Unemployment insurance: the executive could have to reform quickly

Not even launched yet, the negotiation between social partners on the reform of unemployment insurance has lead in the wing. After the Medef which asked the State to regain control because it does not believe in a compromise with the unions, it is the turn of the CFDT to refuse to participate. “The government wants to adjust the amount of benefits (…) according to the unemployment rate, but this varies from one territory to another. It doesn’t make sense, it’s pure ideology and it’s ineffective. We will not negotiate,” said its secretary general, Laurent Berger, to “Le Monde”.

If, on the other hand, the government is ready to open “the possibility for trade unions and employers to discuss the support and training of job seekers, the solutions to be found to remove the obstacles to hiring – linked to the lack of housing, the absence of public transport or childcare problems…”, so “we say banco”, he launched.

A step further

The Council of Ministers next week must examine a bill postponing until December 31, 2023 at the latest the rules of compensation resulting from the reform of 2019. Coming into force in 2021 due to Covid and legal disputes, they fall on October 31 next. For the executive, this delay should make it possible to go a step further by making them stick to the economic situation: more or less protective depending on whether employment decreases or increases.

“The bill will be presented to the Council of Ministers” and “we will seize the social partners immediately afterwards, confirmed the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, this Tuesday at the Medef summer university. We are convinced that incentive rules must be put in place, it is quite unacceptable and even unbearable to still have an unemployment rate of 7.4% and to have at the same time a unanimous return from business leaders on recruitment difficulties. »

In his view, “the question of the level of compensation is not necessarily the right one, it is rather the criteria for access to compensation at the full rate and the duration of compensation at the full rate which can be talking points. “This issue of criteria, we want the social partners to take up,” he added.

Framing letter

Everything will depend on its wording but, given the positions of the two heavyweights of the unions and the employers, the fate of the orientation document that the government will have to send them as a basis for negotiation, seems sealed. It is all the more so a priori as FO, CGT, CFTC and CGC, on the employee side, will display the same differences vis-à-vis the CPME and the U2P, on the employer side.

Determined to act quickly because it makes this reform one of the keys to full employment and because there is an urgent need to tackle labor shortages, the executive will then be able to regain control to impose its views and change compensation rules. Article 1 of the bill gives it the possibility of doing so “temporarily” and “on an exceptional basis” until the end of 2023 at the latest. How? By taking a decree in Council of State, as it did in 2018 in the wake of the failure of negotiations between the social partners. It remains to vote on the text. Answer at the beginning of October, since it will be the first to pass through Parliament.

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