French health pass mandatory for 1.8 million workers from today

The rule affects staff who have contact with customers in venues requiring the public to show a health pass such as restaurants, cafes and cinemas

30 August 2021

From today, 1.8 million workers in public-facing roles will have to show a valid health pass to be able to work. Pic: DELBO ANDREA / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

Around 1.8 million French workers will from today (August 30) have to show a valid health pass (pass sanitaire) in order to work.

This new obligation applies to all employees, temporary workers and volunteers who have contact with customers in establishments where members of the public are also required to show a health pass. 

Read more: Checklist: Where and when should I use the French Covid health pass?

This includes restaurants, bars, cinemas, concert halls, museums, galleries, festivals, swimming pools, zoos, theme parks and long distance transports such as TGV trains.

The full list can be found on the French government website

In addition to the health pass requirement, over 1.5 million people employed in healthcare, the fire service and the gendarmerie must be fully vaccinated by September 15.

Teachers are not affected by this rule, although they are expected to have to show their health pass to take part in extracurricular activities such as trips to museums, depending on whether the general public is admitted at the same time.

Delivery drivers and emergency maintenance workers are also exempt, as well as staff in eating establishments such as office canteens and hotel breakfast services. 

Finally, employees who are under 18 will also be allowed to work without a health pass until September 30, after which it will also become mandatory for them. 

Employees coming to work without a valid health pass will be subject to a range of measures, from temporary unpaid suspension to transferral to a different role within the business.

In theory, an employer cannot dismiss a member of staff for not showing a health pass, but Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne has also said that “employees should not assume that there will not be dismissals.”

Those using a fake health pass will face a fine of €135 to €3,750, and a prison sentence of up to six months.

However, the government has said that there will be a certain level of “flexibility” observed while workers get used to the new rules.  

Related stories 

Millions of workers will need a French health pass from August 30

Health pass no longer required at 14 shopping centres in Île-de-France

Covid France: Fourth wave set to peak but new autumn lockdown unlikely

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