To reform unemployment insurance, the government wants to take inspiration from Canada

UNEMPLOYMENT – Extend the reform by setting a goal: return all rules, especially compensations, to return to work. The Minister of Labour, Olivier Dussopt, confirmed, in an interview with Parisian published on Tuesday, July 26, the first axes and lines of thought for the new reform of unemployment insurance, announced by Emmanuel Macron during his interview on July 14.

It will be subject to consultation with the social partners “from the beginning of the school year”, after the first round of discussions to manage the scheme. The text should also be first on the menu of the Parliament when it returns from the summer break, from the beginning of October.

And before these discussions, the government seems to have found inspiration abroad. “Our compensation rules must take into account the state of the labor market, as is done, for example, Canada”, explained the daily newspaper the former Minister of the Budget, who replaced Élisabeth Borne rue de Grenelle. “When things are going well, we tighten the rules and, when things are not going well, we relax them”, he added, recalling that the first part of the reform, which tightens the conditions for compensation, ends in November 1, 2022 and that it should be extended.

Towards an evolutionary payoff?

New rules subject to economic conditions and the dynamics of the labor market, what does that mean? “This evaluation will go through criteria, such as several consecutive quarters with work progress, or a committee that gives us an opinion. The terms have not been fixed”, slips Olivier Dussopt, while his ministry announced this Wednesday, July 27 a further decrease in the number of unemployed registered at the Pôle emploi between April and June (3,165,900 in category A, a decrease of 15, 1% over a year, and 5,436,100 for A, B and C, ie -8.9% a year).

“The latest reform changes the daily reference wage and the time for recharging rights. The tracks can be opened, the duration of the compensation and the reduction of its nature”, added the Minister. In Canada, there is no degressivity in the amount of compensation linked to the unemployment rate. On the other hand, the number of working hours required to unlock one’s rights and the duration of the payment varies at the level of each province according to the health of the labor market.

The higher the unemployment rate, the lower the number of hours needed to unlock a person’s rights. In a region with an unemployment rate below 6%, you must have worked 700 hours to qualify for unemployment compensation, compared to 525 if this rate is between 10.1 and 11%.

By the same philosophy, the higher the unemployment rate, the longer the compensation period. “So, a person who works 700 hours will be eligible for 14 weeks of compensation if they live in a region with an unemployment rate of less than 6%, while they will be eligible for 36 weeks which is paid in a region with an unemployment rate of more than 16%”, explains the Unédic study.

“In Canada, 40% of job seekers remain unemployed for less than a month, and only 7% are there for more than a year. In France, it is the exact opposite!”, argues the Parisian Éric Chevée is the vice-president of the Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (CPME), an employers’ organization that defends and pushes this idea to deal with the “recruitment tensions” reported by employers in many sectors.

“The labor market doesn’t work like that”

A doctrine not shared by all economists and trade unions. Many of them warn of a model that does not necessarily transfer to the particularities of economic activity and the labor market in France, or even to the level of training of our job seekers. “The labor market does not work like that”, explained at the end of last week the number two of the CFDT, Marylise Léon, to our colleagues from world.

“In most cases, labor problems in companies refer to the lack of skills, working conditions and pay and also the fact that, unfortunately, many employers do not know how to recruit”, added he. The CGT is afraid for its part of a reform similar to further “pauperization” for the unemployed and to establish “reduced rights”.

The unions also pointed to the fact that the government has not yet assessed the impact of the measures implemented from 2021 before “moving on” with the unemployment insurance reform. In addition, by the end of 2021, 30% of people registered at Pôle emploi will not be paid. The reduction of the duration of the rights – when the unemployment rate decreases – will therefore not encourage them to accept job offers.

See also at The HuffPost: Ciotti’s “snub” comes from tie-wearing NUPES representatives

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