Economy How school closures are disrupting businesses

How school closures are disrupting businesses


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648x415 teleecole teletravail temps bon temps premier confinement illustration

Tele-school and telework at the same time: the good times of the first confinement. (drawing) – Stephane ALLAMAN / SIPA

  • Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday the closure of schools for a week and a reorganization of the spring school holidays.
  • In just a few days, companies have to organize themselves in the face of many absences.
  • Patronage and HRD want to believe that this is the last boost before the return to a more normal life.

The closing of schools is not just a nightmare for parents, it is also that of businesses. It is not for nothing that the government has left them open for so long. Beyond the fundamental questions of the psychological well-being of children and the difficulties of distance learning, the closure of schools is disrupting businesses. Because many parents are asking for leave, time off or even partial unemployment for childcare. “Last year, it was a massive phenomenon, the number of parents arrested rose very, very high at one point,” remembers Eric Chevée, vice-president of the Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CPME), from 20 Minutes.

For now, we are still holding our breath. The field lifts are not yet there, the schools do not actually close until Tuesday, the day after the Easter Monday holiday. But scalded cat fears cold water: companies have already experienced such a situation, and on a larger scale, during the first confinement. The experience is there. “We can build on what was done last year, in particular the implementation of the partial activity. Many companies, human resources managers had never used the partial activity ”, reminds 20 Minutes Audrey Richard, president of the National Association of HRDs (ANDRH).

Not the same situation as in spring 2020

Whatever happens, the coming period will be synonymous with a slowdown in activity. “Any absence in a structure is detrimental and the more it is a small structure, the more it is detrimental”, details the union official for small businesses. In any case, with regard to the presidential announcements, companies do not have much choice. “There will be an acceptance of a degraded activity but the only subject of companies is to continue the business”, judge Audrey Richard.

The situation this year is a little different from last year, however. In 2020, at least at the start of the first confinement, economic activity was extremely slow, if not almost stopped. Construction and industry were almost at a standstill. So much so that the immense disorganization linked to the confinement and the closure of schools was almost less detrimental. Today, the economy is far from being at a standstill despite the “degraded mode”, the disorganization will not have the same consequences.

“We must rely on the immense imagination of the entrepreneur”

How to organize? In larger companies, we are more likely to find an RS manager but not always a service. To cope with isolation, solidarity is essential, and this is the job of the ANDRH (national association of HRDs) in general. But for a year now, with the distance, it is more by What’s app groups that good practices have been shared. “I can guarantee you this is crazy stuff. As soon as someone has a difficulty he can send his question and in the second there is a question. There is enormous solidarity, ”describes Audrey Richard.

In small companies it is never easy because few positions are interchangeable and even if we call on temporary workers, training someone, moreover for just a few days, is not easy. “You have to rely on the immense imagination of the entrepreneur, his network, former interns, former company employees, etc.”, notes Eric Chevée. But DIY will quickly find its limits. “There, it is absolutely essential that it does not go beyond the spring holidays and I believe that the executive has understood this well”, explains Eric Chevée.

If we are to believe our two interlocutors, all this may not be hanging by a thread but at least at the end of Emmanuel Macron’s speech. The horizon, the hope given by the President of the Republic, it has not fallen on deaf ears. “We really feel in the lifts that what keeps us going is that it’s the last little effort to make,” says Audrey Richard. And the counterpart, in a way, for the effort required of companies, for Eric Chevée, is “a flawless effectiveness of the State on vaccination”. See you at the beginning of May to confirm that it was indeed the last boost.



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