More than 10 million employees in France – one in two in the private sector – were laid off when the coronavirus closed and now benefit from an extensive compensation program to cope with the crisis, the government announced on Wednesday .
“Today in France, there are 10.2 million employees whose salaries are paid by the state,” Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud told BFM.
About 820,000 employers, or more than six in ten, have applied for a social security program that provides 84% of net wages to workers temporarily laid off due to declining business, a number that is increasing “day by day”, a she explained. said.
“It is a huge number, we have never done anything like this in our country,” she said.
President Emmanuel Macron has promised that “no business will be left at risk of bankruptcy” when corporate closings and general home support orders implemented on March 17 were announced.
Last week, his government increased its economic assistance program to 110 billion euros ($ 120 billion) and extended the temporary layoff program to people who employ nannies or housekeepers who can no longer come to work. .
Penicaud said entire sectors of the economy were effectively shut down, with nine out of ten workers in hotels and restaurants as well as construction workers now unemployed.
“We see how important it will be to get back to work after childbirth,” which the government plans to start lifting on May 11, said Penicaud.
“The longer this crisis lasts, the more difficult it will be afterwards. “
Also on Wednesday, head of state investment bank BPIFrance said nearly 40 billion euros in government-backed, low-rate emergency loans had been made to businesses amid the crisis. coronaviruses – an average of 140,000 euros to some 251,000 companies.
“It is almost certain that we will exceed 100 billion euros,” Nicolas Dufourcq told RTL radio.
But corporate groups have warned that even with loans and financial relief such as late payment of payroll taxes and other charges, thousands of small and medium-sized businesses could go bankrupt this year.