Working from home: France’s new employer rules

Since June 9, companies have only been allowed to ask staff to come in for a ‘minimal number of days per week’, but now companies will have the freedom to set their own requirements

31 August 2021
A woman sitting on a sofa at home working on a laptop, with a dog next to her

Work Minister Elisabeth Borne made the announcement on working from home rules, which come into force today Pic: MT-R / Shutterstock

By Hannah Thompson

Companies in France will no longer have to offer a certain number of days enabling staff to work from home, the work minister has said, in an end to the rules intended to contain the fourth wave of Covid.

Elisabeth Borne confirmed that the existing rules would come to an end today, August 31.

Previously, from June 9, companies were allowed to ask their staff to come back in to work for a ‘minimal number of days’ per week, with the remainder still worked at home.

Companies will now have the freedom to set their own rules when it comes to working from home, including requiring staff to come in every day.

Ms Borne told BFMTV: “[Unions] want us to give companies back the power to fix rules for home working, and no longer want us to have a minimum number of working-from-home days, which we are going to allow.”

It comes after the government polled unions and worker organisations on the issue last week. 

But secretary-general of the CGT union, Philippe Martinez, told Agence France-Presse that Ms Borne’s announcement was “contradictory”.

He said: “What does that mean? Can everyone can go back to work depending on the employer's unilateral decision? These contradictory announcements mean that there may be questions among citizens, and it is these questions that must be answered.”

Instead, he called for “a national framework valid for all companies".

Figures from the work ministry’s statistical research department, la Direction de l’Animation, de la Recherche, des Etudes et des Statistiques (Dares), show that working from home is becoming less common in France. 

It found that in July, "23% of employees worked from home for at least one day, two days fewer than in June and May, and four fewer than in April. Only 14% of employees worked from home every day of the week”.

It comes as Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire confirmed changes to the financial aid available for businesses hit by the Covid-19 crisis. 

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