A first lively debate on the reform of unemployment insurance

The National Assembly made its return to school on Monday. And for the occasion, the Palais-Bourbon immediately found itself at the heart of lively debates. It must be said that the government defended its disputed bill on Monday evening, which initiates a new reform of unemployment insurance. After a debate on Ukraine in the afternoon, at the opening of the ordinary session, the deputies went on in the evening with this “emergency” text, in a fairly full hemicycle where skirmishes continued.

The bill initially provides for extending the current rules of unemployment insurance, from the first five-year term of Emmanuel Macron. The text also triggers the possibility, by decree, of modulating this insurance so that it is “stricter when too many jobs are unfilled, more generous when unemployment is high”, in the words of the Head of State during presidential campaign.

Entry into force scheduled for early 2023

“We have to get out of false debates and caricatures: encouraging working people to find a job a little faster than today – when many opportunities exist – is not to cast shame on them, make them feel guilty or allege that some “take advantage of the system”, launched the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt at kick-off in a rowdy atmosphere. After a consultation phase of six to eight weeks with the social partners, the government will decide by decree on the form that this modulation of unemployment insurance will take, for entry into force at the start of 2023.

The executive insists that there is urgency, in the face of recruitment difficulties, and makes this reform one of the conditions for achieving the objective of full employment in 2027, i.e. an unemployment rate of around 5% against 7.4% currently. The current unemployment insurance scheme is “one of the most generous in Europe”, repeated Olivier Dussopt under the protests of Nupes.

The LFI group unsuccessfully defended a motion for the prior rejection of the text, by the voice of Hadrien Clouet who unleashed his blows against a “brutal project”, accompanied by a request by the government for “full powers”. “Everyone is afraid of the months to come and here” are launched “the great hunt for the unemployed and the great sale of wages”, castigated the elected representative of Haute-Garonne. “We want stable rights”, added the communist Pierre Dharréville.

Concessions for LR

RN MPs backed the rejection motion, despite protests from some on the left. “This reform is unfair”, supported Kévin Mauvieux on behalf of the group chaired by Marine Le Pen, while acknowledging that he does not “agree on the remedy” for unemployment in Nupes. “The national priority and economic patriotism will bring back employment in France”, according to him.

The elected LRs judge for their part that the text does not go far enough in tightening the rules of unemployment insurance, but should support it or at least abstain, which will allow the text to be adopted, despite the majority. relative of macronists. Olivier Dussopt has also made overtures to proposals from the right to toughen access to compensation on the grounds of “post abandonment”, or to simplify the validation of acquired experience (VAE), in particular for caregivers, another aspect of the bill.

In the event of a blockage, Borne has “tools to move forward”

On Monday, the evening session recalled certain summer hours during the first steps of the new Assembly. The din was at its height when environmentalist Sandrine Rousseau spoke: “If you want full employment, share the work, do the four-day week”, she launched to the majority , under the clicks of the desk. The president of the deputies LFI Mathilde Panot split a point of order to deplore this ” hubbub “, particularly during the interventions of left-wing women: ” This sexism is not acceptable in the National Assembly “.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne had received the parliamentarians of the majority at Matignon earlier to tell them of her “confidence”: “we are ready, we have a method and a will”, she assured them, according to reported comments. . And to add: in the event of a blockage, “the Constitution offers us tools to move forward”. The bill is on the menu at the Palais-Bourbon until Wednesday, before its passage in the Senate on October 25.

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