With the growing impact of the coronavirus pandemic across France and around the world, governments of effected countries have had to rapidly establish financial support measures, to mitigate the economic damage caused both to businesses and individuals.
The French government has announced a number of financial measures and schemes to provide support and assistance, ranging from direct access to emergency funds to make up for the loss of income, to additional support such as time extensions and guarantees.
For self-employed and small business owners
Many thousands of self employed and small business owners have suffered an enormous financial loss since the start of the pandemic, with restrictions in travel and other measures preventing them from carrying out business activities. An emergency plan or solidarity fund, worth EUR 110 billion was created to help alleviate loss, and small companies and self-employed people meeting the eligibility criteria can apply for funds directly.
The sudden impact on business activities has naturally jeopardised the livelihood of millions of employed workers around France. To help prevent an unprecendented wave of unemployment, the French government a partial unemployment scheme, that allows businesses to retain staff throughout the lockdown, while employees are able to claim benefits during the lockdown period.
Support for specific sectors
The impact of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown has hit the hospitality, tourism and event industry in particular, and may continue to do so into the near future while the long-term consequences of the virus remain unknown. To counter the economic impact to these industries, the government announced that additional funds would be available from May, increasing the support packages to workers and businesses in these sectors. With many restaurants, cafes and other businesses able to open again since the start of June, these measures will continue to be reviewed.
Supplementary help packages
For self-employed people and small businesses suffering more severe financial difficulties, the government has also made some supplementary help packages available, of up to EUR 10,000. These are only available for businesses that have at least one employee, be unable to pay their debts for 30 days, and have already been declined a loan from a bank.
In addition to these measures, the government has also announced that a temporary suspension on payments of rent and utility bills may also be available.
State guarantee scheme
As well as measures to provide support through aid grants and benefits for individuals, the French government also announced the introduction of a State guarantee scheme, worth EUR 300 billion. This allows financial loans to be granted to individuals and companies that meet the criteria, and are provided through banks and other French lending bodies.
The scheme is only applicable to new loans granted between 16 March 2020 and 31 December 2020, and the loans must not be secured to any other assets. These loans will have no principal repayment for the first 12 months, and give the borrower the option to decide on a repayment period at the end of the first year. To be eligible for the scheme, the borrower must complete the application and meet all the relevant criteria.