The French act of March 23, 2020 (no. 2020-290) known as the "emergency act to deal with the Covid 19 epidemic" was enacted yesterday, March 24, 2020, in the French Official Journal.

The “state of health emergency” is declared for a period of two months and the government is authorized to take social measures by ordinance for three months.

The measures provided for in this law include better compensation for employers for the "partial activity" scheme (so-called “activité partielle”, i.e., short-time working or furloughing of employees), rest days (so-called “RTT”) imposed unilaterally by the employer, the positioning of paid leave by the employer (within the limit of six business days and subject to the conclusion of a company or collective labor agreement), greater flexibility in the works council consultation procedures (videoconferencing, shorter deadlines), changes in the dates of payment of mandatory and non-mandatory profit-sharing for companies.

Ordinances will be discussed on March 25 with the French Council of ministers and should then be issued quickly, it being specified that the Ministry of Labour has already started working on the aforementioned topics. For example, a draft decree on the "partial activity" scheme has been presented to the social partners, providing for better compensation for employers, the application of this scheme to employees working under a lump-sum agreement counting working time in days (so-called “forfait jours”), the possibility to consult the works council after the application has been submitted, etc.

We are therefore hoping that the text on partial activity will be adopted by the beginning of next week.