France plans to reduce working conditions in order to boost the activity

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PARIS (Reuters) – The French government presented on Wednesday plans to curb from October a program of short-time work put in place during the crisis of coronavirus to prevent the layoffs of a permanent mass.The update to the program comes at a time when France and other european countries which have put in place leave plans to save jobs ask how to encourage businesses to reinstate the workers, despite the economic outlook still fragile, while reducing the cost of public funds.

The companies had $ 7.8 million workers on leave or reduced hours to the end of the month of may, said last week the minister of Labour Muriel Penicaud.

From the 1st of October, workers will receive 60% of their gross salary to normal in the framework of the plan, against 70% currently, said the chairman Emmanuel Macron to employers and unions. During this time, the State will reimburse employers up to 60% of the cost, instead of 85% currently.

However, a company may not operate the leave arrangements existing only for a maximum period of six months. On Wednesday, the government has also introduced a new programme in the longer term, more generous to the employees and the company, but demanding commitments to safeguarding jobs.

The program will allow a business to reduce the work of an employee up to 40%. The workers will receive up to 70% of the gross salary for the period without employment, the State reimburses businesses up to 85% if the program is operated before October, and 80% thereafter.

The government has not specified how much would it cost reduction program of work extended to the Treasury.

The trade unions have largely welcomed the new arrangement. But the CGT and Force Ouvrière, of the extreme left, regretted that the guarantees of continued employment imposed during the period of reduced work are not binding beyond.

“Even if they will benefit from financial support, companies may still terminate employment at the end of it, which is somewhat of a paradox “, said to the press, the boss of the CGT, Philippe Martinez.

During this time, the time of workers spent on the job should be used for training, with the State assuming up to 80% of the costs.

Report Caroline Mulch; writing by Leigh Thomas; edited by Richard Lough and Leslie Adler

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