Gabriel Attal confirms a reduction in the duration of compensation – Libération

Gabriel Attal confirms a reduction in the duration of compensation – Libération
Gabriel Attal confirms a reduction in the duration of compensation – Libération

Who has not discovered in the Tribune Sunday, at the time of buttering your toast (or, worse, going to bed on Saturday evening!), the content of the third unemployment insurance reform of the Macron era knows nothing of the real pleasures that can offer a spring weekend. Gabriel Attal will therefore have waited for the final limit before the reserve period imposed by the European elections to finally “to unveil” the new blow which will be inflicted on those deprived of employment from next December – when the measures provided for in a decree which will be published on July 1st come into force. There was in fact not much more to reveal, the main elements of the project having been revealed during the week when the Minister of Labor, Catherine Vautrin, received unions and employers to “meetings that didn’t have[ent] consultation only in name, since everything [était] decided in advance »according to the CGT.

Before continuing, dear reader, a warning: if you are reading this while working, you may think that what follows does not concern you. This is what Gabriel Attal is counting on, who based a good part of his communication on the supposed defense of “French people who work”, opposed to those who would take it easy by receiving benefits. He said it again to the Tribune Sundayexplaining: “The French are asking us to value work even more: that’s what we’re doing.” He conveniently forgets a detail, which is that the unemployed of tomorrow are the employees of today. The economist Michaël Zemmour recently recalled this, noting that half of employees experience unemployment at some point in their career. That is to say if it is massive.

Work 8 months out of 20 to open rights

So, what will happen for those who pass through it or return to it from December 1st? The most visible part of the reform will consist of a tightening of the conditions for granting rights. Again ? Yes again. Let’s remember that five years ago, you had to have worked 4 months, over the last 28 months, to gain rights. In 2021, the government increased the necessary worked period to 6 months, and reduced the so-called period to 24 months. “reference”. From now on, you will need to have worked 8 months out of the last 20 to gain rights.

The profile of future victims is known: these will include “first-time registrants” at France Travail, since people often start their careers with a fixed-term contract and those of more than 8 months are rarer than those of 6 months. But not only : “Given the fact that the period of access to stable employment continues to lengthen, this will also affect people who alternate between employment and unemployment on a long-term basis. They will take longer to open rights, but also to recharge them,” predicts Claire Vivès, sociologist at the Center for Employment and Labor Studies (CEET). Brief, “the most affected are the most precarious”, she summarizes.

“Second Kiss-Cool Effect”

However, this measure hides another, which really concerns everyone. The Prime Minister assured on BFM TV on April 18 that he did not want so much “change the rules for those who have worked all their lives” than to attack “situations where we see that there is a system which is organized for the multiplication of small contracts, short contracts, between which we benefit from unemployment”. And yet, “the one who has worked all his life” is also concerned, because this change in the rules for granting rights will have effects on the duration of compensation. Indeed, as the CFDT noted on Thursday (its national secretary in charge of unemployment, Olivier Guivarch, evoking a “second Kiss-Cool effect”), and like Release wrote on Friday, the reduction of the reference period from 24 to 20 months will automatically cap the period of work taken into account at 20 months as well. However, since the 2023 reform introduced a coefficient reducing the duration of compensation, an employee who has worked 20 months out of 20, who would therefore theoretically be entitled to 20 months of compensation, will see this duration reduced by 25%. Corresponding, ultimately, at fifteen months, a new ceiling therefore. The government could, if it wanted, avoid this side effect. But he doesn’t want it. Using a very Macronian formula, Gabriel Attal“assume”, by promising that “at the same time, we are strengthening support with France Travail”. What remains to be seen in concrete terms is when the RSA reform will be generalized, at the beginning of 2025.

Finally, for the picture to be complete, the government claims to strengthen the principle of “countercyclicality” introduced by its February 2023 reform. As a reminder, this provides for the rules to be tightened “when things are going well”, and relaxed “when things are bad”. Hence the 25% reduction in the duration of compensation, which applies when the unemployment rate is less than 9%. We have just seen that even if things are not really getting better – the unemployment rate is currently 7.5%, compared to 7.1% a year ago – this duration of compensation will in fact be further shortened, at the foot the promise of “countercyclicality”. But, firmly believing that his new reform will be “the fuel that will allow us to create ever more work in our country”, Gabriel Attal confirms a new plan if by chance unemployment drops to 6.5%. He does not specify in what proportion. But, according to the unions who saw Catherine Vautrin this week, the reduction this time would be 40%. Which, taking into account the side effect explained above, would lead to 12 months of maximum compensation. A symbolic threshold, perhaps a “dream to come true” as the poet sang, mentioned by Gabriel Attal himself during an intervention on TF1 in March.

“Seniors” also concerned

We have been talking about employees under the age of 53 since the beginning, but “seniors” are not spared either. The latter benefit from a longer compensation period, 22.5 months for those aged 53 or 54, and a maximum of 27 months for those over 55. Certainly, Gabriel Attal “refuses that this senior sector be abolished, because it is important to maintain protection and specific rules”, he explains, dispelling a fantasy from his Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire. But he confirms that you will now have to be at least 57 years old to benefit from this extended duration, suggesting in passing the disappearance of the first level. To compensate – so to speak – the Prime Minister announces the introduction of a new system already mentioned, here and there, in particular by the same Bruno Le Maire: a “senior employment bonus”. Concretely, a senior who returns to a job that is less well paid than the previous one will receive a supplement from unemployment insurance allowing them to return to the same level of salary, for a period of one year. Sarcastic summary by the president of the CFE-CGC, François Hommeril: “I’m a company, I throw everyone out at 55, and after two years of unemployment I get them back at half price.”

And what about employers in all this? A little effort, perhaps? As usual when it comes to them, it’s immediately more vague. Gabriel Attal wishes “consider the advisability of extending” the bonus-malus introduced in 2021, and which seems to have produced some effects. To date, companies with more than eleven employees in seven sectors of activity (transport, accommodation and catering, etc.) are affected by this mechanism which varies their unemployment contribution rate from 3 to 5.5% depending on their recourse rate. to fixed-term contracts, compared to the average rate for their sector. How many will there be in the future? This will depend on a “consultation” led by Catherine Vautrin.

All this for what ? Cautious, Gabriel Attal does not put forward any quantified objectives regarding job creation or expected savings. During the week, the Ministry of Labor confirmed that the government expected 90,000 additional jobs. As a reminder, three million people are currently reporting to France Travail in category A (i.e. without activity). The Prime Minister repeats to anyone who will listen that “this is not an economic reform” but the financial impacts could, however, prove massive, generating 3.6 billion euros in savings in the unemployment insurance system, which is already in surplus. At the price, believes the CGT, of the reform “the most violent” of recent years.

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