Édouard Philippe has also presented a draft amending bill of finances (projet de loi de finances rectificative) and a very short constitutional bill (loi organique) to supplement the Draft Bill in an area falling within the scope of constitutional law.
The implementation of the state of public health emergency firstly allows the government to take, by decree issued on the basis of the report of the Minister of Health, general restrictive measures - which must be proportionate - that may limit, in addition to the freedom of movement and freedom of assembly, economic freedoms, such as the right of free enterprise, or requisition goods and services needed to combat the public health catastrophe.
Title III of the Draft Bill also provides that the Government be authorised to take any measure by ordinance that has a significant impact on companies' business and the judiciary, especially:
- providing liquidity support to companies, direct or indirect aid for the benefit of companies whose sustainability is threatened (in particular by setting up a fund) as well as any measure adapting accordingly the provisions relating to the organisation of the French public investment bank ("Banque Publique d'Investissement") in order to strengthen its capacity to grant guarantees;
- amending the law on insolvency proceedings and restructuring in order to facilitate the preventive measures against the consequences of the health crisis;
- modifying the obligations of companies with regard to their customers and suppliers, particularly in terms of deadlines and penalties and of the nature of the consideration (in particular with regard to contracts for the sale of package travelling and holidays);
- adapting the rules relating to the territorial jurisdiction and the organisation of the administrative and judicial courts (formations de jugement des juridictions de l’ordre administratif et judiciaire), as well as the rules relating to procedural deadlines, the publicity of hearings and the use of videoconferencing before such courts;
- adjusting the deadlines, namely:
- the deadlines which, if not met, result in nullity, voidness, foreclosure, expiry of the applicable statute of limitations, unenforceability, cessation of a measure or forfeiture of a right, termination of an approval or authorisation, termination of a measure, except for measures involving deprivation of liberty, or any sanction or other effect. These measures are applicable as of 14 March 2020 and may not exceed by more than three months the expiration of the administrative police measures taken to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 virus;
- adapting the rules on deadlines, execution and termination provided for in public contracts and the public procurement code, in particular those relating to contractual penalties;
- adapting the time limits applicable to declarations and requests made to the administrative authorities;
- with regard to corporate law, simplifying and adapting the conditions under which the general meetings and governing bodies of legal persons governed by private law meet and deliberate. Also, any measure simplifying and adapting the rules relating in particular to the approval and publication of accounts, the allocation of profits and the payment of dividends;
- with regard to employment law and social security legislation, having the following purposes:
- to limit the termination of employment contracts, in particular by increasing the use of partial activity and reducing the cost of auxiliary health insurance (reste à charge) to be borne by the employer;
- to adapt the procedures for granting the additional indemnity provided for in Article L. 1226-1 of the French Labour Code;
- to modify the conditions for the grant of paid leave, time of in lieu (jours de réduction du temps de travail) and rest days allocated to the employee's time saving account (compte épargne-temps du salarié);
- to allow companies in sectors particularly needed for the security of the nation or the continuity of economic and social life to legally derogate from the rules of public order and the contractual stipulations relating to working hours, weekly rest and Sunday rest;
- to modify, on an exceptional basis, the deadlines and procedures for the payment of profit-sharing and incentive payments;
- to amend the terms of election and the duration of the terms of office of the members of the labour courts (conseillers prud’hommes) and the members of the regional inter-professional employer/employee committees (commissions paritaires régionales interprofessionnelles);
- to adjust the arrangements for monitoring the state of workers' health;
- to adjust the conditions for informing and consulting the social and economic committee;
- to adapt the provisions on vocational training and apprenticeship;
- adapting the law on co-ownership of constructed buildings, in particular with regard to the appointment of trustees;
- allowing, in the event of non-payment of water and energy bills, to spread their payments, to waive the penalties and to prohibit interruptive measures in favour of small and medium-sized enterprises; and
- adapting the rules relating to the conduct of police custody, provisional detention and house arrest under electronic surveillance, as well as any measure adjusting the rules relating to the enforcement of custodial sentences and the execution of placement measures.
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We hope that you, your families and colleagues are all well.
The Management Committee
on behalf of the Partners of Gide
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