If it is difficult to know if the objective of full employment by 2027 remains realistic given the ambient uncertainty, one thing is certain: the government is giving itself the means to achieve it. This is what emerges from the spending ceilings of the Finance Bill 2023 sent to Parliament on Monday, even if there is still a long way to go until the text is voted on. Alongside the sovereign and the ecological transition, training and employment constitute the third engine of the five-year term, confirms the Minister Delegate in charge of Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal to “Echos”.
In fact, with 30.7 billion euros in credits, three times more than in 2012, the Ministry of Labor is at this stage the third best endowed, tied with Research and Higher Education. Better, its budget gains 6.7 billion (6.2 billion if we exclude the increase in revenue from France skills) compared to the initial finance law of 2022.
From exceptional to structural
Even if the scope is not comparable, this change, the strongest of all the ministries, reflects a strong political decision: the change in nature – from exceptional to structural – of part of the effort deployed to mitigate the Covid crisis. In fact, the increase of 6.2 billion comes mainly from the maintenance of aid for the hiring of work-study students, hitherto included in the budget of the recovery plan, called to be financed by credits from the Ministry of Labour. There was one before the pandemic, but much more limited.
As a reminder, this aid is 5,000 euros for the recruitment of a minor under an apprenticeship or professionalization contract, 8,000 euros beyond the age of 18, regardless of the diploma pursued and the company’s workforce. Its amount has been calculated so that the operation is carried out at zero cost for the employer. Scheduled to end on June 30, it has been extended by six months and will therefore be extended next year, even if the award criteria will be reviewed.
Tighten but not too much
The Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, and the Minister Delegate in charge of Vocational Education and Training, Carole Grandjean, will launch a consultation at the start of the school year with the social partners with the desire to tighten the system, we confirm from near Matignon. Tighten but not too much because Elisabeth Borne has set an ambitious goal: 1 million contracts signed in 2027, against 730,000 last year.
Employers are on the lookout, anxious to keep this boost as long as possible, despite the windfall effects specific to this type of measure. “If the government wants to reach 1 million apprentices, then aid must be maintained at its current level for at least next year, or even for two or three years, given the lack of economic visibility”, warns the vice- president in charge of social affairs of the CPME, Eric Chevée. “Necessary work to recalibrate aid will be undertaken, but support will remain massive,” promises Gabriel Attal.