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The functioning of public services and the rules applicable to civil servants faced with COVID-19.

Since Tuesday March 17, 2020 at 12 noon, France has been placed in containment in order to limit the spread of Covid-19. Strict measures have thus been taken, some of which concern public services.

It is in this context that Olivier Dussopt, Secretary of State to the Minister of Action and Public Accounts, brought together trade union organizations and public employers from the three public offices in order to adapt the methods of organizing the job.

Thus, public employers are required to: limit meetings to the strict minimum as well as grouping in small spaces, cancel or postpone non-essential trips, and avoid gatherings, seminars and symposia.

Telecommuting.

It is a question of continuing to exercise its missions, but this outside the buildings of the administration.

In the context of Covid-19, it is more specifically a question of working from home.

Public employers must set up teleworking for agents whose position allows it.

Thus, the conditions for the implementation of telework are defined by a ministerial decree for the FPE, a deliberation for the FPT, a decision of the director of the establishment for the FPH; after opinion of the technical committee.

While telework can normally only be carried out for a maximum of three days a week, this time condition does not apply during the current confinement period.

The special leave of absence (ASA).

If the agent’s position does not allow teleworking, the public employer then issues an ASA certificate to him.

The ASA allows the public official concerned not to temporarily occupy his work station, while being considered as carrying on his activity.

The agent then retains all of his remuneration rights, as well as the maintenance of his promotion rights and his retirement rights. However, the ASA does not allow the generation of RTT days.

The public employer must systematically offer telework to pregnant women.

However, if the latter is not possible given the tasks performed by the agent, an ASA will be issued to him.

Business continuity plans (BCPs).

A) General scheme.

BCPs make it possible to coordinate the maintenance of essential activities.

Thus, PCAs determine the agents who must continue to go to their place of work (in view of the missions they carry out), and those who must carry out active telework (with suitable equipment, assigned by the service or by the staff) .

The PCAs must in particular contain:
The identification of essential activities to maintain to ensure the continuity of public service;
The modification of working conditions and organization (opening hours, working hours, etc.);
The minimum staff required;
Reinforcement, replacement or substitution measures that will be taken in the absence of agents;
The prevention actions to be implemented.

Public officials participating in face-to-face BCPs must be in possession of a derogatory travel certificate for trips made between their workplace and their home. For trips taking place as part of their professional activity, they must have proof of professional travel.

The agents continuing to exercise their missions in the present must imperatively respect the barrier gestures as well as the compulsory distancing.

B) Agents suffering from a risky pathology.

Some agents who have to carry out their missions face-to-face may present pathologies; they are not then allowed to work face to face.

The list of these pathologies has been fixed by the High Council of Public Health:

  • chronic kidney disease on dialysis / defined stage heart failure;
    at least stage B cirrhosis;
  • cardiovascular history (high blood pressure, stroke) / coronary artery disease / – heart surgery;
  • insulin-dependent diabetics or with complications secondary to their pathology;
  • chronic respiratory failure under oxygen therapy / asthma / cystic fibrosis / any chronic respiratory pathology likely to decompensate during a viral infection;
  • drug immunosuppression (eg anti-cancer chemotherapy), linked to an uncontrolled HIV infection, following a solid organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplant, suffering from malignant hemopathy during treatment, presenting with metastasized cancer;
  • morbid obesity.

If these agents cannot carry out their telework assignments, the public employer can:

  • Either place the agent in ASA;
  • Or declare the agent among the agents at risk on the portal of the National Health Insurance Fund (without the need to consult the attending physician).

C) Agents having to look after their children.

Childcare systems are in place to allow staff involved in ECPs to get to their place of work, such as nurseries or increasing the capacity of childcare for childminders.

However, some officers participating in the CACs have no other option than to keep their children themselves. If telework cannot be implemented, a distinction must be made:
CNRACL official: he is placed in an ASA.
IRCANTEC civil servant / contractual under public law / employee under private law: he is placed on sick leave (decree of January 31, 2020).

Partial unemployment.

If partial unemployment is possible in the private sector, this measure is not intended to apply in the public service.

Contract workers under public law are also not eligible for partial unemployment.

However, private law employees employed by a public structure can benefit from partial unemployment.

The right of withdrawal.

The right of withdrawal is an option available to an employee subject to the Labor Code when he considers that he is in a dangerous situation at work. Thus, the employee who opposes his right of withdrawal to his employer refuses to work without being liable to a penalty.

This possibility is therefore offered to employees under private law.

Public officials also have a right of withdrawal.

To do this, the agate must demonstrate that there is a reasonable reason to believe that he is exposed to serious and imminent danger to his life or health, or that there is a defect in the protection systems .

In addition, the danger to which the agent is exposed must be serious and imminent.

However, the implementation of the right of withdrawal cannot have the consequence of creating a new situation of danger for third parties.

Thus, if members of the medical staff, or even the police force, decide to invoke their right of withdrawal, this could result in the endangerment of others.

Agents in a special situation

A) Agents on annual leave.

The agent on annual leave during the confinement period remains on leave.

At the end of his leave, the agent will resume his duties face-to-face if his position falls under a PCA, or will be placed in telework or ASA.

It should be noted that the health emergency law of 24 March 2020 provides for the publication of an order within three months concerning the management of leave and RTT.

B) Agents on trial.

If the agent on trial during containment does not participate in a BCP, it would be advisable to postpone the expiration of his trial period because it cannot be properly completed.

In this sense, the public employer may take an amendment to the contract specifying the conditions of the postponement, and taking into account the trial period already carried out.

Agents with Covid-19.
If an agent tests positive for Covid-19, the public employer is required to notify those who have been in contact with it, as well as disinfect the surfaces that have been in contact with the agent.

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