Coronavirus: temporary exemption from maximum working hours

03 Nov 2020


Eloïse Hullar

The Law of 29 October 2020 introducing a temporary exemption from article L. 211-12 of the Labour Code (hereinafter the “Law”) was published in Mémorial A no. 868 of 29 October 2020 and came into force the same day.

The Law provides that, as an exemption from article L. 211-12 of the Labour Code, maximum working hours can be increased to twelve hours a day and sixty hours a week.

This exemption only relates to:

  • employees working in the health sector, including in hospital establishments and medical testing laboratories;
  • employees working in the care sector, and;
  • supervisory staff working in care homes for minors who are in custody (under a “mesure de garde”).

If an employer would like to benefit from the working hours exemption they must apply for authorisation from the Minister of Labour.

In order to be eligible, this application must include the following:

  • the maximum number of working hours requested per day and, if applicable, per week;
  • the total number of employees working for the applicant;
  • the number of employees affected by the exemption;
  • the reason for using these exemptions within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic;
  • notification from the staff representative (if there is no staff representative, the Minister of Labour requests notification from unions that can prove that they represent the country in general, which must be submitted within twelve hours of the application being sent).

The ministerial authorisation is only valid as long as the Law is in force (i.e.: until 31 December 2020 inclusive).