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New draft law introducing various urgent provisions to tackle the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic

Focus on the main employment legislation contained in the draft law


A second draft law containing various urgent measures to tackle the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic was adopted by the French Council of Ministers on 7 May 2020. This legislation supplements the measures taken on the basis of law no. 2020-293 of 23 March 2020.

Unlike the first enabling law of 23 March 2020, which presented itself as a crisis management law, this new legislation is clearly being implemented as part of the revival of economic activity, for which it aims to create favourable conditions.

Article 1 of the draft law authorises the government, within six months from its publication and for a period not exceeding six months from the end of the health emergency, to introduce a new series of measures via ordinances and coming into force, if necessary, from 12 March 2020, in order to:

  • amend the duration or the deadline for appointing the holder of any mandate, except for mandates resulting from political elections;
  • adjust the duration of the mandates of industrial tribunal advisers appointed after the renewal specified in point I of Article 2 of ordinance no. 2020-388 of 1 April 2020 and of the members of the inter-professional regional joint committees designated on the occasion of the renewal specified in Article 3 of the same ordinance, so as to preserve the correlation with the measurement cycles of trade union and employer representativity, as well as the interval separating the next two elections specified in Article L .2122-10-1 of the French Labour Code;
  • adapt the provisions relating to partial activity, particularly by adapting the system “to companies’ characteristics, to their business sector and to the categories of employees concerned” in order to support companies in a gradual return to the previous economic situation;
  • adapt provisions relating to “fixed-term contracts and temporary employment contracts, with regard to the duration of those contracts, their renewal and their replacement for the same position or the same employee”, by providing the option of temporarily derogating from them via the collective labour agreement, within the limits of a framework defined by law, in order to allow companies to quickly supply new labour needs to fulfil orders and market needs;
  • adapt provisions relating to “assisted employment contracts covered by integration, access and return to employment ” in order to secure routes to employment for vulnerable groups during periods of crisis;
  • derogate “from the provisions applicable to seasonal workers, particularly from the provisions applicable to holders of the multi-year seasonal worker residence permit referred to in Article L.313-23 of CESEDA (French legislation governing the entry and residence of foreigners and the right to asylum), present in France on 16 March 2020, in order to extend the authorised annual stay, up to a maximum of nine months, in respect of the current year.”

This draft law also allows the government to:

  • adapt, “until 31 December 2020, the terms and conditions of the not-for-profit lending of employees” to facilitate use of that option;
  • allow the employer “to unilaterally establish a discretionary profit-sharing scheme in a company with fewer than 11 employees without a union representative or elected member of the employee delegation on the social and economic committee” in order to promote the development of discretionary profit-sharing in small businesses;
  • allow, for employees placed in a position of partial activity “the constitution of pension rights in compulsory basic schemes in respect of the periods in question and the maintenance of supplementary social security protection guarantees potentially applicable within the company, notwithstanding any contrary clause in collective agreements or unilateral decisions and collective insurance policies taken for their application, for a period not exceeding six months from the end of the health emergency, as well as adaptation of the payment conditions and the tax and social security scheme for contributions payable by the employer in that respect”, in order to secure the social security rights of insured persons facing a period of short-time working and thereby avoid a potential breach of their rights;
  • adapt, “exceptionally, the methods for determining the allocation periods for replacement income specified in Article L.5421-2 of the French Labour Code from 1 March 2020” (and not from 12 March 2020 as provided for in Article 11 of the law of 23 March 2020);
  • modify “the rules for allocating the equivalent value of restaurant vouchers issued for 2020 and expired [in 2021], as specified in Article L.3262-5 of the French Labour Code, in order to contribute financing a support fund for restaurateurs”.

Draft ordinances implemented on the basis of these provisions are exempt from any compulsory consultation required by other legislation.

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