Home » Why it matters. Unemployment insurance reform in the sights of the unions

Why it matters. Unemployment insurance reform in the sights of the unions

by archyw

Why it matters. The unemployment insurance reform is due to come into force on July 1, but the unions do not want it. They will therefore file appeals before the Council of State on Tuesday or Wednesday, FO announces.

All the trade unions, or almost (except the CFDT), joined hands: “We did not draft a common appeal because each organization has its line, but our lawyers will symbolically go together to show our common opposition. This is not the ultimate hope but we are counting on it a lot “, explains Michel Beaugas (FO).

Quid du SJR?

The unions will file an interim suspension and a referral on the merits. Then, the judges will have one month to decide on the possible suspension.

At the heart of the reform: the modification on July 1 of the calculation of the daily reference wage (SJR). It is the basis for calculating unemployment benefit and is currently obtained by dividing the gross wages received during the last 12 months by the number of days worked during this “reference period”.

“The definition of the reference salary is fundamental because it raises the question of the income that unemployment insurance must replace”, comments economic expert Bruno Coquet.

Why is this reform a problem?

“Defining the income to replace was easy when everyone was leaving a full-time or even part-time CDI. There were no holes in the employment history,” explains the economist.

However, with the explosion of short contracts, “strong inequalities between the unemployed who have had split contracts and those who have worked every day” appear.

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Concretely, the SJR is higher for the first ones than for the second. Those who work 15 days a month will therefore have a monthly allowance twice as high as those on a part-time CDI.

According to the Dares, these “permittents” are however little able “to optimize” the unemployment benefit. Michel Beaugas reminds us at the same time that it is the employers who choose these short contracts.

The unions therefore fear that the reform of the SJR will lower the ceiling for unemployment-wage accumulation and accentuate inequalities, especially for people on partial unemployment or on maternity leave.

Bruno Coquet illustrates unemployment insurance by “a house of cards” of which one cannot move a card (the SJR) in isolation from the others (eligibility conditions, duration of rights, replacement rate, accumulation rules …).

“For the unemployed to receive the same allowance in relation to the income they have provided, a new reform will be needed,” he adds.

What does the executive think?

The inequalities generated by this reform therefore raise questions. In response, the Minister of Labor, Élisabeth Borne, drew up an amending decree which provides for counting unusual compensation periods “as if the salary had been at its usual level”.

With the approach of the appeals before the Council of State, the government is calm: “The judge is sovereign”. Michel Beaugas hopes that “if the judges suspend, it will be a remobilizer against the reform”.

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