Impact of coronavirus measures adopted by the French government on the building and construction sector
As France starts its second week of confinement due to the coronavirus outbreak, building and construction companies active in the country are expected to resume and continue their activities under satisfactory health conditions.
Companies to continue work on building sites
After a week of discussions between the French government and construction company representatives regarding the impact of COVID-19 confinement measures on the building sector, an agreement has been found to continue, to the extent possible, construction activities respecting the generally set out health requirements.
It has been decided that construction activities are expected to continue through the sanitary emergency in France as building companies are essential to the functioning of the country’s economic life, contributing daily to the needs of the French people in housing, water, energy, electricity, water, sewage, waste management, transport and telecommunications.
Following a week of negotiations, the government and stakeholders decided, according to an official press release n°2086 of 21 March 2020, that continuing construction work throughout the coronavirus outbreak in France is necessary so as to avoid a total shutdown of the sector, which would destabilise not only its stakeholders but also the entire economic chain.
Ongoing work on building sites is nevertheless subject to the protection of all workers’ health via appropriate measures and procedures.
Please note that, under article L. 4121-1 of the French labour code, employers are required to adopt necessary measures to ensure the safety and protect the physical health of workers.
Employer in the construction sector will thus be held liable if they do not take the preventive measures required by the COVID-19 outbreak, especially regarding barrier gestures and distance between employees.
Companies unable to continue work on building sites to benefit from government measures
Construction companies unable to continue their activities, either because preventive health measures cannot be ensured or because required materials, equipment and personnel cannot be obtained, will benefit from favourable measures adopted by the French government.
Companies and employees in the construction sector affected by an activity decrease are expected to rapidly benefit from the more lenient tax and contribution payment measures, partial unemployment and the solidarity fund currently being set up.
Exemption from contractual liability so as to protect employees’ health
It should be noted that, in the official press release n°2086 of 21 March 2020, the French government invites stakeholders not to seek any type of contractual liability from construction companies, sub-contractors and/or supplies who are required to suspend the activities, whenever unable to guarantee health and safety measures of the employees.
This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice addressed to particular circumstances. You should not take or refrain from taking any legal action based upon the information contained herein without first seeking professional, individualized counsel based upon your own circumstances. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements.
Information by ALARIS AVOCATS, English speaking lawyers in France (Paris) specialized in French labor law, especially any kinds of Social Plans, dismissal procedures and labor contract clauses.