In an interview published Monday in the magazine "Challenges", Muriel Pénicaud, the Minister of Labor, gave the first figures on suspected partial unemployment fraud. Out of 3,000 checks carried out by the administration on companies that have benefited from the system, 850 suspected cases of fraud have already been identified.

Account time has arrived. The Ministry of Labor has started to carry out, for more than a month, checks on companies which have applied for partial unemployment to face the crisis triggered by the new coronavirus. However, 850 suspicions of fraud were noted on the first 3,000 checks now closed, according to figures disclosed by the Minister of Labor, Muriel Pénicaud, in an interview with the economic weekly  Challenges . And among these 850 suspicions, at least four criminal proceedings have been initiated for fraud.

From the start of confinement, in mid-March, the government had chosen a very easy-to-access partial unemployment scheme: it was necessary to respond to requests from businesses as quickly as possible to avoid layoffs at all costs. The principle was to trust companies before, possibly, launching controls. This system has enabled more than a million companies to quickly obtain government and Unédic support for the salaries of their employees faced with a drop, or even total cessation of their work during Several weeks.

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400 reports made internally

The controls therefore finally started around mid-May, on the initiative of the Direcctes, the regional directorates of the Ministry of Labor. In his interview with Challenges , Muriel Pénicaud specifies that on all the controls in progress, 400 were triggered following a report made by union organizations, or even employees.

The most common case of fraud is that of the employer who affects the funding of short-time working for his employees, and who nevertheless asks them to work. Sometimes the mechanics are much more sophisticated. Muriel Pénicaud cites the case of this Hauts-de-France entrepreneur who created five companies for 67 employees, but none of them was declared or paid social security contributions.