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French labour ministry says 1.2 mln workers on partial unemployment

PARIS, March 25 (Reuters) - Nearly 100,000 French companies have asked the government to reimburse them for putting 1.2 million workers on shorter or zero hours since the coronavirus outbreak, France's Labour Ministry said on Wednesday.

Under the scheme, the government reimburses companies that reduce workers' hours or tell them not to come in but keep them on the payroll. The ministry said the latest numbers would cost the state 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion).

In the space of just the previous two days, 60,000 companies had requested coverage from the scheme for 500,000 workers. ($1 = 0.9194 euros) (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Kevin Liffey)