Covid-19: New compensation rules for vulnerable employees and employees at home for childcare

Covid-19: New compensation rules for vulnerable employees and employees at home for childcare

Current situation: a derogatory sick leave for some categories of employees

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of schools and host institutions, a derogatory system of sick leave has been implemented for employees for whom the company has not been able to organize remote working, and who are unable to continue working for one of the reasons below:

  • A vulnerability which involves a risk of developing a serious form of the virus,
  • The necessity to take care of a vulnerable person living under the same roof,
  • The necessity of childcare for children younger than 16 years old or with disabilities.

This derogatory system involves the payment of a daily allowance paid by the French social security system and the payment of a complementary allowance paid by the employer, as from the first day of sick leave and with no condition of minimum seniority.

Under statutory requirements, the payment of these two allowances must ensure that employees on sick leave continue to be paid:

  • 90% of their gross salary during a first period of 30 days,
  • 66.66% of their gross salary for a second consecutive period of 30 days.
    It being specified that a Collective Bargaining Agreement can provide for more favorable rules.

New situation: An extension of the partial activity system (“furlough”) to these specific sick leave categories

With effect from May 1st, 2020, all employees on sick leave for one of the reasons listed above will be compensated through the partial activity system (known as “activité partielle” in French). This means that these employees will no longer be on sick leave and will stop receiving the indemnities related to this status. Consequently, it is no longer necessary to make a declaration of sick leave through the website “Ameli.fr”.

The employer will therefore have to declare them under the partial activity system according to the standard procedure, and they will receive the same compensation as all employees whose contract has been suspended because of a reduction of activity caused by the virus. To this purpose, the employer does not necessarily have to be covered under the partial activity scheme prior to applying for one or several employees on sick leave. This means that the employer does not have to face economic or financial difficulties due to the Covid-19, the case of employees on sick leave automatically giving entitlement to the partial activity scheme as of May 1st.

. Consequently, the employees who are unable to work either because of a vulnerability, or because they have to care for a vulnerable person or children will stop receiving the sick leave allowances and in replacement, will receive at least 70% of their gross salary (approximately 84% of their net salary due to reduced social charges) for the duration or remaining duration of the sick leave, including sick leave that started before May 1st.
A Collective Bargaining Agreement can provide for a partial activity enhanced compensation rate. The employer may also decide to maintain a higher percentage of salary. It is to be noted that any employee who is paid the minimum statutory salary (i.e. “French SMIC” = €10.15 gross/hour) should receive 100% of his/her salary under the partial activity scheme.

For these new categories of employees on sick leave to be declared under the partial activity system, the employer will also have the possibility to request from the French Government a compensatory allowance equal to 70% of employees’ gross salary, within the limit of €31,98 per unworked hour.

This measures therefore aims to benefit both employees who will receive a higher salary during these types of sick leaves and employers who will have not have to bear the cost of the employee’s salary during the sick leave.

Helen Abruzzino

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