Covid 19 France: Homeworkers and March pay

Special measures are in place for members of the public who employ someone in their French home for a regular service and whose employee could not work all their hours in March due to Covid-19.

1 April 2020
Many cleaners who usually work in the home of a member of the public will have been obliged to stop work
By Oliver Rowland

So-called particuliers employeurs, who employ people for work such as gardening, cleaning or childcare using the Cesu or Pajemploi systems are being invited to take advantage of financial aids to help with disruptions last month.

These were widespread, as during Covid-19 confinement people are not meant to go out to work in someone else’s home apart from for childcare or to 'help vulnerable people', while respecting all the usual preventative advice (washing hands regularly, avoiding unnecessary physical contact, coughing into one's crooked elbow or a single-use tissue,  etc).

Exceptionally, particuliers employeurs also have until April 15 this month to make their declarations to the Cesu or Pajemploi services related to the work done (or not done) in March.

If your employee was able to do all the usual planned hours in March, this is not applicable to you, however if there were gaps, then the following measures apply.

You have a choice, firstly you may decide to help your employee by declaring and paying in full for the hours they were due to work in March despite the fact they did not work them (all) in reality.

If you do this, then you will be out of pocket for part of the salary paid out, but you will obtain your usual 50% income tax credit for services à la personne for all of the hours you declare, whether actually worked or not.

If you cannot afford to do this, then the following indemnité exceptionnelle (exceptional indemnity) process applies. It is recommended that you discuss this with your employee so they are aware of what payment to expect. Note that has not yet been decided if the same measures will apply for April, and an announcement will be made in due course.

In your personal space at the cesu.urssaf.fr or pajemploi.urssaf.fr website, you organise your declaration and payment for the employee, related to the hours actually worked in March.

Once this is done, you then declare the work hours that were planned but not worked in a special website section provided for this which can be found here (Cesu) or here (Pajemploi). You should do it carefully as once filled in and saved, you cannot make changes again.

Once you have saved this form section, the Cesu (Pajemploi) service will tell you the amount you should pay the employee, which will include an amount totalling 80% of the net salary for the hours that were not worked. You need to pay this over to the employee by whatever means you choose (cheque, bank transfer etc) and it will not happen automatically.

You will then be reimbursed the amount into your bank account.

If you wish, out of concern for the employee, you may decide to simply make a gift of the remaining 20% (with no consequences in terms of social cotisations or tax credits).

You should note that the payment to the employee of the indemnité exceptionnelle does not also give rise to any tax credit for you, and does not have any associated social cotisations to be paid.

Particuliers employeurs who do not use the internet will be receiving letters with a paper form to complete.

In the meantime they can either, depending on their choice, make a declaration and payment for the employee in full for March’s work despite the fact some hours were not worked (so as to benefit from the tax credit on them all), or just for the hours actually worked.

If they wish to obtain the indemnité exceptionnelle, then the form will need to be completed in a second stage. It will then be checked so as to organise the reimbursement. If you wish to speed things up, you can also fill out the application online, even if you do not usually use the online services.

Note that if your employee stopped work specifically because they had to look after their own children at home, the indemnité exceptionnelle does not apply; they are eligible for help from the Assurance Maladie. However you still have to make a declaration and payment as usual for any hours actually worked.

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