Bill on the compulsory Covid Check scheme in businesses

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Date:
14 Dec 2021

Newsflash

By:
Dorothée David

Bill No. 7924 on measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, submitted to the Chamber of Deputies on 4 December 2021, was the subject of government amendments on 9 December 2021.

According to the amended version of the Bill currently under discussion, the following main measures would apply:

1. As of 19 December 2021 (or an earlier date when the Bill would come into force, which will be specified in a Newsflash if applicable):

The Covid Check scheme would remain an option for employers until 14 January 2022 inclusive.

 - If the Covid Check scheme is applied in all or part of the company, workers would need to have one of the following certificates to enter the area under the Covid Check scheme:

  • vaccination certificate, or
  • recovery certificate, or
  • certificate of a negative PCR test in the last 48 hours, or of a negative rapid antigen test from the last 24 hours, or
  • a vaccination exemption certificate, accompanied by a negative test certificate (PCR in the last 48 hours or rapid antigen in the last 24 hours) or a negative result from a self-test to be carried out on site.

- To make checking easier, the employer would be able to keep a list of vaccinated or recovered employees, in accordance with certain conditions which would mean such a list complies with GDPR (voluntary registration, list containing only the name of the person and the period of validity of the certificate, option to withdraw from the list at any time without needing to give a reason, limited period for which the list is valid and kept etc.).

2. From 15 January 2022 until 28 February 2022: 

All employees, public servants and self-employed individuals would be required to produce one of the certificates referred to in point 1 at their place of work.

- This obligation should be overseen by the employer or another person appointed by the employer. The option to keep a list of vaccinated or recovered employees to make the checks easier would still apply under the conditions referred to in point 1.

- The ITM would monitor compliance with these obligations by employers and employees:

  • access to the workplace in breach of the obligation to present a certificate would be punishable by a fine of between 500 and 1,000 Euros.
  • an employer’s failure to comply with its obligation to check would be punishable by a fine of 4,000 Euros.

- If somebody refuses or cannot present a certificate, the employee, public servant or self-employed individual would not have the right to access their workplace.

- In this case, the employee, subject to the employer’s agreement, could take time of as statutory or contractual recreational leave. A public servant who does not have recreational leave could use their time-saving account.

- If the employer does not agree to this or if the employee does not want to use their leave, they would automatically lose the proportion of their wages corresponding to the hours not worked.

- In this case, the period of unpaid absence would be considered as actual work when calculating paid leave and years’ service. The employee would remain affiliated with the social security system. The Bill specifies the conditions for the assumption of responsibility and compensation for social security contributions.

- Failure to present a valid certificate and consequent absence from work would not constitute grounds for dismissal or disciplinary sanction. Any termination of the employment contract to the contrary would be null and void.

- If an employee is unable to present a certificate, they would not be eligible for short-time working, as an exemption from art. L-511-19 of the Labour Code.

- The employer could decide that access by anybody from outside the company is also subject to the obligation to present one of the certificates stipulated by the law. Access to and the continuity of public services would need to continue to be guaranteed.

This information is provided for information purposes only and is subject to change. We are still waiting for the final version of the law to be enacted, and a Newsflash will be published about that when it happens.