Updated: May 1
Following the sudden shutdown measures on 15th March, many businesses find themselves thrown into uncertain financial times. Find out what the allowances the government have in store to help small businesses, entrepreneurs and emplyees through this situation.
This article has been loosely translated from French to English from this page: https://www.portail-autoentrepreneur.fr/actualites/coronavirus-ae
“Anyone earning the minimum wage (SMIC), and who finds themselves without work, will not lose a single cent"
- Minister of Finance & Economy, Mr Bruno le Maire
Under these trying circumstances, many employees may find themselves out of work, either because they cannot go to work, or because many businesses have grounded to a halt while the uncertainty hangs in the air. Employees (salariés) who are temporarily dismissed from work will be compensated up to 84% of their salary, except for those who earn the minimum wage (SMIC), in which case, the compensation rate will be 100%.
Situation for the self-employed - Auto-entrepreneurs (micro-entrepreneurs)
Deferral of Social Security Charges to URSSAF
In light of the current situation, the government will grant an exception to defer payment of your social security charges for the month of March 2020, with no late payment penalty fee. You do NOT need to make a formal request to URSSAF - simply log on to your URSSAF account and change the amount of social charges to 0€ for March. You will have until 31st March 2020 to do so.
These charges must be repaid within the following 3 months, according to current information. In extenuating circumstances, this deadline could be extended, but this will be on a case-by-case basis.
If you have already paid some social charges for March, you may request a reimbursement.
Deferral of Taxes
There is also a possibility to defer payment of your taxes, if formally requested. If you make your payments through URSSAF, you will need to address your request to them. If you make your payments directly to your local tax office, you'll need to make the request through your online tax account.
Rebates from URSSAF
There will be exceptional rebates for late payment, including a payment plan for your URSSAF charges so that you don't pay all the charges in one go. If you need extend the repayment of your URSSAF charges (beyond the default 3 months), this can be done on a case-by-case basis with the possibility of a maximum extension of 12 months. Call 3957 for more information.
The government is also studying the possibility of cancelling taxes and social charges in the case of extreme financial difficulty. This would also be awarded on a case-by-case basis, and would require documentation as proof of financial strain.
Payment of Rent, Water and Electricity
For companies that find themselves in financial difficulty and rent a place of business that is not the home address of an employee, payment of rent, water, electricity and gas bills may be suspended.
You will need to approach the landlord of the office you're renting, as well as your utilities supplier, to discuss this further.
1500€ Solidarity Fund
Who is eligible to receive this money?
You are eligible if:
- You have had to close your business due to public health reasons, or if your revenue is has dropped by more than 50% in March 2020 compared to March 2019
- Your annual turnover is less than 1 million euros (which should be the case for all self-employed workers)
Businesses created less than one year ago but which have had to close due to public health reasons are also eligible to benefit from this solidarity fund.
Therefore, this funding is available for retail businesses, restaurants, accommodation businesses, tourism, sport and cultural associations, events businesses and transport companies, which make up an estimated total of 400,000 eligible businesses. It is yet to be decided whether businesses in other sectors may be eligible.
This request should be made directly to Directions Générales des Finances Publiques (DGFIP), once you have declared your business revenue. The form to request this aid will be available online from 31st March. It is possible that increased funding could be made available on a case-by-case basis, but this information is not currently available.
Other forms of compensation you could be entitled to
Exceptional Financial Aid
If you, as a self-employed worker, find yourself in exceptional financial difficulty, you can write to URSSAF with this form to receive financial aid. Do note that this is only appropriate for individuals who are facing extreme financial difficulty that threatens their livelihood.
Help with Social Charges
During a period of economic uncertainty such as the current situation, URSSAF may reduce or cancel your social security charges. Fill in this form to claim this financial support.
Specific Allocation of Solidarity
If you're a self-employed worker that has used up the allocated unemployment allowance and earns less than 1117.80€ per month (or 1841.40€ if you live with a partner), you can apply for a Specific Allocation of Solidarity (Allocation Spécifique de Solidarité) through Pôle Emploi to subsidise your income. This fund is worth up to 16.74€ per day for 6 months and can be renewed. For more information, go to www.service-public.fr.
At the time of writing, the Minister for Labour is still discussing a strategy for a solution similar to "chomâge technique" for the self-employed, under which they could earn up to 84% of their revenue, but no specific announcements have yet been made. In the meantime, it should be noted that in this situation of force majeur, there will be no penalties to businesses for late delivery of services.