Unemployment Insurance Reform: Time for the National Assembly Vote

Unemployment Insurance Reform: Time for the National Assembly Vote

With the text in sight for the first time in the National Assembly this new school year, MPs are preparing to vote on Tuesday at first reading on an iconic bill that will usher in a new unemployment insurance reform thanks to votes from the LR.

Pause in the plenary between questions to the government and epic budget discussions, in the late afternoon the ceremonial vote on these “emergency measures” with a view to “full employment” will take place.

Despite heated debates over the possibility of cutting unemployment benefits during a job boom, which are fiercely opposed by the left-wing coalition Nupes, the Macronists don’t expect to get into trouble before this election. You can count on the support of the pivotal group LR, even if they consider the bill to be insufficient.

“The text contains nothing”, while “there is a real issue to improve the functioning of the labor market”, judges even the head of the LR deputy, Olivier Marleix. But the government has made some overtures to the right.

The bill, which was debated by the Assembly last week and will be presented to the Senate starting Oct. 25, first provides for an extension of current unemployment insurance rules resulting from a hotly contested reform of Macron’s first five-year term.

France, on February 8, 2022 (AFP – Philippe LOPEZ)” style=”float:right”/>
People stand at the counter of a Pôle Emploi agency in Bordeaux, France, on February 8, 2022 (AFP – Philippe LOPEZ)

It also opens up the possibility of decree modulating unemployment insurance so that it is “stricter when there are too many vacancies, more generous when unemployment is high,” as Emmanuel Macron put it during the presidential campaign.

“We will not touch the level of compensation,” Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt repeated to the JDD. But “on the other hand, one can wonder about the conditions for entering the system – six months worked today by twenty-four – and the duration of the compensation”.

After a consultation phase with the social partners starting next week, the government will decide by decree on the design of this modulation of unemployment insurance, which should come into force at the beginning of 2023.

– “War on the unemployed” –

Such a reform is accepted by a narrow majority of French people: 53% versus 47% according to an Odoxa poll for Challenges and BFMBusiness.

The executive insists it is urgent due to hiring difficulties in the hotel, restaurant or construction industries. He sees this as a first building block for achieving the goal of full employment in 2027, i.e. an unemployment rate of around 5% compared to the current 7.4%.

LFI MP Mathilde Panot (centre) delivers a speech during a session on the unemployment insurance reform project at the National Assembly in Paris, <a href=France, 3 October 2022 (AFP – Ludovic MARIN)” style=”float:left”/>
LFI MP Mathilde Panot (centre) delivers a speech during a session on the unemployment insurance reform project at the National Assembly in Paris, France, 3 October 2022 (AFP – Ludovic MARIN)

The left has continued to oppose a bill that, according to Mathilde Panot (LFI), “declares war on the unemployed” and, according to Jérôme Guedj (PS), “gives the finger of honor to social dialogue”. “They make unemployment insurance an adjustment variable when their only goal is to provide social security,” launched the communist Pierre Dharréville.

RN MPs joined this challenge of an “unfair reform targeting the unemployed”. They put their “national priority” proposals on the table, with amendments in particular to reserve unemployment benefits for “French citizens”, a “return to their old moons”, according to the majority.

At the end of this sometimes eventful examination, rapporteur Marc Ferracci (Renaissance) is pleased that, despite sometimes tight votes, there were no “unwelcome surprises” and the bill was not “denatured”.

With the consent of the Labor Minister, the members of parliament voted for a “very differentiated application” of modulation in the countries most affected by unemployment.

Through the Renaissance, Modem, Horizons and LR amendments, they decided that “job resignations” should be equated with resignations in order to limit access to unemployment insurance.

Another part of the bill provides for the validation of acquired experience (VAE) to be extended to “relatives who provide close and caring care” in order to make it easier for them to access old-age jobs.

The assembly approved the creation of a “true public service” of the UAE, which is still under-exploited, particularly due to its complexity. A “one-stop shop” is offered via a digital platform.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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