Labor reform: what Macron is preparing

The reform of the Labor Code had opened the first five-year term of Emmanuel Macron. For the second, it is now time for labor reform. This was announced by the Head of State during his television interview for July 14, marking a surprise acceleration of the calendar.

“When summer returns, after discussions with the social partners, the government will submit a text”, explained Emmanuel Macron, specifying: “It’s a whole, because there is the reform of unemployment insurance, the valorization of acquired experience, qualification”. He also mentioned the reform of the vocational high school and apprenticeship, the employment of seniors and the creation of France Travail.

Objective: to respond to the recruitment problems of companies and achieve full employment by the end of the five-year term, ie an unemployment rate of around 5% against 7.4% currently.

Emmanuel Macron, July 14, 2022.AFP

Overview of what is being prepared, with links to the decryptions of the “Echos” specialists:

· Unemployment insurance: stick the rules of compensation to the economic situation


While the executive regained control of the unemployment insurance system three years ago and tightened the conditions for compensation for job seekers, Emmanuel Macron believes that “we must go further. »

“Today there is not a place in France where people do not tell us: ‘I need work, I am looking for people to work’”. “It happened to me sometimes (…) to say that you had to cross the street” to find work, “it’s even more true” today, he insisted. Asked about those who would refuse jobs deemed hard and poorly paid, “if they can go to another job, I understand it very well”, but “if behind, the answer is: “I will benefit from solidarity national to reflect on my life”, I find it difficult to hear it because this national solidarity, it is those who work who pay for it”, he decided.

After having implemented on October 1, 2021 a new method of calculation serving as the basis for unemployment benefit and having tightened since December 1, 2021 the conditions of eligibility – with in particular the need to have worked six months instead of four to be compensated – the idea of ​​the executive is now that the rules of compensation are more modulated according to the situation.

“When things are going well, we tighten the rules and, when things are going badly, we relax them”, explained the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, on July 27 to “Parisien”, citing the example of what is done in Canada. The terms of the reform have not yet been decided, but the transition from one situation to another would be decided either according to “criteria, such as a number of consecutive quarters with an improvement in employment”, or after “opinion of a “committee”, specified the minister. A consultation must be launched with the social partners at the start of the school year.

· Unemployment insurance: review the governance of Unédic

Vincent Loison/SIPA

The labor reform should also address the question of the governance of the unemployment insurance scheme, which the State took over from the social partners in 2019. A subject which was already on the program of Jean Castex, the predecessor of Elisabeth Borne, but which could not start for lack of time.

Several works have been carried out to outline what this new governance of Unédic could be. The Medef has theorized a two-tier system, one in the hands of the state to define a base of rights for the unemployed, the second managed by the social partners.

In a report that made a bit of noise, the Council for Economic Analysis went so far as to advocate the nationalization of the regime, under parliamentary control.

RSA: improving the integration of beneficiaries


A reform of the active solidarity income (RSA) – another campaign promise of Emmanuel Macron – will also feature in the future labor reform. The Head of State insisted, on July 14, both on the need for the public community to support any beneficiary, including on travel or housing problems, but also on the fact that each beneficiary must ” do your part”. It was “at the heart of the RMI” when Michel Rocard created it in 1988, he underlined.

“Paying an allowance is not enough […] What we want is for everyone to get out of it and regain their dignity through work,” said the Prime Minister at the beginning of July during her general policy speech. Like what has been put in place with the youth employment contract (CEJ) for those under 26.

To achieve this, Elisabeth Borne plans to first go through an experiment in the fall in several departments, then to generalize the system in early 2024, according to information from “Echos”.

In each department selected, all RSA recipients would benefit from a unified diagnosis-orientation phase. All actors tasked with helping them would share common monitoring software. The test departments would have leeway to define the number of hours of weekly activities according to the profiles of the recipients or local contexts. Ditto for the scale of sanctions in the event of breach of obligations.

France is working to bring together all the operators who help the unemployed


Born at the end of 2008 from the merger of ANPE and Assedic, Pôle emploi, the flagship of the public employment service, must become “France travail”, promised Emmanuel Macron during the presidential campaign. The project goes much further than a change of name, since it is a question of constituting local authorities, decision-makers, bringing together all the actors who work in favor of those who are deprived of employment.

In the eyes of the Head of State, everything that contributes to supporting the unemployed – help with re-employment, compensation, training or lifting of so-called “peripheral” obstacles such as housing – remains too dispersed between Pôle emploi, the missions local authorities, regional and departmental councils, municipalities, Cap emploi (for the disabled) and associations. “We need a single place, simpler, where all the skills are gathered, to help the job seeker to take stock of skills, find training and support towards work”, he believes.

Better guide and reform vocational high schools


Full employment will also go through a reform of orientation, from secondary school with the regions to university, passing through vocational high schools. “Thanks to this, over the next few years we will be able to train 1 million young people in the jobs of the future, half of them in digital technology,” promised Elisabeth Borne.

In March, for his first official campaign speech in Poissy, Emmanuel Macron set the tone: “We must reform the vocational high school on the model of what we have done for learning”. The Head of State then indicated that he wanted “a much closer partnership with companies” and professional high school students “paid for their business time as apprentices are”. There are “too many young people who come out with a diploma but no job”, underlined Emmanuel Macron. “We let live too many sectors where there are almost no outlets”.

In the government of Elisabeth Borne, the post of Minister responsible for Vocational Education and Training has been created under the dual supervision of the Ministers of Labor and National Education. It was Carole Grandjean, macronist from the start until now LREM deputy for Meurthe-et-Moselle, member of the Social Affairs Committee, and former human resources manager at Elior, who inherited it.

Extend the working life:

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To continue to finance the French social model, which he says is very “generous” compared to other countries in the world, Emmanuel Macron repeated, on July 14, that “we had to work more and longer”. In his campaign programme, the Head of State had set himself the objective of raising the legal retirement age to 65 by 2030, before softening his position just before the second round of the presidential.

Several axes are under study. Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to “improve the quality of work, improve the work of seniors and work longer, taking into account long careers and the difficulty of work”.

“The discussion must begin at the start of the school year”, first in a “strategic and general framework with all the living forces of the Nation”, then through “work with the trade union and employer forces” and finally “with the political forces in Parliament” so that “from the summer of 2023 we have a first entry into force”, he indicated.

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