While the post-coronavirus economic crisis should have a very heavy impact on employment, in the coming months, the lawyer and columnist of Europe 1 Roland Perez looks at the severance payments to which employees are entitled when leave the company.

Many companies will be shutting down due to the post-coronavirus economic crisis. Employees will therefore be laid off economically: up to 800,000 jobs could be lost in the coming months, according to the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire. The question of calculating severance pay arises acutely, as explained by the lawyer and columnist of Europe 1 Roland Perez, Saturday. When an employee is dismissed, whether for an economic reason or for a professional insufficiency, he is entitled to severance pay which comes to reward his seniority in the company. They are calculated on the basis of the last salaries received.

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If the collective agreements are not more favorable, the employee will receive 20% of the average of his last gross wages, multiplied by the number of years of seniority in the company, according to the labor code. However, for several months, the majority of employees have been placed in partial unemployment with a cut salary of 16%: the wages received were indeed equivalent to 84% of their usual gross wages. The method of calculating severance pay therefore arises and the legal response is clear: if the employee was subject to partial unemployment during the reference period, the remuneration serving as the basis for calculating the indemnity dismissal must be that which the person concerned would have received had he worked full time. Is it the labor code that says so or the Court of Cassation?  It was the Court of Cassation which came to clarify this point, recalling that the forced unemployment of an employee for a period did not change his employment contract. The remuneration to be taken into account to calculate the redundancy payments must remain the fully planned remuneration, which is the sum provided if the employee had never been put into partial activity. Finally, in the remuneration to be taken into account, the thirteenth month, the bonuses and other possible gratuities from which the employee benefits are taken into account.