Creation of a solidarity fund
Creation, for a period of 3 months from March 25, 2020, renewable by decree for a further period of no more than 3 months, of a solidarity fund (Order No. 2020-317 of March 25, 2020 establishing a solidarity fund for companies particularly affected by the economic, financial and social consequences of the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic and the measures taken to limit this spread)
Entities concerned: very small enterprises, self-employed persons, micro-entrepreneurs and liberal professions (number of employees less than or equal to 10), whose activity started before 1 February 2020 and which are not in compulsory liquidation on 1 March 2020, with a turnover of less than EUR 1 million and an annual taxable profit of less than EUR 60,000
Conditions for receiving the aid:
- either to have been the subject of an administrative closure
- or have suffered a loss of at least 50% of turnover in March 2020 compared to March 2019 (for aid paid for the month of March)
- either have suffered a loss of at least 50% of turnover in April 2020 compared to April 2019 or compared to the average monthly turnover in 2019 (for aid paid in respect of the month of April)
Amount of aid (different levels)
- 1st part: up to 1,500 euros may be paid by the Directorate General for Public Finance
- 2nd strand: between €2,000 and €5,000 of additional aid for companies benefiting from the 1st strand, which employ at least 1 employee and have been refused a bank loan
Mechanism for suspension of rent payments, depending on the goodwill of the lessors
Article 1bis of the Amending Finance Bill adopted by the National Assembly (on 17 April 2020) and the Senate (on 22 April 2020) provides that lessors who waive their right to collect rent for the period between 15 April and 31 July 2020 will be authorized to (i) deduct from their taxable income the amount of rent not collected, and (ii) the rental charges corresponding to the income that has been waived or abandoned.
Measures in favour of the catering, tourism, events, sport and culture sectors
- Possibility of using the partial activity maintained after the resumption of activity for these sectors
- Extension of the Solidarity Fund beyond May: the conditions of access will be extended to firms in the sectors concerned with up to 20 employees and a turnover of up to 2 million euros + the ceiling on the subsidies that can be paid under the second strand will be raised to 10 000 euros
- Exemption from social security contributions for VSEs and SMEs during the closure period, from March to June; medium-sized and large enterprises in these sectors not benefiting from the automatic exemption will be able to obtain long deferment of deferred social security and tax charges and, on a case-by-case basis, apply for debt write-offs depending on their financial situation
- Examination of the modalities of deferral of the property contribution of companies
- Cancellation of rents and fees for occupying the public domain due to national landlords (State and operators) for VSEs and SMEs for the period of administrative closure
Unblocking by the European Central Bank of envelopes for the repurchase of public and private debts
Possible rescue of French companies through the acquisition of a State shareholding
Payment of rent, water, gas and electricity bills relating to the business premises of companies whose activity is affected by the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic
Order n°2020-316 of March 25, 2020 is applicable to natural and legal persons (i) likely to benefit from the solidarity fund and (ii) to those continuing their activity in the context of safeguard, recovery or liquidation proceedings with a view to the communication of the judicial representative concerned :
- from 25 March 2020 until the date of cessation of the state of health emergency, may not suspend, interrupt or reduce, including by termination of contract, the supply of electricity, gas or water to the persons concerned for non-payment of their bills : (i) electricity suppliers holding the authorisation referred to in Article L. 333-1 of the Energy Code; (ii) gas suppliers holding the authorisation referred to in Article L. 443-1 of the same Code; (iii) suppliers and services distributing drinking water on behalf of the competent municipalities under Article L. 2224-7-1 of the General Local Authorities Code
In addition, electricity suppliers may not reduce the power distributed to the persons concerned during the same period
- from March 25, 2020, electricity suppliers and gas suppliers supplying more than 100,000 customers, electricity suppliers operating in areas not interconnected to the continental metropolitan network, local distribution companies as defined in Article L. 111-54 of the same code, as well as suppliers and services distributing drinking water on behalf of the competent municipalities under Article L. 2224-7-1 of the General Local Authorities Code are required, at the request of the persons concerned, to grant them an extension of the payment deadlines for bills due between March 12, 2020 and the date of cessation of the state of health emergency and not yet paid.
This postponement may not give rise to financial penalties, costs or compensation to be paid by the above-mentioned persons.
The payment of the instalments thus deferred shall be distributed equally over the instalments for payment of invoices after the last day of the month following the date of the end of the state of health emergency, over a period of not less than six months.
When requesting their supplier to reschedule the payment of invoices, the persons concerned shall certify that they fulfil the conditions for benefiting from the provisions of this Article.
- the persons concerned may not incur any financial penalties or interest for late payment, damages, penalty payments, performance of a termination clause, penalty clause or any clause providing for forfeiture, or activation of guarantees or sureties, due to non-payment of rent or rental charges relating to their business and commercial premises, notwithstanding any contractual stipulation and the provisions of Articles L. 622-14 and L. 641-12 of the French Commercial Code.
The above provisions apply to rents and rental charges for which payment is due between March 12, 2020 and the expiry of a period of two months after the date of cessation of the state of health emergency.