• The government wants to change the way unemployment benefit is calculated on October 1.

  • Several unions plan to file a new appeal with the Council of State.

  • If the reform applies, it will concern the November allowances.

This time around, the government wants to believe it is the right one. He has been trying to change the method of calculating unemployment benefit for a year as part of his comprehensive reform of the return-to-work system. But twice, he was stopped in his tracks by the Council of State. In November 2020, the latter estimated that the new method for determining the "daily reference wage" (SJR) would create too much inequality among job seekers. Then in June 2021, he had again suspended the project - in summary - because of "uncertainties about the economic situation".

Not enough to scare the executive, which therefore returns to the charge a third time.

Thursday evening, he transmitted his project to the social partners, with the firm intention of implementing it from October 1, as Emmanuel Macron had wished in July.

In other words, without waiting for the judgment on the merits of the Council of State.

A more favorable economic context?

On the side of the unions opposed to the reform, the method is coldly received: "It is a passage in force, notes Denis Gravouil, specialist in unemployment insurance at the CGT. It is likely that the decree will be published on September 30, for application the next day. With these extremely short deadlines, the government is putting pressure on the Council of State, because it knows that the latter will have difficulty in judging a text which will already apply ”. "The government had announced it, but we warned them that we would not let them go either," says Michel Beaugas (Force Ouvrière).

Basically, what has changed compared to the month of June, when the unions succeeded in having the reform suspended? For the executive, the economic context, which had cooled the Council of State, has clearly improved. "The strong recovery observed in the labor market, associated with recruitment difficulties, in particular in sectors using short contracts, calls for no further delay in the implementation of the new calculation rules", argues the government in the draft decree.

“To say that the economic improvement justifies lowering the rights of the unemployed is an absolute lie,” retorts Denis Gravouil.

Job seekers do not choose the length of contracts, they take what they find ”.

“The higher your compensation, the easier your job search is, because you don't have to worry about feeding your family every day,” says Michel Beaugas.

New referral in sight

The new way of calculating the allowance is indeed the heart of the battle. By including in part the days not worked in its new formula, it will lead, according to Unédic (which manages unemployment insurance) to lower the monthly allowance by 1.15 million unemployed. On average, the latter will receive 17% less than with the old calculation. Not a problem for the executive, which recalls that the unemployed will be compensated over a longer period.

"The main goal of the reform is above all to save 3 billion euros per year," assures Michel Beaugas.

We will therefore do everything to ensure that the text does not apply and that the unemployed do not have a reduction in their benefits ”.

The CGT and FO have in fact planned to file a new summary before the Council of State as soon as the decree is officially published.

"We will have a short time to act" recognizes Michel Beaugas.

The outcome of this third round between unions and government will condition the amount of allowances paid in November to the new unemployed who will register in October.

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