Paris (AFP)

Distances between employees, disinfection of premises, provision of protective masks ... A week away from deconfinement, the rules for resuming activity are becoming clearer for companies, impatient to restart but worried about the "legal uncertainty" that weighs on employers.

According to a "national deconfinement protocol", based on "universal" criteria and disseminated on Sunday by the Ministry of Labor, confirming information from the JDD, the measures imposed "require prior reflection, conducted in a concerted framework in order to guarantee their feasibility. "

If companies, businesses and establishments welcoming the public want to bring their employees back from May 11, they must first provide for the establishment of a minimum space of 4 m2 per employee, with management of flows and senses of traffic to avoid crossings.

This rule also applies to common areas, including elevators, where no more than one or two employees can climb at the same time.

"When, and only when, certain situations (in principle reduced to a minimum by the application of collective measures) entail an uncontrollable risk of accidental rupture of this distancing (...), additional measures such as the wearing of a" general public "mask are to set up, "said the ministry.

The rooms and door handles must be disinfected daily, or even several times a day. Security gates will be condemned or hydroalcoholic gel offered nearby, markings on the ground to organize traffic are recommended.

Closed rooms must be ventilated for 15 minutes three times a day.

However, taking the temperature, considered too intrusive, cannot be imposed on employees. The same goes for coronavirus screening campaigns, which cannot be compulsory, according to the ministry.

In the event of non-compliance with these measures, common to all companies and associations, whatever their size, their location and their sector of activity, employers will incur civil and criminal liability.

"We must support all companies so that activity resumes in conditions guaranteeing the health and safety of employees," said Minister of Labor Muriel Pénicaud on Sunday in a statement.

These rules come "in addition" to the guides already available on the site of the ministry, which detail the measures of hygiene and social distancing "profession by profession", recalled the ministry.

- "Clarifications" -

The announcement of these measures comes as employers' organizations have multiplied in recent days calls for "clarification" on the conditions of the restart, warning against "legal uncertainty" weighing on businesses.

In a joint letter sent this weekend to Ms. Pénicaud, Medef, CPME, U2P and FNSEA said they were ready "to assume the obligation of means which is theirs" while warning against d '"possible drifts".

"It is imperative to limit and clarify the scope of this obligation to avoid possible challenges to the civil and criminal liability of the employer who has done due diligence," insisted the employers' unions.

Acknowledging that the company should "do everything possible to limit the contagion", they expressed concern that "the ordinary framework of the security obligation" is "manifestly unsuitable".

By presenting his deconfinement plan on Tuesday, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe called "insistently" on all companies to maintain telework for their employees as much as possible, "at least in the next three weeks".

It must "be the rule whenever it can be implemented", insists the ministry Sunday in its protocol.

The head of government had called for others to social dialogue, "an imperative condition" to "allow the return to work in a framework that guarantees security".

"The recovery, everyone aspires: employees, business leaders. The question is to do it under optimal security conditions", judged Sunday on BFMTV the vice-president of Medef Fabrice Le Saché , arguing for a "case by case" approach.

The unions have already warned that they would be particularly attentive to the sanitary measures put in place by the employers, mentioning, where appropriate, possible rights of individual employees to withdraw, or even calls to strike.

© 2020 AFP