Contested, postponed, amended, the controversial reform of unemployment insurance has had a most chaotic course. Almost two years after the start of its implementation, it takes a further step, Wednesday 1is December, with the entry into force of its last component, tightening access to compensation.
The minimum working time to be compensated will go from four to six months over the last twenty-four months (thirty-six months for those over 53). This will apply “To workers deprived of employment whose employment contract ends as of this date”, according to the decree published in Official newspaper. This new method of calculation – which does not concern job seekers already receiving compensation – will penalize job seekers alternating unemployment and activity, “The permitters”.
This measure, already applied from November 2019 to July 2020, before being suspended by the crisis, was subject to a clause of “Return to better fortune” : a drop of 130,000 unemployed over six months and 2.7 million new hires over one month cumulatively over four months. These conditions were largely met in 1is October, with 239,000 fewer job seekers and 3.28 million hires, according to the labor ministry.
According to the Unédic impact study carried out in April, this passage from four to six months will lead, during the first year of application to delay the opening of rights to 475,000 people, especially young people or seasonal workers who multiply short contracts (CDD or temporary assignments), often with the same employer.
But for the Minister of Labor, Elisabeth Borne, “Recourse to short contracts is a phenomenon largely independent of the economic situation” and is due to “Habits of actors”, which can be modified by adjusting the parameters of unemployment insurance. “The minimum duration of employment giving entitlement to unemployment insurance directly influences the duration of contracts offered by employers”, said Mme Borne during a hearing in June in the Senate, which the unions hardly believe.
According to a comparative study by Unédic, France was, with four months, one of the most generous countries in Europe, but the joint body calls for ” The precaution “ as for the comparison, which should not be carried out on a single compensation parameter.
Tightened reduction in allowances
In accordance with the same clause of “Return to better fortune”, the degression of benefits is tightened for employees under 57 years of age who had an income of more than 4,500 euros gross per month (or approximately 3,500 euros net). Since 1is July, this 30% degression applied from the ninth month (i.e. March 2022 in practice). It will now be at the end of the seventh month.
This measure, which will affect fewer people (60,000 people in 2022, according to Unédic) is considered “Demagogic” and “Ineffective” by the union of executives CFE-CGC, at the forefront of the case. “France is one of the only countries to be so generous in terms of high salaries in terms of compensation”, responds Elisabeth Borne.
As of November 2020, the Council of State had found nothing to complain about, neither on the degression nor on the opening of rights, deeming it legitimate for the State to set thresholds, to the chagrin of the unions. They are still waiting, but without much hope, for the substantive decision, in the coming days, of the highest administrative court on the reform of the calculation of unemployment benefit. But, given that the public rapporteur rejected the union arguments during the public hearing, Denis Gravouil (CGT) recognizes that ” it’s bad beginning “.
Two months after the entry into force of this measure, Pôle emploi has not communicated any figures concerning the job seekers concerned by it, the effects of which will only be felt very gradually. “For the moment, we have no feedback at the user level. We may have some in December / January. Internally, things get a bit stuck for our IT system and the compensation advisers, who have to juggle several calculation rules ”, explains David Vallaperta, CFDT representative at the central CSE of Pôle emploi.
According to Unédic, the overall reform of unemployment insurance should generate lower spending, around 1.9 billion in 2022, then 2.2 billion in 2023.