17 October 2022

Employers: you can use short-time work due to fuel shortage


Questions and answers from the French Ministry of Labor concerning partial activity

While many gas stations are still under pressure, the French Ministry of Labor updated its Q&A on partial activity on October 12th. It now states that companies can apply for the benefit of this measure due to the fuel supply difficulties caused by the blockage of refineries and fuel depots, which began on September 27 th.

Warning: companies requesting the benefit of partial activity must be able to justify that their activity is “directly and strongly affected by fuel supply difficulties”.

Companies have 30 days, from the date of the placement of employees in partial activity, to send their request for authorization to the French Administration. The request must be supported by evidence demonstrating “the existence of a direct link between the drop in their activity and the difficulties in supplying fuel”. If they fail to do so, companies run the risk of their request being refused; they will then have to fully maintain their employees’ remuneration.

The first sectors of activity concerned by this new measure are obviously those whose main activity is based on the use of vehicles: we are thinking in particular of transport companies (for goods as well as people) or driving schools for example.

However, it is unfortunate that the French Ministry of Labor has not provided any details concerning the fate of companies whose activity does not depend on the use of fuel, but whose employees are unable to get to their place of work. Can these companies legitimately place their absent employees in partial activity? In case of a negative answer of the French Administration, the sanction for the employees is irrevocable; as it is an unauthorized absence, they will not be paid.