Reform to tighten France’s unemployment rules suspended after election

The controversial changes included cutting the maximum time that most people can claim benefits from 18 to 15 months

The reform has been controversial, but Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has now confirmed its suspension

The French government has suspended the planned introduction of new unemployment reforms following the first round of the legislative elections.

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Prime Minister Gabriel Attal confirmed the suspension to FranceInfo on June 30, presenting it as a means of easing the path towards working with the left wing Nouveau Front Populaire, which had opposed the reforms. 

“This reform may be the subject of changes after negotiations between republican allies,” his office said in a statement, adding: “This is the first gesture of Gabriel Attal with regard to working with a future parliamentary majority.”

The planned reform was due to be issued by decree today (July 1).

Controversial changes

The reform has been controversial, and was rejected by unions.

It would have: 

  • Cut the maximum time that people aged under 57 can claim unemployment benefits, from 18 months to 15 months. 

  • Required job seekers to have worked for eight in the previous 20 months to be eligible for benefits, up from the current requirement of six of the last 24 months.

The text expected from the government would first extend the existing rules until November 30, then implement the reform from December 1.

To avoid a ‘legal vacuum’ - as the current unemployment rules were only set to be valid until yesterday (Sunday, June 30) - a joint decree to cover the interim period is to be published today.