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Unemployment Insurance Reform: With the New Rules, 1 Out of Every 5 Unemployed Person Will No Longer Be Compensated

Last updated on 31st July 2019

The decrees implementing unemployment insurance reform have just been published on the Official Journal, and once again, the government is demonstrating its desire, at all costs, to break unemployment insurance.

This is one of the most important measures of this reform: to be entitled to unemployment insurance, you will have to have worked longer during the “reference period”, i.e. the period on which your unemployment rights are calculated. Currently, one had to have worked 4 months out of the last 28 to obtain unemployment rights. Working for four months during those 28 months gave rise to a 4-month unemployment entitlement (this was the “minimum” period of compensation). With the new reform, it will be necessary to have worked 6 months in the last 24 months to obtain rights to unemployment, i.e. 130 days or 910 hours. The logic of the government is simple: it will be necessary to have worked more to be entitled to unemployment. And if it will be necessary to have worked more, that will not mean that the rights to unemployment will be prolonged: at present, the maximum duration of compensation is 2 years, and it will remain after the reform, with the exception of seniors, who already enjoyed this exception, with a maximum duration of 2.5 years for the 53-55 age category and 3 years for those over 55.

While the stated aim of the reform was to save €4 billion over three years, we can see how the budget will be cut: while it will be necessary to work more in a shorter period to be entitled to unemployment, tens of thousands of people will no longer be entitled to unemployment: this will affect more than 11% of beneficiaries, i.e. more than 236,000 people who, potentially, from November 1st would no longer be compensated. Indeed, according to calculations by Unédic, which initially proposed to give rights from 4 months worked in the last 24 (4 less than currently), this would have affected 11% of recipients. We do not dare to imagine the number of people concerned if we increase by 2 months the period of work necessary to obtain one’s rights!

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Finally, re-charging one’s rights will be even more difficult than before, making life more difficult for the long-term unemployed. Indeed, for any unemployed person who had “obtained their rights”, these could be re-charged if the unemployed person justified a return to employment of one month during their period of compensation. A period multiplied by 6 by the Macron government, which takes this time to six months to be able to re-charge one’s rights. Once again, how many people will be affected and lose their rights to unemployment insurance?

Unédic answered this question, via a document revealed by Les Echos in early July: 500,000 unemployed would not have been compensated in 2018 with the rules that come into force in early November 2019! In detail, 300,000 people would not have enjoyed their rights with the new rules and the duty to work more, and 250,000 would not have their rights re-charged for not having worked six months instead of one! Unédic then estimated that from the 500,000 people affected, one person can open and re-charge their rights in the same year. 25% of those who are unemployed who would no longer be compensated, for a possible gain of €2.8 billion, from the €3.75 billion that the government wants to save with this reform … €2.8 billion is, if rounded up by nearly €200 million, the money withdrawn from the state budget with the reform of the ISF.


Revolution Permanente, Arthur Nicola

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