COVID-19. Work loans, solutions to the crisis in the agricultural and food industry

On the one hand, there are companies that, with the onset and extent of the health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, had to close or drastically limit their activities. Without an outlet or an outlet, they had to apply for partial unemployment measures for their employees.

On the other hand, there are so-called sovereign companies for feeding the population, which have recorded and experienced peaks of activity since the beginning of the crisis. They are experiencing strong growth without being able to rely on their entire workforce due to illness or family constraints.

With more than 70,000 employees, Brittany’s agri-food industry is a major economic player in the region and must face the epidemic crisis.

Use of work loans

In this context, the Breton Association of Agri-Food Companies (ABEA) and HR Consultancy Partners, a subsidiary of the Randstad France group, accelerated the implementation of the work loan system planned within the Agil’Agro collective. This collective, which brings together several players in the Brittany agri-food industry, the Brittany region and the Pôle Emploi, has been working for several months on various levers and tools to make the agri-food sector attractive. The use of work loans is one of these tools and appears today, and in this particular context, as a suitable solution for solving the crisis.

South Finistère, pilot area

The Jean Henaff Group, based in South Finistère, was the first to request this method recently to compensate for absences in its production workshops. Two other companies in the system, Chocolaterie Robinet and GlobExplore, a company specializing in algae-based food products, responded to this call and offered their employees, who had been forced into partial unemployment since the beginning of the crisis, to go to work at Jean Henaff, during the confinement. Three employees answered.

“In the face of the crisis, this process seems very appropriate and threefold. A win for employees who avoid part-time unemployment and keep their full wages. A winner for Agil’Agro member companies: those facing a crisis can maintain their workforce without incurring costs, while those experiencing sustained activity can immediately request operational reinforcements. Finally a winner for the state that does not bear the burden of partial activity on the affected personnel.

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