Let us be inspired by the CoR in the reform of unemployment insurance
The macronists on the left are uncomfortable. Indeed, the first two explosive reforms of Macron’s second five-year term are clearly marked on the right. The first, unemployment insurance, aims to tighten the granting of benefits to encourage jobseekers to take the 700,000 jobs – according to Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire – that are unfilled. And the pension reform, which aims to push back the statutory retirement age, has been criticized by the entire left because it would hit low earners who enter the workforce early. Two reforms that are still being carried out Olivier Dussopt, Labor Minister, defector from the PS and President of the Territories of Progress… Not easy.
On unemployment insurance, the leaders of Territories of Progress, the party that brings together the “Left Macronists,” want to speak out. Without questioning the reform, they at least want to eliminate the dispute between the right, which accuses our system of laxity towards the unemployed, and the left, which denounces the holes in our social safety net. Published in this column by challenges, they formulate an interesting proposal: the establishment of an “Unemployment Insurance Council” modeled on the COR, the Pensions Orientation Council, which would defuse the debates with studies by undisputed experts. I’m not sure if that’s enough. The CoR’s work has not ended the heated controversy over pension reform. But at least they provided a valuable and widely used statistical knowledge base about our system. That’s it.
Create an unemployment insurance agency
“The unemployment insurance debate pits those who denounce its generosity squarely against those who bemoan its inadequacies. Both camps often rely on anecdotes, test cases or slamming frauds, but rarely on solid facts, statistically well documented, the only ones that can legitimize rules that apply to everyone. This worrying situation is logical in that neither the indicators nor the governance allow a clear and precise assessment of the functioning of the current system. Unédic is in less than ten lines and no government has ever produced a single one of the legally required annual reports on unemployment insurance administration. There is also no public monitoring data. systematic, detailed, precise, no cost accounting that sheds light on the impact of these unemployment insurance rules could weigh 40 billion euros a year.
All thoughtful thinking drowns in platitudes
If you can’t say anything, you can say anything without much risk of being contradicted. That’s the problem: Everyone has their – mostly bleeding – opinion on unemployment insurance, an eminently complex apparatus, all on the same level. Any reasonably elaborate reflection is quickly drowned in platitudes, borrowed ideas, stigma, and a plethora of solutions to problems that are poorly described at best. Why bother with reality or its absence when a few performative arguments from authority will suffice? The adjustment of rights to the situation or the recent controversy about giving up the job are no exceptions to these rules. The problem of the poor balance between supply and demand in jobs, in organizing life, in the costs of transport, housing or the hub of employment and training for seniors often remains in gray areas.
However, there are best practices that we can draw inspiration from to improve our unemployment insurance system. If there is anything to import from Canada, it is the Employment Insurance Commission, a tripartite organization established more than 75 years ago and within the scope of its very broad remit (defining contributions and compensation rules, revising parameters, etc.) publishes every year a very comprehensive “monitoring and evaluation report”.
Closer, with more limited powers, is the Pensions Guidance Council (COR), which brings together social partners, pensioners, families, concerned administrations and experts. Since 2000, its purpose has been to share facts, analysis, insights and regular reporting on the pension system. Thus, in these two cases, contrary to what is happening in our country with unemployment insurance, a factual base that is at the same time very complete, well-established, accessible to all and difficult to dispute is created, drawing a universe of possibilities . However, this does not prevent everyone from having their opinion, their values, their idea of what should or should not be done and the resulting priorities. The debate is therefore taking place where it should be, namely on the solutions and not on the facts.
Adoption of the model of COR, the Pension Orientation Council
It is necessary to create an Unemployment Insurance Council, a reflection and evaluation commission whose composition, tasks and powers are modeled on those of the CoR. The social partners could feel dispossessed of control over the main parity system that persists in our welfare system. A multi-party council Equipped with specifications similar to those of the CoR, it appears to be a balanced option, guaranteeing continuous monitoring of the program’s operational management, a common diagnosis and more mutually agreed negotiation objectives, all leading to a more rational and softened development. Joint management would regain leeway, with the state in turn providing the objectified and rigorous leadership it desires without actually practicing.
Aude-de-Castet (Normandy Regional Delegate and National Spokesperson for Territories of Progress) etc Jean Marc Pasquet (Regional delegate of the Ile-de-France and future national delegate of the Territories of Progress).
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