This is a campaign promise from Emmanuel Macron. Modulate unemployment insurance according to economic conditions, so that it is “stricter when too many jobs are unfilled, more generous when unemployment is high”, explained the head of state. Already passed by the deputies, the bill containing this reform was passed on Wednesday morning in the Senate in the social committee, before being adopted at the meeting on 25 October.
Entry into force in early 2023
The bill initially provides the opportunity to expand the current rules for the social security fund, as a result of the 2019 reform, which tightened the access conditions. For the graduation, the text plans to allow the government to decide by decree what should be the criteria that make it possible to modulate the rights, while leaving it to the unions and employers to try to agree on the subject in a consultation phase. But the government aims to come into effect in early 2023 regardless.
The Labor Minister, Olivier Dussopt, assures that the government will not affect the “compensation amount”, but rather the conditions for entering the scheme (six months out of 24 today) or the duration of the compensation. As he explained during his hearing in the Senate, he also wants a “differentiated application” to the overseas departments where the economic indicators are significantly different.
“We must do everything to make the world of work more fluid”
If he generally supports the text, Olivier Henno, co-author of the text with Senator LR Frédérique Puissat, points to the lack of “impact study” – a complaint that parliamentarians condemn on many texts – whether “on the 2019 reform” or “on countercyclicality (i.e. graduation according to the labor market, editor’s note), where we don’t have that much”. He insists:
At the time we discuss this law, we have relatively little data on the economic and social consequences of the 2019 reform.
Basically, the LR/centrist senatorial majority shares this desire for graduation according to the economic situation. “In principle we understand the logic, it is to make the labor market more fluid, because we have to recognize that we still have many unfilled jobs and we have to do everything to make the world of work more fluid.” argues UDI senator Olivier Henno. But “on the countercyclical, we will be extremely vigilant”, assures the centrist, for whom the reform should not be synonymous with “levelling”.
In the committee, the senators wanted to enshrine the principle in law and always leave the details to a decree. The amendment specifically states that “the conditions of previous activity for the opening or reloading of rights and the duration of rights to the insurance benefit can be modulated taking into account economic indicators of employment and the functioning of the labor market.
Grading of rights: voting for this text is equivalent to “giving a blank check to the government”, condemns Monique Lubin (PS)
Socialist Monique Lubin points to a bill that “tightens the rules”, with “an extremely negative view of job seekers”. She adds:
It is a text that horribly stigmatizes job seekers.
Regarding graduation, “the government is navigating in sight when we see the first consultations. It will be according to what criteria? asks the socialist senator, according to whom voting for this text is equivalent to “giving a blank check, a blank check to the government”, which can then define the details of the reform if the discussions fail. “Social partners and the government will have a very difficult time agreeing on countercyclicality”, according to Monique Lubin.
“The framework letter says where we start from and where we need to get there. And we just leave the choice of path to the social partners,’ condemns the centre’s Olivier Henno
In the committee, the senators in the senatorial majority wanted to send a message of confidence in jointism. “There is a change that has been voted on in the committee, which is fundamental, it is to abandon the framework letter and return to an orientation letter, which means that we mark our attachment to equal representation, social dialogue, respect for mediators”, maintains Olivier Henno. But the framework letter states where we start from and where we must reach. And we just leave the choice of path to the social partners. The orientation letter marks orientations, but does not anticipate the conclusion”, defends Senator UDI from North, “we leave the installation of operability to the social partners”. He recalls the spirit of a-kasse and joint action, which wants that “it is up to the social partners to manage this, and possibly for the state to intervene if there is a blockage. But it is not up to the state to define the contours”. But for Olivier Henno, “the state is too interventionist”.
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A point where he should at least agree with the socialist Monique Lubin. “It is a continuity of the government’s takeover of the unemployment insurance to the detriment of the social partners”, especially about the reform of 2019 (applied at the end of 2021 due to the covid-19 crisis). “The government tells us that it is absolutely necessary to expand the rules introduced, because otherwise the claimants will no longer receive compensation on 1.eh November. The string is a bit thick,” points out Senator PS.
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Monique Lubin accuses the Senate court of “significantly tightening” the rules on unfilled jobs
On the other hand, Monique Lubin accuses “the senatorial court” of having “significantly tightened” the rules on unfilled jobs. According to the text of the commission, “if three CDIs are rejected (at the end of the CDD, during the last twelve months, in the same position or a similar job, ed. note), we are no longer entitled to unemployment. It is like in the case of job closure (which no longer opens the right to unemployment, ed. note), an addition from the Danish Parliament. One of the rapporteurs tells me that it is more and more frequent. I got information from lawyers specializing in labor law. In reality isn’t it documented by anything! But it sets up strict measures for people who have no choice but to leave their jobs, such as employees who are no longer paid when the employer does not take redundancy measures. And what about moral harassment or sexual harassment , in very small companies where there are no unions and where employees cannot turn to people for help and who are suffering? After a while they can’t take it anymore and want to give up their position. Going back to oh it’s very difficult,” condemns Monique Lubin.
Regarding CDI’s refusal, “there is a reality in the world of work. There is an abuse of job termination, an abuse of CDI refusal, an abuse of contractual terminations”, replies Olivier Henno, “we both have to rehabilitate the termination. And to think about , that the social security fund is actually a social security fund. When we have proposals for one, two or three CDIs, we will not be harmed in employment. And there are many professions where there is a shortage of labour.
Bonus-malus for companies halved
Regarding the bonus-malus, decided in 2019, which aims to limit the use of short contracts by modulating employers’ social security contributions, right-wing and center senators wanted to “limit the impact by halving the bonus-malus” for established companies , explains Olivier Henno, i.e. +/- 0.5 points of contribution, against +/- 1 point currently
The amendment, which emphasizes that fixed-term contracts only account for 2% of the contract’s expiry, also limits the termination of the contract considered to fixed-term contracts lasting less than or equal to one month, allowing the exclusion of the ends of a permanent contract, for whatever reason, and the ends of a temporary mission from the unit. “The senatorial right wing has eased a device that was not too restrictive,” points out socialist Monique Lubin.
The text also provides for the validation of acquired experience (VAE) for “carers and family carers”. This procedure, introduced in 2002, allows people without qualifications who have worked enough, even on a voluntary basis, to obtain a certification of skills. The aim is to give people who have looked after a dependent or disabled relative the opportunity to turn to geriatrics. At the assembly, deputies acted to create a real public service for VAE, associating the state, local authorities and Pôle emploi. In committee, the senators opened up the validation of acquired experience for any activity linked to a certification, to give “new impetus” to this system by going beyond the current approach of status.