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Help for French businesses to survive Covid crisis

"The state will pay, whatever the cost"

Keeping business alive is one of the government’s key aims along with tackling the pandemic.

It has launched a major support programme costing €350billion.

President Macron said “the state will pay, whatever the cost”, as ministers announced new aid for those who were continuing to go in to work each day – with a tax-free bonus of up to €2,000.

This prime is similar to one paid at the end of 2018 after the gilets jaunes protests and is a recognition of workers – such as those in supermarkets, boulangeries or pharmacies – who take a health risk every time they go in.

Firms will decide if they want to pay it and workers on-site will receive a larger bonus than those home working. Eligible firms must have a salary savings scheme accord d’intér­essement. Those who received a 2018 bonus will receive up to €1,000, with a €2,000 reserved for those who did not previously benefit.

The 9.6million workers on temporary lay-off, chômage partiel do not receive the bonus but are, instead, paid indirectly by the state via their employers.

In most cases, they get 84% of their normal wage but workers on the minimum pay Smic will receive the full amount – while there is a ceiling of 4.5 times the Smic for better-paid staff.

Work Minister Muriel Pénicaud said this will continue up to and beyond the May 11 date given for the start of the end of the lockdown. But she called on employers to look at ways of restarting some staff work. She said: “If a company head with 100 workers can find some work that allows them to get 20 workers back working, we will continue with chômage partiel payments for the rest. This means it is not ‘all or nothing’.”

Self-employed workers also get help in the form of Fonds de solidarité grants of up to €1,500 for March and April although the worst-hit will get ‘second round’ payments of €2,000-€5,000.

It is available for various kinds of firm such as micro-entre­pre­neurs, the professions libérales, or shops and restaurants. In most cases they should have fewer than 10 staff and a turnover of less than €1million but these are doubled for the restaurant, culture, tourism and events sectors (for more special rules applying to them click here). The rules forbid those with retirement pensions or other full-time jobs from benefiting.

Claimants can still apply until April 30 for March, or May 31 for April. A million businesses have taken it up.

Budget Minister Gérald Darmanin said it would go on beyond May 11 “because some businesses will still be closed beyond this date”.

The average grant given was €1,330, with many being paid within a week.

There had been some delays as applicants were including details of their own bank account and not that of the business, as requested.

Eligible applicants must have had the business closed by government order, or, for the month of April, have lost 50% of incomein April 2020 compared to April 2019. Optionally the comparison can instead be made with the average monthly income in 2019.

Newer businesses should compare with average monthly income from creation to February 29, 2020.

The aid is intended for businesses, so two-person businesses cannot claim twice, but the method of claiming is through a personal tax account

Open the Espace particulier, then the Messagerie sécurisée and Ecrire.

In the section Motif de contact, choose Je demande l’aide aux entreprises fragilisées par l’épidémie Covid-19.

Businesses with at least one employee on CDD or CDI can apply for extra aid topped up by their region called aide complémentaire et forfaitaire.
They must be unable to pay a due bill or have been refused a bank loan.

This pays from €2,000 to €5,000, dep­ending on turnover (below €200,000 – €2,000; €200,000 to €600,000 – €3,500; more than €600,000 – €5,000).

Applications are made via the region, with pages set up in each, and should include a declaration that necessary conditions have been met, a summary of the situation, and the amount of loan refused, plus the bank’s details.

Alongside these aids, all businesses can delay payment of social charges and taxes for the first quarter – but they remain due and those that can pay should still do so.

To delay payment of social charges, access your Urssaf page and fill in a total of €0 for the period mentioned.

For tax, those paying at source can alter their payments at any time through the espace particulier.

Firms having problems with their bank can access credit mediation in a fast process

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