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The Senate passes the unemployment insurance bill

It took only one day for the senators to consider the bill “on emergency measures in connection with the functioning of the labor market with a view to full employment”. The Senate, with a right-center majority, passed it by show of hands late in the evening on October 25 at first reading, twelve days after the deputies. A mixed parity committee will now bring the two assemblies together. Several important changes have been introduced in the Senate, in particular a tightening of the framework of the compensation rules.

The text aims above all to extend the current social security fund rules, amended by decree in 2019, which expire on 1eh November. It also opens the way for a mechanism to modulate unemployment insurance parameters according to the labor market (countercyclicality). The subject is the subject of a simple consultation between the government and the social partners, a sequence that must be completed “before the end of the year”, clarified Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt.

“We give the hand back to the social partners”, declares the rapporteur LR

The bill allows for the parameters of the unemployment insurance to be determined by decree. The senators have moved forward to August 31, instead of December 31, 2023 in the original text, the end of the period in which the executive branch can act. “These mitigating measures can only be applied for a duration commensurate with the needs of the emergency,” insisted rapporteur Frédérique Puissat (LR), who defended the “restoration of joint action”. In committee, the senators replaced the framework letter, which was accused of prejudging the conclusions, with a guidance document. “The parties ask the question of the difference between the government and the senatorial majority. You, you make the law of 2018, which corsets the negotiations […] We give the hand back to the social partners,” argued the rapporteur.

As stated by the Senate, the bill proposes to include in the Labor Code that the duration of the work necessary to open rights or the duration of the payment of the allowance “can be modulated taking into account “cyclical indicators of employment and the functioning of the labor market’. The government supported this provision.

Refusal of three CDIs in one year will deprive an employee of unemployment benefits

It was not the same for the provision to deprive unemployment benefit employees who three times in one year would refuse a CDI offered at the end of a CDD (on equal terms). The government has expressed its disagreement. Left-wing groups have expressed their strong opposition to the provision introduced in committee by the Senate majority. Socialist Monique Lubin condemned a “shallot race”. An amendment by the LR group aimed at excluding an employee from benefits from a CDI’s first refusal was defeated by one vote. On the other hand, the group with Bruno Retailleau succeeded in getting its amendment adopted, which aimed to exclude temporary workers from unemployment benefits who would not accept a CDI proposed for their position.

The Senate retained the article equating the abandonment of the post with a resignation, which was introduced in the Assembly by amendments from the President’s majority and the LRs. The Senate has “secured” the drafting by providing a minimum period (to be defined by decree) for the formal notice that will ask the employee to return to work or justify his absence. Olivier Dussopt indicated that this provision was “welcome”. The minister said he was “more reserved” about removing the cap on the duration of temporary CDIs and “even more so” about the relaxations introduced by the trade committee on the bonus-malus system (read our article again). This mechanism to combat short contracts, which has been in place since September, is extended by the bill. It aims to modulate the companies’ unemployment contribution according to their degree of separation of employees. The Senate excluded the purposes of temporary assignments from the scope.

“The text comes out harder than when it arrived”, condemns the ecologist Raymonde Poncet Monge

The left-wing groups did not see any of their amendments adopted. “Our chances of improving this text are almost zero”, recognized the socialist Laurence Rossignol at the beginning of the debate. After a free study, which surprised even the president of the social commission Catherine Deroche (LR), the opponents of the left benches deplored the content of the text. Communist Cathy Apourceau-Poly condemned a “forced passage” by the government on jointism and assessed that the workers have “lost a lot this evening”. “The legal system of unemployment insurance is akin to a permanent 49.3 that deeply undermines democracy”, also exclaimed the ecologist Raymonde Poncet Monge. “The text comes out harder than when it came, it’s a fantastic achievement”.

Philippe Mouiller (LR), for the senatorial majority, for his part welcomed a text that presented “greater ambitions”. And the centrist Annick Jacquemet said on behalf of his group “satisfied with the progress that was voted”. “We are especially thinking of companies that have difficulty recruiting employees”.

The government reiterated that it would soon open a new discussion chapter with the social partners on the management of unemployment insurance. It will be a real negotiation this time, with the search for a national interprofessional agreement. “This will be an opportunity to give all its space back to paritarianism in this area”, he stressed.

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