Insurance against unemployment, the pitfalls of a negotiation

On Friday 9 November the employers 'and trade unions' organizations resume negotiations on the rules on unemployment insurance. The government requires them to find between 3 and almost 4 billion euros of savings in the space of three years.

This is a trap-shaped negotiation awaiting the social partners, unemployment insurance managers, since Friday 9 November: "Or they can not find the savings that the government wants, and the government will regain control of unemployment insurance, or they will have to make unpopular decisions "Summarize a file that is very close.

The goal of this new round of negotiations was set by the government in the letter of framing issued at the end of September: find "Between 3 and 3.9 billion savings" in three years on unemployment insurance. The government wants to speed up the deleveraging of the regime, whose debt, dug by an exceptional crisis for ten years, has reached 35 billion euros. If deleveraging started, "We have to go faster, we are pleading with the Ministry of Labor, before being reached by the next cyclic cycle. If this savings target is not achieved, the planned agreement will not be approved by the Ministry of Labor, which will take over the reinsurance insurance and impose its choices … at risk of inflicting a fatal blow at one the last great bastions of paritarism.

Aware of what is at stake, the five representative employee unions and the three employer organizations have agreed to negotiate. But the outcome of the discussions is uncertain. "To find these savings, there are thirty-six ways, specify that near the file. Either we reduce the amount of allowances or compensate for shorter durations or limit access conditions. " A perspective that rejects the unions. As for an increase in income – with an increase in contributions – it is excluded from the start by employers' and government organizations that do not wish to increase labor costs.

Another plan is advanced by the Ministry of Labor: change the compensation rules, so that the unemployed are encouraged to resume employment with permanent contracts, especially in sectors that are struggling to hire today, rather than permanently alternating Temporary, temporary or part-time with compensated periods of unemployment. An increasing percentage of beneficiaries – 1.6 million people a month on average – is in fact in this situation of reduced activity, and for longer and longer periods. But was this situation chosen or immediately? An investigation commissioned by Unédic, the organization that administers the scheme, was conducted among 5000 beneficiaries who have worked at least one hour in June 2018, to learn more about this category of people looking for work. The overwhelming majority of them have very limited knowledge of the compensation rules. Difficult in these conditions to work " just what you needto recharge your unemployment rights and not be too loser from a financial point of view. "It's hard to optimize a rule you do not know" , says a negotiator.

Second observation: the vast majority of them would like to work harder if they could: 68% of the respondents who held a fixed-term contract or an interim engagement would have preferred to benefit from a permanent contract. Even two-thirds of the recipients who had worked part-time would have liked to work harder. The wish of "Keep free time for personal activities" or "To maintain a certain freedom towards his employer"one of the reasons for refusing a permanent contract. But this concerns only a minority. "It is not by avoiding these behaviors that we will find 3 billion savings", concludes an expert. The problems of transport and childcare also seem to be important obstacles to returning to work.

The government wants the social partners to take care of the particular case of people regularly re-employed by the same employer, for contracts of a few days, or even one day: these "Recurring" , taken in a network of precariousness, would now be 400000, concentrated in the sectors of hotel catering, medical-social housing or voting institutes.

According to a recent Unédic study on societies, these people constitute a form of "Local pool"for time-sensitive employers who do not have a human resources policy and who do not anticipate their needs."The causes are multiple, but there is a loss of collective control"Decrypts a negotiator: The way employers could be encouraged to find other ways to manage their workforce – bonus-malus or other devices – will be one of the most difficult negotiating points.

Emmanuelle Réju

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