the 2021 reform has cost job seekers dearly

Lower benefits, lower entitlements and a lower proportion of unemployed people receiving compensation from Pôle Emploi: these were the effects of the unemployment insurance reform, which came into force at the end of 2021, tightening the conditions for compensation for job seekers, according to a study by Unédic.

The organization managing unemployment insurance had already noted, in June, the effect on its accounts: a gain of 2 billion per year, allowing it to free itself in part from the debt caused by the support measures for the Covid decided by the government. But he also wanted to assess the consequences for the unemployed. Hence this study presented on December 15 to the Unédic office.

While a new reform is already due to come into force on 1 February next, Unédic first notes a significant drop in entitlements: – 20% between June 2019 and June 2022, a drop due not only to the improvement in the economic situation, but also to the fact that it is now necessary to have worked six months, and no longer four to open rights to unemployment.

A “ransack” for the CGT

The decline is also much more significant for the most vulnerable groups: those under 25 (-26%), fixed-term contracts (-30%) and temporary workers (-37%). It is also so in the sectors that consume the most short-term contracts (agriculture, hotels and restaurants, entertainment, etc.). As a result, the number of beneficiaries fell: -275,000, i.e. -7%, between July 2021 and June 2022.

More accentuated since the beginning of 2022, this fall is not only due to that of unemployment: “The rate of compensation among those registered fell by nearly 4 points in 2022, from 40.4% in December 2021 to 36.6% in June 2022”notes the CGT which speaks of a “ransack”.

Reduction in the daily allowance

The reform also affected the calculation of unemployment benefit. At first glance, this appears relatively stable, with the average daily allowance only increasing from €37.80 to €37.30 between the first half of 2019 and the first half of 2022.

But Unédic also recalls that, over the same period, the average salary increased by 7.7%: the reform of the calculation of the allowance would therefore have canceled the effects of the increase in salaries for the unemployed. At the same time, inflation was 6.4%, chipping away at their purchasing power.

Unédic also points out that the daily allowance of those who have opened rights under the new rules is particularly affected, with an average reduction of €3, or 16% less, which is faithful to the projections of the Unédic before the reform. If half of the recipients are not affected, 30% experience a drop of more than 10%.

The duration of extension rights… for now

Around 40% of recipients thus find themselves with an amount lower than the minimum allowance (compared to 27% in 2019). Those who find themselves below the minimum are more often women, entrants after the end of an apprenticeship contract or part-time.

As a result, and while the number of RSA beneficiaries has fallen, the share of unemployed RSA will drop from 3% in June 2021 to 4% in June 2022 (5% of those subject to the new rules).

On the other hand, if the allowance is lower, the potential duration of the rights has increased by 86 days, going from 465 to 511 days between the first half of 2019 and the first half of 2022. It is even longer by 110 days for recipients subject to the new rules.

“Behaviours take several months to adapt”

This government’s desire for a longer duration of compensation in exchange for a lower allowance should however be canceled by the next reform which is due to come into force on February 1, 2023 with the objective of reducing the duration of unemployment by 25%. compensation.

Finally, if the aim of the reform was to push the unemployed to seek a job more actively or to accept one more easily, the study does not yet note any change in behaviour. “Behaviors potentially take several months to adapt”notes Unédic, for whom “these changes are not necessarily observed in the short term”.

This is also the case for employers. While the bonus-malus system intended to encourage them to turn less to short-term contracts only came into force in September, a survey of the unemployed underlines that they “do not see any changes in recruitment behaviors and practices”.


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