Crisis: employee loans, a still confidential option

The government does not speak “absolutely” of this tool which “could reduce the state bill” by reducing recourse to short-time working.

(illustration) ( AFP / MYCHELE DANIAU )

It is a hidden device that lives in the massive shadow of recourse to partial unemployment. Yet facilitated by the government, the loan of labor between companies remains “relatively modest”

The Jean Hénaff charcuterie group tested in the spring the reception of 3 employees of a chocolate factory that had to close due to confinement and another from a company specializing in algae, which wanted to avoid partial unemployment. The company was for its part faced with a peak in activity, “people having found the taste of canned food” with confinement, explains HRD Christelle Ageneau with a smile.

“It can work as long as the employees are themselves the driving force” , she judges, noting that employees of the chocolate factory did not stay because they wanted to “please their boss”. She believes that “we must continue to experiment”.

With the labor loan, the employee keeps his employment contract and his salary, invoiced by the lender employer to the host company. The operation must be carried out on a non-profit basis and requires the agreement of the employee.

A “very virtuous” device

Jérôme Gonon, founder of Mobiliwork, a start-up which offers a networking platform for these loans, boasts a “very virtuous” device, even if it remains “relatively little deployed”. The lending company reduces its personnel costs (with no out-of-pocket costs unlike the partial activity) and keeps its skills. For the host company, the cost is lower than the interim or a CDD, while the employee “secures his job”, “develops his employability” and “maintains his salary”, he says.

To encourage companies to use it, the Ministry of Labor has posted models of amendments to employment contracts and agreements online. And the emergency law of June 17 relaxed the conditions for appeal until December 31 . But the government does not speak “absolutely” of this tool which “could reduce the State bill”, regrets Jérôme Gonon: “all the lights are on partial activity” funded in a massive way, and which therefore seems the “most obvious” solution.

While from January, the conditions of partial activity will become “less generous”, the employee loan has “a playing card” in addition to other devices, he said.

Shy beginnings

Sectors and regions have proposed actions. The Pays de la Loire region has thus launched a platform ( allowing the loan of employees but also other resources, particularly material, an initiative “unique in France” at this stage, according to the president LR from the region, Christelle Morancais. Decided in July, it has been operational since mid-October, with 25 companies registered, a first assessment “rather positive”, she said.

The employers’ federation of metallurgy (UIMM), for its part, added a new functionality to its job offer platform for the loan of labor, operational since the summer.

David Derré, director of employment training at UIMM confirms that this remains “relatively modest compared to the scale of the crisis”, with 25 companies offering, with their agreement, “172 employees to be loaned” and 32 companies seeking to welcome 110 volunteer employees.

“We are in the lace”

The most sought-after professions are “transversal” , as operator or production technician and “the average number of days loaned is 110 days”, he explains. In his eyes, “this type of tool is not intended to solve everything” but “is part of the range of solutions”, with training, partial activity or even retraining systems.

It cannot be a “massive” device, “we are in the lace”, he insists. We must explain the legal framework and remove the brakes, while “many fear that they will not see their employees return”. This fear of poaching is the first concern, confirms Jérôme Gonon, who sees “old reflexes” in it.

Still, for David Derré, “we have to manage to generate enough flow” so that supply meets demand. The UIMM platform will be extended to other sectors, agreements in principle having in particular been concluded with furniture, pharmaceuticals and textiles.


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