Law on short-time working and the job retention plan

26 Nov 2021


Dorothée David

The Law of 24 November 2021: 1. introducing a temporary exemption from article L. 511-5 of the Labour Code; 2. modifying the Labour Code, was published in Mémorial A no. 823 on 25 November 2021.

The main new points introduced by the Law are the following:

  • Increase in the number of hours eligible for short-time working

The maximum number of working hours that can be used and reimbursed by the Employment Fund for short-time working has been increased to 1,714 hours per calendar year and per full-time employee:

  • for businesses eligible for short-time working provisions for structural reasons,
  • provided that they are covered by a job retention plan:
    • combined with a fundamental restructuring strategy,
    • resulting from a tripartite sector-specific agreement between the social partners concerned and the Government and
    • which has been approved.

For part-time employees, the 1,714 hours are calculated on a pro rata basis (new article L. 511-5, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Labour Code).

Application for the year 2021: the provisions outlined above apply retroactively as of 1 January 2021, except for the requirement that the job retention plan has to be the result of a tripartite sector-specific agreement, which is not required for the period from 1 January 2021 until 31 December 2021.

The Law also specifies that employees who are on notice with a view to being dismissed are not eligible for short-time working (article L. 511-10, point 1, supplemented by the Law).

  • Required content and approval of the job retention plan

The Law now provides that any job retention plan must include a section designed to provide an accurate overview of the future development of the company in question, with a view to guaranteeing its sustainability in the short, medium and long term, particularly in relation to investments to be made with a view to the company’s future development (new article L. 513-3 para. 2 of the Labour Code).

In order to be approved, the job retention plan must now:

  • contain the mandatory section referred to above, as well as the purpose of the plan and a precise timeline,
  • be supported by a monitoring committee made up of representatives of the signatory parties,
  • provide a detailed, costed training programme.

If the job-retention plan provides for voluntary departures or reductions in the workforce, it must also provide for individual external support for the employees concerned (new article L. 513-3 (4), paras. 2 and 3 of the Labour Code).