Unemployment insurance: the uncertain effects of reform

Unemployment insurance: the uncertain effects of reform

Back to Unedic Surplus. After the Covid crisis that would have characterized the unemployment insurance scheme financially, by almost doubling its debt (from 37 billion euros in 2019 to 64 billion in 2021), the improvement in the economic situation is palpable in the accounts, with an expected surplus of 2.5 billion in 2022.

The improvement should continue in the coming years, with 3.1 billion surpluses in 2023 and 4.2 billion in 2024. “The French economy continues to benefit from the positive momentum to end the crisis”, Christophe Valenti, General Manager of Unédic confirms.

It is recognized that a slowdown in growth will have an impact, as will a slowdown in job creation. But inflation can play a positive role in unemployment insurance calculations: “It leads to an increase in salaries and therefore in our salary-dependent revenue,” Christophe Valenti explains.

10 billion debt relief in three years

As a result of this return to surpluses, Unédic could begin to reduce its debt by repaying 1.9 billion euros of debt from 2022. More than half of this amount will be due at the end of emergency measures (including partial unemployment, which remains much higher.) from its pre-crisis level), a third of the improvement in the economic situation and 16% of the unemployment insurance reform, the last elements of which entered into force last November.

“Over three years, we will get rid of 10 billion euros of debt: two thirds of this amount will go back to reform,” Honoring Patricia Ferran, President of Unédic, where she represents CFDT. But if unionism can only observe the positive effects on the finances of the system, it remains more cautious about the consequences for unemployment and, above all, for the unemployed.

“We are sticking to last year’s impact study for now,” Emphasizes. This effectively provided the savings that had been made, but also led to significant reductions in compensation for many of the unemployed.

Study the effects of the current reform

In its forecasts for the next few years, Unédic is counting on a stabilization of the number of unemployed people receiving benefits at around 2.4 million and on a gradual decrease in the unemployment rate to 7% in 2024. “However symbolic, the percentage of the unemployed receiving benefits says nothing of the possible hidden effects of reform: even stability does not mean reform has no effect, Patricia Ferran insists. This says nothing, for example, about the level of compensation for the unemployed. »

A very slight rise in unemployment in April

A study of the effects of the reform is underway, which will be absolutely necessary as unions and employers will soon have to negotiate new compensation rules. The decree governing unemployment insurance already expires at the end of October: the government must therefore by the end of June send to the social partners the framework document that will serve as the basis for negotiation.

“If there are negotiations, we must know the effects of reform in a strict, comprehensive and standardized way,” So Patricia Ferran, with the support of her Vice President, Jan Euds Teson, representative of Medef thinks: “For now, we can always re-discuss, but will we be able to conclude?” The question of extending the current decree is also on the agenda, but it requires the opinion of the State Council.

We cannot negotiate under pressure.

For CFDT Secretary General Laurent Berger, the way in which the government will consider these negotiations will be symbolic of “new style” It was announced by Emmanuel Macron. The social partners were wrecked by previous negotiations, framed in such a way that they could not succeed by the government, which then regained control and enforced its reform.

“You cannot negotiate under duress, The head of the CFDT explained Wednesday, June 8, before the Syndicate of Social Information Journalists. Negotiation cannot be “here are the 10 conclusions you have to reach.” »

For Unédic, there will also be the issue of 19 billion in Covid debt due to emergency measures taken by the government (particularly partial unemployment). The unemployment insurance system considers that it is not necessary for it to bear entirely alone the consequences of expenditures which, however effective for employment, were not wholly of their own making. One way or another, the state will also have to do its part. The head of Unédic assures us: “On this, the social partners are unanimous! »

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Accounts that get better

for the coming yearsUnédic expects an increase in its revenue (€42 billion in 2022; 42.5 in 2023 and 43.8 in 2024), under the influence of an inflated wage bill.

upside down, if new jobs stabilize (+79,000 in 2022, +52,000 in 2023; +80,000 in 2024), unemployment benefits should fall: 33.2 billion in 2022; 32.8 in 2023, 32.6 in 2024.

And then a positive account balance (+2.5 billion in 2022, +3.1 billion in 2023 and +4.2 billion in 2024) and the gradual deleveraging (61 billion in 2022, 58 in 2023, 53.7 in 2024) which is supposed to prevent Unédic borrowing in the coming years.

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