The government hopes for 100,000 to 150,000 extra return to work by 2023 thanks to the reduction in the duration of compensation.
Towards the unemployed, the government once again sharpens its tone. After more than a month of consultations, the executive board has finally unveiled its unemployment insurance reform. During a meeting at the Hôtel du Châtelet on Monday morning, Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt presented to satisfied employers and very upset unions the agreed arbitration procedures to vary the compensation of the unemployed according to the economic situation.
Either to reinforce countercyclicality of the regime promised by Emmanuel Macron during his presidential campaign in 2022. And as expected, this change – which should make it possible to reach a situation of full employment faster – will not be painless for the unemployed. From 1 February 2023, the duration of the compensation, for those who lose their work, thus decreases by 25% with a minimum floor of six months. A doomed cliffhanger” unacceptableof all trade unions.
Specifically, an unemployed person who, for example, would have received 24 months of compensation under the current scheme, will only be eligible for 18 months of help from the beginning of next year if unemployment remains below 9%. A mechanism of termination of rights supplementwill, however, better protect jobseekers in the event of a negative turn in the labor market.
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4.4 billion in savings
If the unemployment rate exceeds the 9% mark – the tipping point set by the government – the duration of the compensation will return to the current level. Likewise if unemployment rises by 0.8 points in the same quarter, which has only happened four times since 1975, including three times during the Covid period. Conversely, if unemployment falls below 9% – three quarters in a row this time – the duration of compensation is reduced by 25% again.
With this mechanism, which depends directly on the health of the labor market, the executive board keeps its line, namely tightened unemployment insurance when too many jobs are unfilled, and more generous when the number of job seekers is high. ” The drop in unemployment for several quarters and the recruitment difficulties that remain today justify the change of these rules, which we wanted to be simple and readable.“, Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt explained at the end of the meeting. While vagueness still remained on certain points, the reform will ultimately not be territorialised. In the executive’s view, the regional level was not relevant, and an implementation at the level of the employment pool would have been “too complicated“. In addition, the reform will not apply in the overseas territories and will not affect intermittent entertainers, fishermen, dock workers or even expatriates.
Despite these few exceptions, the government believes that the new rules will make it possible to pool between “100,000 and 150,000 additional job returns throughout 2023“, clarified the minister. They should also make it possible to generate almost 4.4 billion euros in savings every year at breakneck speed, according to forecasts from Unédic, the body in charge of the scheme.
“We have one of the most generous systems in Europe. In many countries, the duration of compensation is shorter than in France. We can mention Germany, Portugal, Italy or the United Kingdom», argues Olivier Dussopt. The minister believes that this new philosophy will make it possible to encourage the unemployed more strongly and quickly to return to work. Statistics show that return to work is particularly high in the first four months of compensation and the last six months before rights end. “Our aim was therefore to bring these two periods closer together” explains the minister.
If Medef, through the voice of Hubert Mongon, sees in this reform a mechanism that will “in the right direction», the music is very different on the union side. At Force Ouvrière, we apologizea breach of the country’s social contract» and a ruthlessness of «the most uncertain“. “It will not be good to be unemployed in 2023. And we have understood that if the unemployment situation improves in the future, the government will not hesitate to continue this reduction in the duration of the compensationsaid the union’s employment expert, Michel Beaugas. In fact, the Minister of Labor has already hinted at the possibility of tightening the screw even more and going as far as a 40% reduction of the duration of the return to work assistance.(ARE) at an unemployment rate of around 5%.
“This reform has only one economic purpose and nothing else. Job seekers are only seen as a budget item“, also laments Éric Courpotin from the CFTC. CGT, she believes this fifteenth adjustment is a real blow to seniors.”who will lose up to nine months compensation“, and”will be more quickly exposed and influenced by social minima“, explained Denis Gravouil.
Just as in 2021, the unions will not hesitate to bring the issue to the Council of State. “We will look at how the implementing decree will be drafted and if there is reason to attack it, we will attack itMichel Beaugas has already warned. This is enough to strain the relationship between a government and the social partners, who must necessarily return to the consultation path in 2023 to negotiate a new unemployment insurance agreement to be applied from January 1, 2024. If the unions hope to disappear this graduation system, the minister has already assured that he would be present in “framing letterforwarded by the government. The social partners will also be invited from the beginning of 2023 to work with the new system management. A-kasse’s dossier is therefore far from complete.
Nupes disputes the text’s constitutionality
Deputies for Nupe’s parliamentary groups filed an appeal on Monday to challenge the entire bill before the Constitutional Council.“on determining emergency measures regarding the functioning of the labor market with a view to full employment”. They believe that the text“violates the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, in particular the principle of fraternity”.
According to them, the government’s option is to decide on the rules for unemployment insurance by decree.“by bypassing the social partners calls into question the employees’ right to participate in the collective determination of their working conditions”. With regard to the introduction of “countercyclicality” (modulating allocations according to the economic situation), it“deprives the insured of rights to which they have nevertheless contributed”