The corrective finance bill provides for an extension of 3.2 billion euros this year for partial activity. Enough to cover between 2 and 2.5 million full-time equivalent employees in November. That is to say much more than in September, but less than during the first confinement.
Like Muriel Pénicaud, whom she replaced as Minister of Labor, will Elisabeth Borne run radio or television to reveal the updated number of employees in partial activity each week of confinement? Probably not, this second opus of the pause of the economy not having the magnitude of the first.
The reconfinement is not neutral, however: the extension of 3.2 billion euros provided for in the fourth amending finance bill under consideration in Parliament has been cut to cover between 2 and 2.5 million full-time equivalent (FTE) employees in November, between 4 and 4.5 times the workforce in September, we learned from corroborating sources. Or between 9 and 11 out of 100 employees, still in FTE!
Very little used before the crisis, partial activity – more commonly known as partial unemployment – has become a safe haven for companies wanting to contain layoffs as much as possible. For this, the government of Edouard Philippe had opened the floodgates wide, before reducing public generosity a little, before the recent evolution of the epidemic forced that of Jean Castex to postpone from November 1 to January 1. a reduction in salary reimbursement rates (the remainder payable by the employer remains at a maximum of 15%).
Return in May / June
The evolution of the number of employees placed for even one hour in a given month in partial activity logically followed that of the activity: 7 million in March, 8.6 million in April (the peak), 7.2 million in May to fall to 1.1 million in September, the latest official figure from the Dares, the Statistics Department of the Ministry of Labor. Or, taking into account the number of “non-working” hours covered by a claim for compensation: 2.2 million, 5.6 million, 3 million and 0.5 million full-time equivalents, respectively.
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To estimate the number of employees placed in partial activity in November due to the second confinement, the state services proceeded in concentric circles. They started with the sectors directly affected: both for establishments open to the public, for retail, for hotels, cafes and restaurants, as well as for the arts, entertainment and culture. They then added the workforce of the sectors indirectly affected, all without omitting the remainder of September.
With between 2 and 2.5 million FTEs in November, we would therefore return to the situation that prevailed between May and June. For December, everything will obviously depend on a possible deconfinement, knowing that the extension of 3.2 billion has been budgeted for the last two months of the year. As a reminder, it is in addition to the 31 billion already planned, Unédic having to assume a third of the bill without additional resources. For 2021, 7.6 billion are planned at this stage for the partial activity of common law and of long duration, the variant cut out for healthy companies but facing a big air gap in their load plan.