Unemployment benefit to be opened to all

Changes in unemployment benefit are due for summer 2018 – with new categories of people set to benefit.

7 June 2017
By Oliver Rowland

The big difference will be that self-employed people and those who have resigned will be able to claim.

People will only be able to quit their jobs once in five years and claim the benefit, in a bid to avoid people abusing the system.

The changes were a manifesto promise of President Macron, who said during his campaigning he would create ‘universal unemployment insurance’.

A raft of independent workers are set to be able to claim, such as artisans and commerçants, farmers and people in the professions liberales. At present they do not have this safety net.

The government says the changes will be ‘progressively put into place’ from summer next year, so that every person may ‘create or seize a professional opportunity without fearing losing all financial resources’.

The think tank Institut Montaigne calculates the measures could cost anything from €4.8billion to €8.7bn a year, however President Macron is banking on being able to make savings by reducing the unemployment rate to 7% by the end of his five-year term.

Rules for calculating length and amount of unemployment benefit are not changing, although there was a tightening of the rules in May, just before the presidential election, for people aged 50-55, who are not able to claim for as long as before (though still longer than younger people).

President Macron also said in his manifesto that his government would be tougher on those who do not demonstrate sufficient effort to find work or who repeatedly refuse offered jobs.

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