Unemployment insurance: what you need to know about the controversial reform in force as of today – LCI

ALLOWANCES – Despite a path strewn with pitfalls and the scolding of the unions, part of the unemployment insurance reform will come into force as of this Friday, October 1. The method of calculating the allowance will change.

After numerous appeals and several postponements, the unemployment insurance reform is about to be implemented. At least, in part. As of Friday, October 1, part of the text carried by the government will come into force. Flagship measure of the reform: the hardening of the rules for calculating unemployment benefit.

A change in the calculation of allowances

This is the most controversial provision of the draft. The daily reference wage (SJR), necessary to calculate the allowance, has so far represented the gross wages received during the last year, divided by the number of days worked. A calculation that allowed Pôle emploi to pay beneficiaries the most interesting amount between two options: 40.4% of the SJR + 12.05 euros, or 57% of the SJR.

But the government wanted to change the calculation. In its initial project, presented in 2019, it planned to divide the wages received during the last two years, no longer by the days worked, but by the total number of days elapsed between the first and the last employment contract, including those not worked. A calculation method retoked by the Council of State, which evoked an infringement of “principle of equality” among the unemployed, with those with periods of inactivity at a disadvantage.

In the new project which will come into force on Friday, the executive has therefore capped the number of non-working days taken into account. One way of less harming, in the introduction of the new calculation, people who alternate periods of employment and unemployment.

How many people are affected?

According to Unédic, the administrator of the unemployment insurance scheme, around 1.15 million people could be affected by this new method of calculation, with an allowance falling by 17% on average (see video at the top of this article ). However, only those opening rights in the year following the entry into force of the reform are concerned by this assessment. Note also that in return, the theoretical duration of compensation will be extended: it will drop from eleven months currently to fourteen once the reform has been approved.

Another part of the reform scheduled for December

The change in the calculation of beneficiaries’ allowances is not the only notable point in the reform of unemployment insurance. The last part of the project is expected to come into force on December 1. It mainly concerns the rules on the degression of benefits and the length of membership necessary to open or top up a right.

Indeed, if the number of unemployed registered with Pôle emploi in category A drops by at least 130,000 in six months, and the number of declarations prior to hiring for more than one month is greater than 2.7 million in four consecutive months, then the eligibility conditions for unemployment benefit will be reduced from four to six months.

A reform with a chaotic course

This reform, promised as early as the 2017 presidential campaign, was to enter into force several months ago. But the health crisis has passed that way. In June 2019, the then Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, as well as his Minister of Labor, Muriel Pénicaud, presented a vast reform toughening the compensation rules and hitting companies abusing short contracts, after several months of negotiations. with the social partners.

Three months later, a first battery of measures, including the tightening of access conditions to receive compensation, came into force. But in March 2020, when France was hit by the first wave of Covid-19, Emmanuel Macron put a first stop to the text. “All ongoing reforms” are suspended, announced the President of the Republic in a speech, preferring to focus his action on the fight against the health crisis.

The setbacks of the reform did not stop there. Barely appointed head of government, Jean Castex declared that the date of entry into force of the text was set for January 2021. Before postponing the deadline to April, then to July. But the Council of State, which then noted “uncertainties about the economic situation”, finally suspended the decree containing the new calculation rules. Faced with recent positive employment figures, the government has finally published a new decree: the modification of the calculation of the daily reference wage will be implemented from October 1.

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However, the unions do not hear it that way. Several of them – the CFDT, the CGT and Force Ouvrière in the lead – announced in mid-September that they were ready to file a new appeal with the Council of State. “The government is issuing exactly the same decree with the same arguments which are false. It puts pressure on the Council of State […] even before he has had time to judge on the merits. In terms of method, it is despicable “, and it’s “despicable to job seekers”, deplores Denis Gravouil, unemployment insurance negotiator for the CGT.

The unions have also called for a day of mobilization on October 5, at the initiative of an inter-union CGT, FO, FSU and Solidaires, to defend the “wages, jobs, working conditions and studies”. There is no doubt that the reform of unemployment insurance will figure, once again, at the heart of their demands.

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