The sudden shutdown of the economy following the decision to lockdown has a disastrous effect on employment. To cope with this unprecedented crisis, the government opened wide the floodgates of short-time working, a tool used in small doses since the 1970s and activated during the 2009 crisis. Concretely, the State is taking charge of the largest part of wages by reimbursing employers up to 84% of net wages (100% at minimum wage) up to 4.5 minimum wage, which covers more than 95% of employees.
To make life easier for companies hit hard by the suddenness of the containment measures, the services of the Ministry of Labor have 48 hours (14 days in normal times) to process the files. If the administration does not respond within this period, the request is considered accepted. A sign that the period is exceptional, the scheme also concerns temporary workers, home employees, seasonal workers in ski resorts, childminders, etc. The executive has learned the lessons of the 2009 crisis: a decade ago, despite Nicolas Sarkozy’s efforts to reform partial unemployment, France remained a small player against Germany which had spent some 10 billion euros between 2007 and 2010, ten times more than France.