Partial activity: what conditions?

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From 1 March 2021, partial activity and long-term partial activity have undergone some changes. The support schemes for maintaining employment have been extended for the coming months, until 31 December 2021. Thus, for partial activity, decree No. 2020-325 of 25 March 2020 are added new ordinances and decrees. These review the conditions of partial activity, including the rate of state support. In addition, the long-term partial activity (APLD) reinforces the Plan France Relance. State coverage is less but spread over a much larger period. These two devices allow each company to choose the formula that best suits its economic situation.

The classic conditions of the exceptional partial unemployment scheme

The exceptional partial activity scheme is open to all companies, regardless of size or industry. Its aim is toavoid economic layoffs,especially in times of crisis. Similarly, for the employer, it is a way to retain his talents and skills so that he can resume the activity as soon as the situation allows.

Thus, partial activity makes it possible to reduce the working time of employees or to temporarily close the establishment, entirely or partially. All this without reducing and eliminating the remuneration of employees. In this context, the State covers at least 60% of the employee’s gross previous remuneration. This coverage is valid up to a salary of 4.5 SMIC. (1)

With the partial activity, the employer normally pays its employees for each hour worked. The allowance only covers hours not worked.

For employees subject to a minimum hourly SMIC, the floor of the cover is at least 8.11 euros per hour. For others, i.e. apprentices, for example, they can also benefit from the scheme, but on the basis of their usual remuneration.

In March, conditions for access to partial activity hardened. It can now be granted for up to 3 months. This partial activity authorization can be renewed only once over a slippery 12-month period.

partial unemployment covid company
The exceptional partial activity scheme remains open to all companies in need by March 2021.

However, for some sectors and companies whose activity is particularly small, the State increases its coverage to 70% of gross salary.

Conditions and rates of allowances for summer 2021

In the spring, a new decree is planned. Thus, it provides, for companies under ordinary law, an allocation rate set at 52% for the month of June 2021, then at 36% from 1 July 2021.

For companies in protected sectors (H1 and S1a), the allocation rate plus 70% is extended until 30 June 2021. This rate is reduced to 60% for the month of July 2021, to 52% for the month of August 2021 and to 36% as of September 1, 2021.

For companies closed administratively due to the health crisis, those located in a reconfined territory, and those in the most affected sectors that continue to have a sharp decline in turnover, the allowance rate increased by 70% is extended until October 31, 2021.

Partial activity for sectors particularly impacted by the health crisis

With coverage of 70% of the employee’s gross previous earnings, the employee receives about 84% of his net salary. The other conditions don’t change. Thus, the minimum wage is always 8.11 euros per hour; and partial activity is worth up to 4.5 SMIC.

This additional support applies to businesses in the tourism, hospitality, catering, sports, culture, people transport and events sectors. On the other hand, for employers whose activity derives from these sectors, the short-time working allowance remains at 60%. (1)

In addition, there are some details for specific cases. Institutions closed administratively until 30 June 2021; those on a ski resort losing at least 50% of their turnover as a result of the closure of the ski lifts; or companies in protected sectors with a drop in revenue of at least 80%, can benefit from the partial activity covered at 70%.

The particular case of the partial activity of seasonal and intermittent workers in the show

For the summer, the State encourages companies, especially tourism and catering professionals, to recruit. However, if the opening of businesses cannot be done because of the health situation, it includes seasonal workers in the beneficiaries of the partial activity scheme. This system also applies to professionals who have not signed a new employment contract this year because of Covid, but who had worked in the company the previous two years. The set is currently valid for the months of April, May and June.

The intermittents of the show benefit from the same conditions as the seasonal workers for this time of year. The government has not given official information for the moment, concerning a renewal of the device for July and August.

Differences and operation of the long-term partial activity valid in March 2021

Long-term partial activity or APLD provides access to a smaller reduction in working time, but over a much longer period of time. Its implementation is the result of an enterprise agreement or an industry agreement. Thus, the reduction in working time cannot exceed 40% over the total duration of the agreement. (2)

The list of branch agreements can be found on the Ministry of Labour website.

business management partial unemployment covid
Long-term partial activity is flexible from month to month.

This long-term partial activity can take up to 36 months, up to 24 consecutive months or interrupted. It therefore allows the working time to be adapted to fluctuations in activity. As such, it adds to the panoply of economic measures against Covid-19.

The floor of the allowance increases from 7.30 to 8.11 € euros for this device. As with traditional partial unemployment, it is not valid for employees not subject to the SMIC. Again, the LDPA applies within the 4.5 SMIC limit.

In the context of the long-term partial activity, the employee receives 70% of his gross remuneration. The employer receives an allowance of 60% of gross hourly earnings. However, if the amount of the conventional partial activity allowance would be higher than that of the LDPA, it may be increased.

Figures for partial activity in New Aquitaine

Between 1 March 2020 and 24 February 2021, more than one million employees were or are affected by the partial activity in New Aquitaine (3). These figures have a strong impact on the region’s labour market. In fact, in one year, the number of employees who are partially unemployed, as well as the number of overtime hours, only increase. By comparison, in April 2020, 95,109 establishments applied for partial activity. This represented 804,882 employees. As of February 2021, there were 122,493 companies for 1,066,318 employees. In terms of the number of hours not worked, they almost doubled.

As a result, in the private sector, more than 7 out of 10 employees are partially unemployed in half of the departments of New Aquitaine. The Landes peaked at 76.6%.

economic activity agriculture covid
Agriculture is the sector of activity with the least use of partial activity.

The figures for partial activity remain very sparse by sector. Thus, they are almost 100% for catering and hotels; 95% in construction; 94% in aeronautics; 89% wood and paper industry; 85% the automobile… On the other hand, other sectors are doing better. Like agriculture with 23% partial unemployment, or information, finance, insurance and real estate with 43.8%.

Nevertheless, in April, following the episode of frost that caused damage, agricultural companies can place their employees in partial activity for “disaster or bad weather of an exceptional nature”. In this context, they benefit from the ordinary allowance rate, i.e. 60% of their gross remuneration. However, the increase in the allowance remains dedicated to companies directly affected by the consequences of Covid-19.


  1. Partial Activity Sheet – Partial Unemployment,Ministry of Labour
  2. Long-term partial activity (APLD) – France Relance, Ministry of Labour
  3. Partial activity: Discover the regional synthesis in numbers, DIRECCTE New Aquitaine
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