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Unemployment insurance. Four questions on the Canadian model, from which the government wishes to draw inspiration

“The heart of the battle is full employment. » Emmanuel Macron once again hammered home his desire to see France drop below 5% unemployment rate by 2027, synonymous with ” full employment “during his July 14 interview.

For the moment, INSEE estimates the unemployment rate at 7.3% in the first quarter of 2022. So to achieve his objective, the President of the Republic has notably expressed his wish ” go further “ on unemployment insurance reform. Under Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term, a first reform, on the calculation of unemployment compensation, had already created a lot of controversy.

The Minister in charge of Labour, Olivier Dussopt, gave details and explained on Tuesday July 26, 2022 in The Parisian that “compensation (unemployment) rules must take into account the situation of the labor market, as does, for example, Canada”. A different model from what France is experiencing today.

How does this Canadian model work? What changes should we prepare for? We take stock of what could change for the French in the coming months.

Read also: Radiation, resumption of employment, forgetting… How do you get out of the lists of unemployed people from Pôle Emploi?

1. How does the Canadian model work?

In Canada, the amount of unemployment benefits is not the same for all residents. According to a report written by two lawyers from Unédic, the organization responsible for managing unemployment insurance in France, one element causes the amount of the allowance to vary: the economic situation of the region in which you live.

To benefit from unemployment benefit in Canada, you must prove that you have been affiliated for a period of time, i.e. a minimum number of hours worked, between “420 and 700 hours”. “The lower the regional unemployment rate, the more you need to have worked to be eligible”summarizes this report.

For example, a person looking for work in a region with a 6% unemployment rate must have worked 700 hours to obtain their benefit. Conversely, someone who lives in a region with an unemployment rate of 11.5% will need to have worked much less, again according to Unédic.

The philosophy is the same concerning the duration of the compensation, which varies between 14 and 45 weeks, depending on the good or bad economic health of a region and the number of hours worked by the job seeker.

“When things are going well, we tighten the rules and when things are going badly, we relax them”summed up Minister Olivier Dussopt at the Parisian.

2. Will this model be applied in the same way in France?

To this question, Minister Olivier Dussopt provided more details on his idea of ​​reform on European 1this Wednesday.

“When we are in a situation where the economy is doing well, where jobs are being created, where business leaders are having difficulty recruiting, the unemployment insurance criteria must be very incentivizing and a little tougher, explains the Minister. On the other hand, when the economy is doing badly and there are job cuts, the unemployment insurance criteria must be more protective for employees. »

But the unemployment rate will probably not be the only criterion examined, assures Olivier Dussopt: “Job creation, growth, productivity”, will also be taken into account to define when the economic situation is good or bad.

“We have to find the right criteria and the right parameters with the social partners”, said the Minister, referring to discussions “from the start of the school year”.

Beyond the question of the amount of the allowances, the Minister also indicated that “the duration of compensation, the duration of work that must be accumulated to justify an allowance” could also fluctuate.

3. Is this an economically efficient measure?

Are we certain to reduce the number of unemployed thanks to this reform? “In principle, it is difficult to be against such a system”, explains economist Bertrand Martinot, labor market specialist interviewed by Le Figaro .

Also questioned by the daily, Stéphane Carcillo, economist at the OECD, argues that this type of mechanism would make it possible to“ensure good compensation and a quick return to work, while balancing unemployment insurance accounts”.

But the idea is not shared by all specialists. Bruno Coquet, recognized expert on unemployment issues at the Observatory of Economic Conditions (OFCE) interviewed by The world believes that“there is, strictly speaking, no demonstrated link between unemployment insurance and recruitment difficulties”.

He recalls that only “40% of job seekers” receive unemployment benefits. Why the remaining 60% “don’t accept the jobs?” », “this point should still be clarified”, he adds to theAFP.

The economist Frédéric Farah also judges, in the magazine Marianne that this model is not efficient, and abounds that “unemployment is not an individual matter, it is a question of productive forces, and therefore of working conditions and remuneration”, calling for an increase in the minimum wage and a better redistribution of the wealth produced to employees.

4. How are the unions reacting?

The unions had already been strongly mobilized, at the time of the first overhaul of unemployment insurance, during the first term of Emmanuel Macron.

For the CGT, this new reform is “fuzzy and dangerous”, according to Denis Gravouil, secretary general, at theAFP. This is “a kind of acceleration of the change in the nature of unemployment insurance, making it an instrument of pressure to accept any job”.

The Canadian model “looks pretty on paper”but “will mainly hit people who have difficulty finding a job”, adds Jean-François Foucard (CFE-CGC).

For Michel Beaugas, of Force Ouvrière, “It’s a double, even triple penalty for job seekers: the latest reform already lowers compensation and we’re going to tell them: ‘We’re going to shorten it'”. However, he points out, the reason for the recruitment tensions, “is not unemployment insurance, but the attractiveness of jobs, hours, working conditions and salary”.

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