Same actors, same place, same fight. Trade unions and government confront each other again, Thursday, October 14, before the Council of State on the thorny issue of calculating unemployment benefit.
All the major confederations seized, in summary proceedings, the highest administrative court with the objective of obtaining, as in June, a suspension of these rules, which entered into force on 1is October after a new decree. After hearing their arguments and examining the case, the Council of State should decide in the coming days on the suspension of the new rules, and a new hearing to discuss the substance of the reform will be held within a few weeks.
The unions had urgently obtained, in June, the suspension of the new rules for calculating the daily reference wage (SJR), the basis of unemployment benefit and the flagship measure of the reform which was to come into force on 1is July. Without calling into question the principle of the reform, the Council of State had put forward “Uncertainties about the economic situation” to suspend the application of these new rules which will penalize the compensation of job seekers alternating periods of work and inactivity.
According to the executive, this is through these new rules to encourage job seekers to accept longer contracts, especially since employers will also be encouraged to offer them by setting up a ” bonus Malus “ on unemployment contributions in certain sectors that are large consumers of short contracts.
“A passage in force”
Without waiting for the opinion of the Council of State on the substance of the new rules, the government published a new decree, identical to the previous one with simply an entry date shifted to 1is October, justifying it by “The sharp rebound in employment since May”, with a number of unemployed that is approaching its pre-crisis level.
In fact, the first payment of post-reform allowances will not take place before the beginning of November, which leaves the Council of State time to decide.
The lawyer of the CGT, Me Antoine Lyon-Caen, intends to denounce “A passage in force of the government, which did not have the right to publish a new decree as long as the decision of the Council of State of June was in force”. “He should have asked the Council of State beforehand to review his June ordinance by showing him that the situation had totally changed”, he argues to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Basically, the main advantage of the unions remains the time lag between the entry into force of the new calculation method on 1is October and that of the bonus-malus, which will not be applied to contributions until September 2022. The government retorts that “The observation period” companies to calculate this modulation started on 1is July 2021.
But, in June, the Council of State noted that modulation – a term of application of the reform which will have to be renegotiated according to the law in the previous months – “Will not become[it] effective as of 1is September 2022, and only until October 31, 2022, which largely mitigates the supposed incentive nature of the observation period ”.
The rest of the reform not called into question
FO negotiator Michel Beaugas does not wish “That the debate on the conjuncture obscures the fundamental debate on the iniquity of this reform”.
According to an assessment by Unédic in April, up to 1.15 million people opening rights in the year following the entry into force of the reform would receive a lower monthly allowance (by 17% on average), with , at the same time a “Theoretical duration of compensation” extended (14 months on average compared to 11 before the reform). The Ministry of Labor disputes this figure, stressing that it does not take into account the improvement in the economic situation, nor “Behavioral effects” hoped for reform.
If Mr. Beaugas does not see “No reason to be pessimistic” on the SJR, the rest of the reform, namely the hardening of the rules on the degression of benefits and on the duration of affiliation necessary to open or top up a right, has so far not been called into question by the Council of state.
If the conditions for improving employment are met in 1is December as is likely, the membership duration will then be reduced from four to six months. And the decrease of 30% for benefit recipients under 57 years of age who have lost remuneration greater than 4,500 euros gross per month will apply to the seventh month of compensation and no longer to the ninth.