Unemployment insurance reform: new contested rules

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Unemployment insurance is about to experience a turning point. This Monday, November 21, 2022, the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt revealed to the social partners the content of the reform of this allowance. The goal, unemployment insurance “stricter when too many jobs are unfilled, more generous when unemployment is high”, as Emmanuel Macron promised during the presidential campaign.

On Thursday, November 17, the bill “on emergency measures” with a view to “full employment” was voted on. In particular, it allows the government to modify, by decree, certain rules according to economic conjecture, recalls franceinfo.

At present, and until this reform is put in place, the duration of compensation for job seekers is decided according to the number of days worked over the last two years, or three for those over 53 year. Concretely, if a person finds himself unemployed after a two-year contract, he will be able to claim 24 months of unemployment compensation.

It is this duration of compensation that the government wishes to modify with the reform. Indeed, that of job seekers opening rights from February 1, 2023 will be reduced by 25% with a minimum floor of 6 months. Thus, an unemployed person who could so far claim compensation for 12 months would only receive 9, explains Le Monde.

The reform also provides for variations in this duration depending on the labor market situation. If its state is “red”, this duration will be longer than if it is “green”. But, concretely, what form will that take?

Job seekers opening rights from 1 February 2023 will see their duration of compensation vary depending on the state of the labor market. In concrete terms, the 25% reduction will take effect when the situation is considered to be good.

In the opposite case, if the state of the labor market is “red”, the duration of compensation will return to normal. This will only happen when the unemployment rate is above 9% or when it increases by 0.8 points over a quarter.

Today, with an unemployment rate of 7.3% according to INSEE, down or almost stable since September, the state of the labor market is “green”. Thus, if the reform took effect immediately, the duration of compensation would be reduced by 25%.

Faced with this reform, the social partners did not fail to react. Between employers and unions, opinions differ.

“It is a scandal !” lambasted Michel Beaugas, confederal secretary of Force Ouvrière after a meeting at the Ministry of Labor. “The government has just announced a general reduction in rights of 25%,” he added, as reported by Le Monde. An opinion also shared by Denis Gravouil, member of the CGT who denounces a “totally unacceptable” reform.

On the employers’ side, the melody is very different since Hubert Mongon, from the Medef, meanwhile welcomed a reform which is going “in the right direction”. Faced with criticism, Olivier Dussopt nevertheless recalled during a press conference: “We are going to keep one of the most generous systems in Europe”.