Tougher rules on job seeking under review

Heavier sanctions for those abusing the unemployment benefit system are under review

One of President Macron’s campaign promises was that benefit would be forfeited if people failed to do enough to look for work or refused reasonable offers of work – and a consultation is under way with the unions, to lead to proposals for a new law by mid-February.

Work Minister Muriel Péni­caud says the aim is to reinforce the existing sanctions, focussing on ‘fraudsters’ as opposed to those who are just ‘discouraged’ and who need more ‘accompaniment’. The government also wants to ‘tidy up’ the current rules, as she said they can be ‘illogical’ – for example some­times being much tougher for a missed Pôle Emploi appointment than for not seeking work.

Other campaign promises being looked at in the consultation include a form of benefit for the self-employed who cannot find work, the chance for workers to resign and claim benefit once every five years and encouraging employers to take on more people on permanent (CDI) contracts.

In proposals sent to unions and employers’ bodies the government suggests benefit for people resigning should be for those with ‘plans to progress their career’, given for a shorter than usual period and subject to new ceilings on the amount.

This reportedly comes as studies found the measures likely to be more costly than was thought.

The head of employers’ body Medef Pierre Gattaz has proposed ‘daily or weekly’ checks on jobseekers – but Medef is less keen on Mr Ma­cron’s campaign idea of a bonus/surcharge linked to numbers of short-term (CDD) contracts. The idea has been shelved for now with the proviso that it may return if no other ideas emerge.