The fight against partial activity fraud during the Covid crisis in 2020-2021 has enabled the State to recover around 217 million euros, according to a press release from the Ministry of Labor on Tuesday. In addition, “the control actions implemented by the services of the State and the Services and Payments Agency (ASP) made it possible to proceed with the blocking or rejection of more than 329 million euros”, according to this balance.
In March 2020, faced with the economic crisis triggered by the Covid and to avoid bankruptcies, the government relaxed the eligibility criteria for the partial activity scheme. It had thus reduced the validation times from 15 to 2 days for company requests, which no longer made it possible to carry out a priori checks.
Massive fraud attempts
In July 2021, the Court of Auditors pointed out that this had generated “on a large scale” massive attempts at fraud and scams, such as the creation of companies for the sole purpose of benefiting from payments for partial activity. on the basis of a false declaration of timetables and staff.
From May 2020, the State launched control plans. During this period (mainly 2020-2021), “more than 89,000 a posteriori checks and one million a priori checks were carried out (…) These checks gave rise to the launch of numerous actions before the administrative and judicial courts”, underlines the Ministry of Labour.
A higher cost
However, the amount of proven fraud remains relatively low compared to the overall cost of the support systems put in place by the State. In total, according to Dares, the statistical division of the Ministry of Labor, between March 2020 and June 2022, the cost for public administrations of partial activity expenses is estimated at around 35 billion euros. Nearly 6.7 million employees in March 2020 and up to 8.4 million in April 2020, at the peak of the first confinement, were able to benefit from the system.
In the fourth quarter of 2022, 98,000 employees still benefited on average each month from partial activity (compared to 43,000 employees on average in January 2020 before the crisis), according to the ministry.