To address the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis on youth employment and training, the French Government has put in place the ‘1 young person, 1 solution' plan, including a EUR 4,000 aid for the recruitment of young people under 26.
With Decree No. 2020-982 of 5 August 2020 (published in the Official Journal) of 6 August, a major measure of the ‘1 young person, 1 solution' plan is being implemented: financial assistance for the recruitment of young people under 26. The plan also projects for other measures to support employment and training of young people, including exceptional financial aid for the recruitment of a work-study student (up to EUR 8,000).
The main provisions of this Decree and the financial aid are set out below.
1. Conditions to receive the aid
Scope of application
The aid is available for the recruitment of an employee under 26 years of age whose contractual remuneration does not exceed twice the hourly amount of the minimum wage (SMIC). These two conditions are assessed on the date of conclusion of the employment contract.
Employers eligible for aid are:
- employers falling within the scope of unemployment insurance;
- employers' groups for integration and qualification (GEIQ);
- employers in the sea fishing industry.
The following are excluded from the aid:
- public administrative establishments;
- public industrial and commercial establishments;
- semi-public companies;
- individual employers.
Eligibility for the aid is subject to compliance with a number of conditions:
- The employee must be hired on a permanent contract or on a fixed-term contract of at least three months' duration.
- The contract must be concluded between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021.
- The employer must be up-to-date with its reporting and payment obligations with regard to the tax administration and the tax and contribution collection agencies, social security and unemployment insurance or have subscribed to and be complying with a plan for the settlement of the outstanding dues and contributions.
- The employer does not benefit from any other state assistance for integration, access or return to employment paid in relation to the employee concerned.
- The employer has not, since 1 January 2020, made a dismissal for economic reasons for a job role covered by the aid.
- The employee must not have belonged to the employer's workforce at 1 August 2020 under a contract which was not eligible for aid.
- The employee must remain on the employer's workforce for at least three months counted from of the first day of execution of the employment contract.
Employee whose contract would have given rise to entitlement to the aid
In the event that an employee has already held a fixed-term contract that has would have been entitled to aid, the conclusion before 31 January 2021 of a permanent or fixed-term contract of at least three months' duration, will allow the employer to continue to receive aid up to the maximum amount of EUR 4,000 for the employee concerned.
In this case, the aid is granted even if the employee was over 26 years of age at the time of the previous contract.
2. Amount of aid
The aid payable from the first day of performance of the employment contract is capped at EUR 4,000 per employee. It is paid quarterly at a rate of EUR 1,000. The aid is pro-rated according to the employee's working time and the actual duration of the employment contract.
The aid is not due for:
- periods of employee absence during which the employer did not continue to provide remuneration;
- periods during which the employee is placed in a position of partial activity under ordinary law, or of partial activity in the event of long-term reduction in activity.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Labour dated 6 August 2020, the EUR 4,000 aid over one year for a full-time employee can offset social security contributions for the first year for a young person, paid up to twice the hourly minimum wage.
3. Request for payment
Administration of the aid
The aid is managed by the Service and Payment Agency (ASP).
The employer must apply for the aid to the ASP via an online within four months of the contract start date.
The employer must provide a sworn statement that it fulfils the eligibility conditions mentioned in the application for aid.
Article 5 of the Decree indicates that aid applications can be submitted to the ASP as from 1 October 2020.
Quarterly employee attendance certificate
The aid is paid on the basis of a certificate from the employer certifying the employee's presence, addressed to the ASP through an online service. The certificate must be sent before the following four months at the end of each quarter of contract execution.
Where applicable, the periods of employee absence will lead to a reduction in the amount of the aid.
If the certificate is not produced within the required time limit, the aid is not paid for the period in question.
4. Controls and sanctions
Role of the ASP
The employer must keep at the disposal of the ASP any document enabling it to monitor its eligibility for the aid. The ASP has access to data from other public administrations, including
the ACOSS (the financial wing of the central social security body) and the Caisse Centrale de la Mutualité Sociale Agricole (responsible for social security in the agricultural sector).
The ASP is responsible for managing claims and appeals relating to the aid.
Suspension of aid payments
The payment of the aid will be suspended if the employer does not produce the documents requested by the ASP to check the accuracy of its declarations within one month.
The employer will be required, where appropriate, to reimburse the state in full for any aid sums received:
- where the recruitment of an employee for whose hiring the employer has received aid results in the dismissal of another employee;
- in the event that it is established that the employer's declarations justifying the eligibility for the aid are inaccurate.
Where it is found that the employer's certificates justifying the employee's presence at work are inaccurate, the sums unduly received by the employer for the quarters in question must be repaid to the state.
Originally published 21 August, 2020
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.