Unemployment insurance is on the Senate agenda this week. After its adoption at the first reading in the National Assembly on 12 October, the bill “on emergency measures in connection with the functioning of the labor market with a view to full employment” will be considered at the assembly from Tuesday 25 October.
With this text, the government wants to extend the rules as a result of the 2018 reform and be able to temporarily set new rules for daily allowance by decree, with the aim of achieving full employment at the end of the five-year period, i.e. 5%. the unemployment rate in 2027 compared to 7.4% currently. In order to achieve this, he wants to introduce a system with graduation of the unemployment insurance rules according to the state of the labor market. A month-long consultation with the social partners began in mid-October. During the discussion in the Social Committee, the senatorial majority of the right and center got a certain number of important changes adopted.
● The commission reduces the period during which the government can act by decree
Rapporteurs Frédérique Puissat (Les Républicains) and Olivier Henno (Centrist Union) said they were “favorable” for the system of modulating unemployment insurance rules according to the economic situation. The bill, which came out of the commission, introduces a legal basis for this principle in the labor law. In light of the amendment, this clarification was deemed “necessary”.
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They nevertheless deny that the government retains control for an “excessive period”, which undermines the joint management of the social security fund, the reservations of trade unions and employers’ organisations. The end of the power to act by decree has been brought back to 31 August 2023 against 31 December 2023 in the original text.
With a view to a new hearing on the management of unemployment insurance, the senators wanted to “give control back to the social partners”. Their text abolishes the “framework letter” procedure, a restriction that had prevented any agreement between the social partners in 2018, prompting the government to regain control. The senators’ text sets the framework for a “guidance letter” which “does not prejudge the conclusion”.
● The repeated rejections of the CDI are punished in the text of the senate committee
Above all, the Social Committee has tightened the conditions for the social security fund for employees who refuse a “permanent job”. A job seeker who has declined three CDI offers at the end of the CDD during the last 12 months will not be able to claim unemployment insurance.
● The “safe” job closure provision
The provision to equate abandonment of post with a resignation, introduced in the National Assembly by deputies of the presidential majority and LR deputies, has been retained. It was clarified in the Social Committee, to “secure” it.
An opening letter will ask the employee to return to his position or to justify his absence within a deadline set by the employer. This must not be less than a minimum set by decree of the Council of State.
● The bonus-malus system affecting companies has been revised
The bill also allows for the extension of the “bonus-malus” on unemployment insurance contributions until the summer of 2024. This mechanism, which encourages companies in seven sectors to use ongoing contracts less often, has not only been used since September. In 2018, the Senate opposed this system out of fear that seasonal activities would be penalized.
The Social Committee has therefore taken up this bill to “correct the deficiencies”. According to the Senate report, the bonus-malus does not apply to sectors that make the most use of short-term fixed-term contracts, but rather to those that frequently call in temporary workers. The termination of contracts for the supply of temporary workers accounts for 89% of contract expiry, compared to 9% for fixed-term contracts.
The Senators have chosen to limit the bonus-malus to take into account the expiration of fixed-term contracts that last less than or equal to one month (excluding replacement of absent employees). The purpose of permanent contracts and the purposes of temporary assignments are therefore excluded. The senators also limited the increase in unemployment insurance contributions.
● Removal of the cap on the duration of missions carried out under a temporary permanent contract
Another addition from the Social Committee: the maximum duration of thirty-six months applicable to temporary tasks carried out under a temporary open-ended contract (a contract entered into between an employee and a temporary agency for the performance of temporary tasks temporarily) has been removed. According to the senators, this provision will limit the turnover of temporary workers and will secure their careers.
● Expanding the possibilities for validating acquired knowledge
Less publicized, a final aspect of the bill plans to extend the validation of acquired experience to relatives and family caregivers (French people who regularly take care of a disabled or elderly person or a person with loss of autonomy) to facilitate their access to elderly professions. Unfavorable to a purely categorical approach, the senators amended the article by specifying that this validation of acquired knowledge would be open to anyone justifying an activity directly related to the content of the certification in question.