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Abandonment of position, rejection of CDI… what will change the unemployment insurance law

A hardened text in connection with debates in the National Assembly and the Senate. This Wednesday, November 9, deputies and senators meeting in a joint committee reached a compromise on the government’s bill “on emergency measures in connection with the functioning of the labor market with a view to full employment”. Originally, this text had only planned to pave the way for the new unemployment insurance reform that Emmanuel Macron has implemented since his campaign for the presidential election, as well as to strengthen the validation of acquired knowledge through experience (VAE ). However, during the consideration of the bill in the National Assembly and the Senate, other provisions were introduced – some of them very strict. Here are the measures that were finally passed by parliamentarians on Wednesday.

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Top start for the new unemployment insurance reform

The first article of the bill provides for the extension until December 31, 2023 of the main current rules for unemployment insurance (new method of calculating benefits, tightened conditions for opening a new right, accelerated degression of benefits for the highest income), which is expected to end on 1 November. The deadline had been the subject of debate during the consideration of the text in Parliament: while the government and deputies wanted to set it to 31 December 2023, the Senate tried to bring it back to 31 August. In the end, it was the first version that was chosen.

Above all, this article allows the government to change the unemployment insurance rules by decree from November 1, 2022. This text therefore paves the way for the new unemployment insurance reform carried out by the executive board, which plans to adjust compensation rules according to economic conditions. The idea would be to tighten them in the event of an upswing in the labor market and to relax them when the situation worsens.

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After a phase of consultation – and not negotiation – with the social partners, the government will decide by decree on the parameters of this new reform, with a view to entry into force at the beginning of 2023. The Minister of Labour, Olivier Dussopt, has already put forward a few ideas: It would not be a question of changing the size of unemployment benefits in relation to the situation on the labor market, but the maximum duration of the compensation (currently 24 months) or the conditions for entitlement to compensation (currently you must have worked 6 months out of the last 24 months to qualify for unemployment).

It also remains to be seen whether the unemployment benefit rules will be territorialised depending on the situation on the labor market in the individual region. This question must also be decided after consultation with the social partners. Meanwhile, within the framework of the “full employment” bill, parliamentarians have validated the idea of ​​a differentiated application for the overseas territories.

Bonus-malus for employers extended until mid-2024

The bill also plans to expand another flagship measure in the a-kassere form: bonus-malus for certain employers. This measure, which consists of modulating employer contributions to unemployment insurance according to employers’ use of short-term contracts, is extended until 31 August 2024. As a reminder, this system has been used since 1 September in seven high-demand sectors in short-term contracts*. Those who abuse it pay a fine (up to 5.05% of contributions against 4.05% in normal times) and good students benefit from a bonus (contributions reduced to 3%).

Abandonment of position is considered a “presumption of resignation”

As part of the consideration of the bill in the National Assembly, deputies introduced by amendment and with the support of the government a (very) controversial measure. This is to establish a “presumption of resignation by the employee when he leaves his position voluntarily”. This will be conditional on a prior opening notice from the employer to his employee to return to his work. The senators strengthened the measure by planning to allow employers to set the period after which the employee is presumed to have resigned in the event of a resignation. “The employee who has voluntarily given up his position and does not return to work after receiving a formal letter to justify his absence and resume his position, by registered letter or by hand-delivered letter against dismissal, within the deadline that is determined by the ’employer, is presumed to have resigned at the end of this period’, reads the text adopted by the Senate on 25 October. A version that the joint committee has preserved on Wednesday.

As a reminder, an employee is not currently considered to have resigned in the event of a job termination. But today, giving up a position very often leads to dismissal and therefore gives employees the opportunity to receive unemployment benefits. Conversely, except in exceptional cases, termination does not allow you to be compensated by Pôle emploi. In summary, the purpose of the measure is therefore to bring the payment of unemployment benefits to an end in the event of job termination. However, a (small) protection is provided for employees: the text creates an accelerated procedure to reverse the presumption of resignation at the labor court. The judges will have a period of one month after the date of the referral from the employee to make a decision.

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Cessation of daily allowance after two CDI refusals

The government was initially against it. During the processing of the text in the Senate, the upper house of Parliament further tightened access to unemployment benefits. In fact, it planned to exclude jobseekers from unemployment insurance, which rejected three CDI proposals at the end of a CDD. The same applies to temporary workers who do not accept a CDI offered for the position they occupy during their mission. But it is a slightly different version, which was adopted by deputies and senators who met in a joint joint committee on Wednesday. The bill will henceforth provide for the abolition of unemployment benefits if a CDI proposal is rejected twice after a CDD or a temporary mission.

Job cuts and refusal of permanent contracts are situations that “even if they are not massive, seriously disrupt the activity of companies with a small workforce in an already particularly difficult economic context and lack of labor”, explains Marc Ferracci, Renaissance deputy and draftsman of the bill . in a press release.

New for the “multi-replacement” fixed-term contract and the temporary permanent employment

During the review of the text in the National Assembly, deputies added another provision: the trial of CDD “multi-replacement”, which makes it possible with a single contract to recruit a person to replace several employees in the same company, will be reactivated. This experiment, which was launched in 2019 in eleven sectors of activity (health, social and medico-social, food industry, road transport, personal services, etc.), ended on December 31, 2020. However, with the health crisis, companies targeting themselves by this mechanism have not really been able take advantage of it. The deputies therefore decided to relaunch the experiment until 31 December 2024 in the same sectors.

In addition, the parliamentarians took advantage of the review of the text in the joint mixed committee this Wednesday to further enrich the bill with a measure regarding the temporary CDI, a contract that allows a worker to benefit from the security of a CDI while you benefit from the flexibility of the interim period. Deputies and senators have planned to extend the maximum duration of this employment contract beyond 36 months.

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Validation of learning through reformed experience

Finally, the bill plans to reform the validation of learning through experience (VAE), a system launched in 2002 that allows French people who have left basic education (high school, high school, university, school, etc.) without a diploma to appreciate the value. and to have their professional skills recognized throughout their lives. This requires the creation of a file, which is then examined by a jury, the latter validating or not obtaining the title, diploma or certification in question.

The problem is that this entity, complex, does not meet its audience. The management therefore wants to give a boost to VAE. An experiment has already been launched in 2021 with the aim of facilitating access to the system (more frequent jury dates, accelerated support process, etc.) for people who want to move towards a career in old age or towards care and care assistants. The “full employment” bill plans to go further, extending this experiment to care workers. The aim is to enable them to recognize the skills they have acquired in caring for a relative or dying relative, thereby gaining easier access to jobs in the health and social care sector.

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In addition, the government plans, via an amendment to the bill, to create a “public VAE service” in which the state, Pôle emploi, the regions, professional transition associations and competence operators will participate. This service will promote the system, inform VAE candidates, support them in their journey, coordinate the interventions of the various VAE actors and carry out statistical monitoring.

The Joint Committee also decided on the principle of experimenting with a professionalization contract combining work-study and VAE, as well as the creation of a “reverse VAE” system. Its aim will be to make the processes of skills acquisition through employment and training on the one hand and recognition of skills on the other.

Finally, an implementing decree will complete the series of measures aimed at democratizing access to the VAE and will in particular remove the minimum experience required to access the system (one year of full-time experience, i.e. 1,607 hours, uninterrupted or not).

* The seven sectors covered by bonus-malus on short contracts are: food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing; production and distribution of water, sanitation, waste management and pollution; accommodation and catering; transportation and storage; manufacture of rubber and plastic products and other non-metallic mineral products; the woodworking, paper and printing industries; other professional, scientific and technical activities, such as advertising.

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