National Union of Liberal Professions (UNAPL)
How the French National Union of Liberal Professionals (UNAPL) has helped professional businesses during the COVID-19 crisis:
- Solidarity Funds: self-employed professionals ("liberal professionals") were forgotten in the first version of the decree establishing this fund. Thanks to UNAPL's action, they were included as beneficiaries.
- Support measures and access to the partial unemployment benefits scheme: self‑employed professionals were initially not included in this scheme either. They were eventually included in it thanks to UNAPL.
- Payment of daily allowances under the health insurance scheme for the care of children under 16 years of age: UNAPL has ensured that liberal professionals – except for health professionals who are already covered – can receive the daily allowance like other self‑employed workers.
- Publishing sectoral guides by profession on the Ministry of Labour's website to provide support during the process of easing the lockdown.
- Publishing an online practical guide to implementing the economic and social measures taken by the public authorities in self-employed professional businesses (in question/answer format).
- Providing information to businesses on the legal provisions relating to COVID-19 (social, fiscal etc.), via the Association for the Development of Social Dialogue and Gender Mainstreaming in the Liberal Professions Sector (ADSPL) and the regional joint committees for the liberal professions (CPRPL).
- Distance learning for professional entrepreneurs: with the help of the National Office for Information, Training and Formalities for the Liberal Professions (ONIFF-PL), UNAPL set up training on the following subjects: "How to maintain cash flow?", "Health at work", "Reinventing your business in response to the crisis", "Managing human resources during and after the crisis", etc.
In addition, UNAPL endorsed the idea of enabling supplementary pension funds for the liberal professions to support professional entrepreneurs by paying them back their contributions from 2019, following the example of the primary funds. At present, this proposal seems to have encountered a primarily legal obstacle.
Above all, UNAPL suggested to the Minister for Economy and Finance, Bruno Lemaire, who has been very supportive of the idea, that the tax advantages for individuals who invest in corporations with share capital be extended to those who invest in sole proprietorships without share capital. This proposal would be of great interest to very small professional businesses, as it would make it possible to mobilise savings to support the economy.