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France: companies that do not put teleworking into practice will be penalized

Kiosk 360. The French government, which recently announced new restrictive measures to combat covid-19, is planning administrative fines that will target companies reluctant to telework. This article is a press review of the newspaper Le Figaro.

Faced with the surge in cases of covid-19 contamination in France, the government announced on December 27 several measures, including teleworking at least three days a week for companies whose sector of activity allows it.

Lefigaro.fr, who returns to this measure, reports in one of his recent publications that during a videoconference meeting with the social partners on December 28, the Minister of Labor, Élisabeth Borne, went back on this turn of the screw and has announced a new measure. The minister has indeed indicated that administrative fines will target companies reluctant to telework.

Lefigaro.fr stresses that these fines should be enshrined in law through an amendment to the bill strengthening the tools for managing the health crisis. We learn that the objective is to put in place more dissuasive and faster sanctions (of an administrative nature), but also, to create a dissuasive effect for companies which would hesitate to place their employees in telework.

“When companies do not play the game today, it involves criminal penalties. It is long and, to simplify this, administrative sanctions will be proposed. The idea is to put it in place for companies that do not really play the telecommuting game, not when there is a disagreement on a particular function in a department ”, explained one of the participants in the meeting. , quoted by the newspaper.

It should be noted that a new version of the health protocol will be published by Thursday. It will include an obligation to telework 3 days per week on average for positions that allow it, for three weeks, from January 3.

Lefigaro.fr explains however that in practice, the protocol in question is not really binding in the purely legal sense, insofar as it is not enshrined in the law. “For the government, it is an emanation of the need to protect the health of employees which is in the labor code and is imposed on employers. But the protocol is, as the Council of State specifies in a decision of December 20, 2020, only a set of recommendations ”, we note.

It should also be noted that the government cannot make teleworking compulsory in a company without having a bill tabled in order to obtain a modification of the legal provisions. For Alexandra Abadie, national secretary of the CGT-TEFP, the first union of labor inspection agents, Elisabeth Borne’s announcement shows that the ministry is aware of the inadequacy of current measures, explains the newspaper, adding however, the CGT-TEFP would have preferred that the inspectors could suspend the activity of a company in the event of failure to meet its obligations concerning teleworking, as they can do for other risks.

The newspaper points out that the Ministry of Labor has shown its willingness to accelerate the controls of the labor inspectorate, with the aim of achieving 5,000 per month in the coming weeks.


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