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Employers in France should prepare for 11 May now: how?

Written by
Capstan Avocats, the law firm setting the benchmark for labour law in France.
In view of President Macron’s announcement that confinement measures in France will be gradually removed from 11 May, this article examines how should employers prepare for renewed activity.

The President of the Republic has just announced the probable end of the confinement for 11 May. Recovery will be gradual. All individuals and sectors of activity will not be immediately affected (the elderly and the frail, the catering and cultural sectors will be excluded in particular). However, the majority of businesses authorised to operate should resume ‘normal’ activity from 11 May.

How to prepare for the resumption of activity in the workplace?

If the organisation has benefited from the partial activity scheme, the first question it needs to answer is whether its level of activity will be sufficient to resume its activity in whole or in part. Employees’ return to their place of work requires extremely important preparatory work on the part of businesses in any event.

What measures should be taken?

In accordance with its obligation to ensure safety in the workplace, the employer must make every effort and take all necessary measures to deal with the risks associated with the resumption of professional activity in the workplace in the context of the current health crisis.

Employer must update their Single Risk Assessment Document (DUER) and assess the specific risks related to the health crisis and the continuation or resumption of activity in a context of a gradual end of containment measures.

To do this, employers must take into account the recommendations that will be released by the Government and the social partners in the coming days, but also those that have already been introduced by the ANACT and the DGT.

In particular, employers must make sure that barrier gestures and rules of social distancing are respected:

  • spacing of at least 1 metre between each employee;
  • absence of direct contact with customers;
  • adaptating work organisation (such as a rota for telework, changes in working hours, alternating teams, etc.);
  • reinforced cleaning of workstations and workplaces;
  • recommending employees clean hands very regularly and providing hand sanitiser;
  • limiting the grouping of employees in small spaces (e.g. by closing cloakrooms, supervised access to catering areas, etc.);
  • inviting employees experiencing symptoms to request an immediate work stoppage, get tested and to inform the company.


Employers must keep the Social and Economic Committee (CSE) and employees informed based on the update of its DUER, in the coming weeks. In certain cases, particularly where major changes in working conditions are needed, consultation with the CSE may be necessary.

All of these actions can be integrated into an overall plan for resumption or continuation of activity.

Employers only have a few weeks left to put in place and promote conditions for harmonious resumption of activity that will ensure the health and safety of employees and renewed economic activity in the country.

More than ever, the challenge for employers must be to encourage constructive social dialogue, to obtain strong commitment from employees and to ensure they avoid any lack of confidence in the organisation (which could manifest in legal actions, exercise of employees’ right of withdrawal, increase in the use of sick leave, etc.).

Aurélien Louvet
Partner - France
Capstan Avocats