2021)

Background information

A decree of 30 December organises the payment of exceptional aid to cover a maximum of ten days of paid leave for employees on short-time working (activité partielle) in the companies most severely affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. This aid aims to reduce the number of days of paid leave accumulated by employees due to their placement in short-time working, particularly in the hotel and restaurant industry. It should be remembered that an employee who takes paid leave during a period of short-time working is not entitled to compensation for short-time working. Moreover, the paid leave allowance, which is paid in accordance with ordinary law, is not covered by the short-time working benefit.

Content of measure

Conditions of eligibility for aid

Companies whose main activity involves receiving the public are eligible for exceptional aid. This aid is granted only when the regulatory or individual measures taken to deal with the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic have resulted in:

  • either a ban on receiving the public for a total period of at least 140 days between 1 January and 31 December 2020;
  • or a reduction in turnover during the periods in which the state of health emergency was declared, of at least 90% compared to that achieved during the same periods in 2019.

Another condition is that the maximum ten days of leave covered must be taken between 1 and 20 January 2021. The decree specifies that this aid does not apply to employees whose paid leave compensation is guaranteed by a paid leave fund.

Amount of the exceptional aid

The amount of the exceptional aid is determined for each employee and within the limit of ten days of leave taken. Its hourly rate is calculated on the basis of an amount corresponding to 70% of the paid leave allowance, reduced to an hourly rate. It is limited by a ceiling of 4.5 times the hourly rate of the SMIC and a floor set at €8.11 (net hourly SMIC as of 1 January 2021). To calculate the amount of aid, this hourly rate is multiplied by the number of hours normally worked during the paid leave period. Each day of paid leave is therefore converted into a number of hours corresponding to the usual daily working time for the employee or, if this time cannot be determined, seven hours of work.

As a result of this calculation, the amount of aid is equivalent to that of the short-time activity allowance normally granted to employers. On the other hand, the leave allowance is paid in full to employees on holiday. However, the amount is higher than that of the short-time working allowance, which means that the employer has to pay the difference between the short-time activity allowance (70% of the salary) and the paid leave allowance (100% of the salary).

It applies to private sector employers particularly affected by the COVID-19 crisis.


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

20 January 2021

The period during which exceptional aid may be granted to companies that have closed or considerably reduced their activity due to the health crisis, in order to cover ten days of paid leave, has been extended to 7 March by a decree of 20 January. The latter sets a specific condition for holidays taken between 1 February and 7 March 2021: the aid is reserved for employers who have placed one or more employees in a short-time working position during this period.

Use of measure

No assessment available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Other businesses
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
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:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Company level


The works council has to informed when the employer want to use this measure.

Views and reactions

Not available.


  • 30 December 2020: Décret n° 2020-1787 du 30 décembre 2020 relatif à l'aide exceptionnelle accordée aux entreprises accueillant du public au titre des congés payés pris par leurs salariés entre le 1er et le 20 janvier 2021 (
  • 20 January 2021: Décret n° 2021-44 du 20 janvier 2021 relatif à l'aide exceptionnelle accordée aux entreprises accueillant du public au titre des congés payés pris par leurs salariés (


Eurofound (2021), Exceptional assistance to cover up to ten days of paid leave, measure FR-2021-1/1906 (measures in France), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

30 January 2023


Measures to lessen the impact of the inflation and energy crisis on citizens

Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.


12 September 2022


First responses to cushion the impact of inflation on citizens

Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


12 September 2022


Policies to support EU companies affected by the war in Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.


5 July 2022


Policies to support refugees from Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses of EU Member States, including those of the social partners and other civil society actors, enabling refugees to exercise their rights under the Temporary Protection Directive.


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