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Short-time work system may benefit to expatriated employees repatriated to France, but not to seconded employees

until recently it was uncertain whether all employees could benefit from short-time work


Short-time work has been massively used by companies that were no longer able to run their business as usual, due to Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdown measures. 

Short-time work system enables companies to provide employees with an indemnity in lieu of compensation during the periods of reduction or temporary stoppage of work.
However, until recently, it was uncertain whether all employees could benefit from short-time work, and in particular expatriated and seconded employees. 

But the French Labor Ministry provided on April 22, 2020 further indication concerning these two categories of employees in its Q&A. 

Expatriated employees having a French employment contract but working outside France are not eligible to short-time work. French Labor Ministry justifies it by the fact that, in this case, French Labor Administration would not able to verify the decline of business on sites located abroad.

However, expatriated employees working outside France with a local employment contract but who are repatriated by their French employer can benefit from short-time work, as follows: 

  • If the expatriated employee is redeployed on a position in the company located in France and that other employees in his service do benefit from short-time work, he should be treated as his colleagues and, consequently, benefit from short-time work; 
  • If the expatriated employee is not immediately redeployed in France, the French company can ask for the placement of this employee on short-time work until he is redeployed or until he can return abroad. It being said, French Labor Ministry underlines that priority must be given to redeployment clauses rather than to short-time work: in order to benefit from short-time work for these employees, the company will have to justify that it is not able to redeploy the employee. 

On the contrary, employees from foreign entities seconded to France cannot benefit from short-time work. Indeed, a seconded employee remains under the social security legislation of the sending State, so that he remains affiliated to his original social security scheme. Where applicable, the seconded employee may benefit from support mechanisms provided for in his home country. 

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