March 20, 2020
France has banned all firing temporarily and has extended unemployment benefits to those who are employed yet unable to work due to the crisis.
The details remain unclear, writes journalist John Lichfield in a special edition of the BEERG Global Labor Newsletter. “Will the ban on firing be enshrined by decree? Or is it just a moral pressure on businesses while they are eligible for massive state aid? As I understand it, the government will refuse systematically all company applications for permanent redundancies under existing employment law. Whether individual sackings for specific reasons will also be frozen remains uncertain.”
Several other measures were introduced in addition to the firing ban, including financial measures to help businesses, postponing municipal elections, and installing remote working requirements.
“We are at war,” French President Emmanuel Macron announced in an address to the nation announcing the measures. His plans to reform the state pension system and unemployment pay will be suspended and are unlikely to return in the final two years of his mandate.