Unemployment insurance: what changes with the new version of the reform

It is a reform of unemployment insurance revised and – barely – corrected that the Minister of Labor, Elisabeth Borne, presented this Tuesday, March 2 to the social partners, during a videoconference. Its entry into force, already postponed several times due to the health crisis, will still have to wait. On the other hand, the philosophy of the reform remains identical to that which had prevailed in 2019, in the ” world before », At a time when the steady fall in the unemployment rate made it possible to justify the tightening of compensation conditions, on the grounds of saving between 1 and 1.3 billion euros.

The reform was designed to navigate in good weather, as we go through a storm, even a hurricane, which will last for several more years. “, Underlines Jean-François Foucard, national secretary of the CFE-CGC (executives), while Matignon considers on the contrary that the new version of the reform has made it possible to” find the right adjustments and the right timing “.

The unspoken of the unemployment insurance reform

What will change? The most controversial points are maintained, but their entry into force is planned in stages.

1er July: a new method of calculation

The reform of unemployment insurance will start to take effect from 1er July. This date was retained ” in line with the vaccination strategy “Which allows us to hope for a return to better days this summer, explains Matignon. ” This is the moment when the sectors most affected by health measures can regain the prospect of normal functioning. Adds the Ministry of Labor. It is therefore on this date that the new method of calculating the “daily reference salary” (SJR) will come into force, which serves as the basis for calculating the amount of the allowance.

In addition to the expected savings, the executive defends “An issue of equity” because compensation is currently more favorable to people alternating short contracts and inactivity, than to those working continuously.

“We are facing three waves of unemployment”

Direct consequence: approximately 840,000 people (or 38% of benefit recipients) will have reduced compensation, according to Unédic calculations, which is confirmed by the Ministry of Labor, which estimates that “More than 800,000 people” will be affected by a decrease in the RLS. This decrease will be 20% on average, compared to what they would touch without the reform, according to Unédic.

To correct the device, the ministry has provided for a floor guaranteeing a minimum allowance, while the number of non-working days taken into account will be capped.

However, all the trade unions repeated their opposition to the reform on Tuesday. “It remains unfair, anachronistic, incoherent and unbalanced”, thus tweeted the number 1 of the CFDT Laurent Berger. According to this union, “ some job seekers, especially those who experience the most precariousness in their job, will see their allowance reduced by € 250 per month “.

From 1er October: tightening of access to compensation

To have access to unemployment benefit, it will be necessary to have worked 6 months during the last 24 months, instead of 4, which will exclude some of the current beneficiaries.

“The third wave of unemployment will affect people made redundant because their business is doing badly”

This tightening will come into effect no earlier than October 1. But it will also depend on an improvement in the labor market, which will be assessed over a period of six months from April 1: there must be both a drop in the number of job seekers in category A of 130,000 over six months and 2.7 million new hires over one month over four months. However, the French Observatory of Economic Conjunctures (OFCE) predicts on the contrary an increase in the unemployment rate to 10.6% at the end of 2021, against 8.1% before the pandemic. This aspect of the reform could therefore wait for better days. ” When the labor market has returned to a normalization path, certain parameters of the reform will reach the level of the 2019 reform. “, We justify the Ministry of Labor.

From 1er March: degression for executives

This is another aspect of the reform whose date of entry into force is suspended by the clause of ” return to better fortune “. It provides for a reduction in the allowance – a degression – for employees whose remunerations are the highest (4,500 euros per month gross, or approximately 3,500 euros net) and who are under 57 years of age. 90,000 people are affected each year.

The initial project was to reduce their compensation by 30% from the 7th month. But faced with rising unemployment, the government has decided that the degression will apply temporarily from the 9th month. The tightening will be triggered in the 7th month when economic conditions improve.

A bonus-malus for companies… after the presidential election

The reform was to create a ” bonus Malus “ on companies’ social contributions, in order to dissuade them from massively resorting to short contracts. Only companies with at least 11 employees are concerned, in seven sectors greedy for precarious contracts (accommodation and catering, agri-food, transport, in particular).

Unemployment: “For young people, the impact of the crisis is much stronger”

But the entry into force of the bonus-malus is postponed: after a phase of observation of companies, which will begin on 1er July, this part of the reform will be applied from September 2022. That is to say, well after the presidential election of April-May 2022. In other words, its effective application will depend on the outcome of the ballot. The executive, for its part, underlines that the opening of the observation period for companies should already help to fight against the abusive use of short contracts.

Light version, then full version

We have moved on almost all the parameters of the reform to find the balance that seems to us to be the right one “, Estimates one at the Ministry of Labor. Insufficient to convince Force Ouvrière:

In essence, the Minister announced that the reform of unemployment insurance would be implemented, initially in a “light” version from July 1, 2021, and secondly in a “full” version. », Comments Michel Beaugas, confederal secretary of FO, in a press release.

Under the guise of the objectives of combating insecurity and short contracts, of overhauling the labor market, all the measures proposed will have a serious impact on the rights of job seekers.

Even Antoine Foucher, who was the conductor of the 2019 reform when he was Muriel Pénicaud’s chief of staff, expresses his reservations:

“It is akin to a roll of the dice, because no one knows what the job market will look like after the Covid-19 epidemic”, he said in an interview with “Le Monde”.

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