Partial Activity: THE point of the DIRECCTE

The partial activity is being re-examined by THE DIRECCTE and the Government for the year 2021. After an exceptional year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,some sectors of activity are experiencing a significant decline in activity. In order to enable these companies to pass the milestone, the Government decided to make the system the “most protective system in Europe”, thanks in particular to Decree No. 2020-325 of 25 March 2020. This structural transformation of partial activity allows, in the long run, to continue to encourage the competitiveness of companies, and their resumption of activity.

Partial activity, employment support in exceptional situations

Partial activity is above all a tool to prevent economic layoffs in order to keep employees in employment… As well as their skills at the service of the company. This system is governed by the laws L.5122-1 and following, as well as R.5122-1 and following of the Labour Code. It supports employment during a decline in activity, or in exceptional situations. These include economic conditions, difficulties in supplying raw materials and energy, a transformation of the company… But also a disaster or bad weather of exceptional character, as well as any other circumstance of such an exceptional character. In these situations, a company then has access to the partial activity device. It can reach employees individually or collectively. Excluding independents, all structures can request their implementation.

Company team partial activity
Employees in partial eds may work, but below legal rates.

To do this, the employer contacts the DIRECCTE of its implementation department. For an exceptional situation such as the current pandemic, he then has 30 days from the placement in partial activity to apply. The use of the Request for Partial Activity Authorization (DAP) is relaxed through Decree No. 2020-325 of March 25, 2020. If an application does not receive a decision, after 15 days, it is worth acceptance. This directive has been included in Article R.5122-4 of the Labour Codesince 1 October 2020. Currently, and until 31 December 2020, the employee in partial employment receives 70% of his previous gross salary at least. From 1 January 2021, it will be 60% minimum, within the limit of 4.5 SMIC. The employer is free to increase the rate of compensation, above the established rates.

Use of the device, a controlled duration for companies

The use of partial activity allows employees to work below the legal hourly rate, following the decrease in activity observed. At the time of the first confinement in March 2020, 12 million employees were affected at that time. The duration of partial unemployment changes for 2021. Indeed, from 1 January 2021, the partial start-up authorization will be renewable for 3 months, within the limit of 6 months, for a period of 12 consecutive months. On the other hand, partial activity before 31 December 2020 is not counted within 6 months. The only exception is that the demand for partial activity initiated in 2020 is also running in 2021. In the event of proven fraud, a company receives penalties. This can range from the payment of aid improperly received by the employer, criminal sanctions… As well as a five-year ban on receiving public aid.

Partial activity can also be beneficial for employees, as well as for the employer. Unworked periods are used to train and develop skills. Thanks to the agreement between OPCO and DIRECCTE, employees can then carry out a competency check, training, or validation of the experience. The Personal Training Credit is mobilizing in the autonomous direct purchase route with funding from the Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC). A hand extended to the next, so that all companies can resume an activity serenely…


  1. FAQ COVID-19 – Partial Activity – Partial Unemployment,Ministry of Labour, updated November 9, 2020
  2. Decree No. 2020-325 of March 25, 2020 relating to partial activity,Decree Legislation of March 25, 2020
  3. Law L5122-1 of the Labour Code, Legislation
  4. Law R.5122-1 of the Labour Code, Legislation.
  5. FICHE Employees employed by a foreign company that does not have an establishment in France,Ministry of Labour
  6. Apply online,Services and Payment Agency, Platform for Partial Activity
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