Unemployment insurance: French coverage is shrinking

Despite Emmanuel Macron’s penknife blows, France remains one of the most generous countries in Europe with its unemployed. In fact, job seekers can receive benefits for two years and even three years if they are over 55 (see graph). It is for example much more than in Portugal (18 months maximum) or in Ireland (9 months). However, other neighbors offer even more generosity to the unemployed, such as the Netherlands (38 months) or Belgium where the duration of compensation is unlimited.

During his first term, Emmanuel Macron trimmed some benefits. In 2019, its reform did not affect the duration of compensation but it tightened the conditions of eligibility for the scheme: it is now necessary to have worked six months over the last two years and no longer four months over the last 28. “France was characterized by an acquisition of unemployment rights faster than elsewhere in Europe”, analyzes François Fontaine, professor at the Paris School of Economics.


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