Unemployment benefits

22 Jan 2016

Unemployment benefits

Laurence Savelli, Lorraine Chéry

Law of 18 December 2015 on unemployment benefits

The law of 18 December 2015, modifying the Labour Code, the law modified of 17 February 2009 and the law modified of 3 August 2010 (hereinafter referred to as the “Law”) was published in Mémorial A - N°254 of 24 December 2015. The law contains the following new points:

1. Provisions relating to reference periods and average weekly working hours (articles L. 211-6 to L. 211-10 of the Labour Code) introduced by the law of 12 February 1999 regarding the implementation of a national action plan for employment (“PAN”) have been extended until 31 December 2016.

2. Current legal provisions regarding training courses to get jobseekers over the age of 30 back into work have been replaced by new provisions related to professional training courses and contracts to get people working again (“contrats réinsertion-emploi” - hereinafter referred to as “CREs”). These two new tools are aimed at: 

  • on the one hand, jobseekers aged at least 45 or involved in external redeployment or employees with disabilities registered with the ADEM for at least 1 month, and 
  • on the other hand, employers who can offer the jobseekers targeted above real job prospects at the end of the professional training course or of the CRE.

The professional training course cannot in principle exceed 6 weeks. During the course, the unemployed person will keep his/her full unemployment benefits, along with an additional payment, as well as getting 2 days’ holiday a month. At the end of the course, the company involved will write to the “ADEM” about the jobseeker’s potential for getting a job within the company. If the jobseeker is employed at the end of the course, the employer can apply for the subsidies outlined in article L.541-1 of the Employment Code (reimbursement of social security contributions). If the new employee is on a permanent contract, the “Fonds pour l’Emploi” will refund the employer 50% of the minimum salary for unqualified employees for 12 months, once an application is sent to the ADEM. 

The “contrat de réinsertion-emploi” (CRE)is between the employer, the jobseeker and the ADEM. It includes alternating periods of practical and theoretical training. During the CRE, the unemployed person on benefits will keep his/her full unemployment benefits, along with an additional payment, as well as getting 2 days’ holiday a month. The CRE will come to an end if the jobseeker gets an appropriate job, either within the same company, or within another company, and at the latest at the end of a period of employment of 12 months. If the jobseeker is taken on as soon as the CRE comes to an end, the CRE period, plus the length of any professional training course that immediately preceded it, is incorporated into a trial period. If the jobseeker is taken on at the end of the CRE, the employer can request a refund for social security contributions. When recruiting new staff, the employer must recruit the former beneficiary of a CRE who has gone back to unemployment as a priority, as long as he/she fulfils the qualifications and profile required, and if the CRE has expired within the 3 months preceding the recruitment process.

3. As stipulated by the law of 19 December 2014, the provision whereby the government pays for the first 16 hours of work lost in the event of partial unemployment due to structural changes, has been maintained until 31 December 2016 as long as an approved plan to keep them in their job has been signed (“plan de maintien dans l’emploi”). In contrast, this temporary measure has not been maintained beyond 31 December 2015 for partial unemployment due to a temporary situation, following “force majeure” or economic dependence.

4. Extension of the following measures to boost employment until 31 December 2017

  • extension of the measure encouraging the quick transfer of employees who have been dismissed with notice to a new employer (old employer paying social security contributions for the salary paid by the new employer for the whole remaining notice period), 
  • option for companies who are not within a sector declared to be in crisis to have the right to a partial unemployment scheme for a temporary situation as long as they have negotiated an approved plan to keep employees in their jobs, 
  • extension of unemployment benefits for 6 months for jobseekers aged over 45 with proof of 20 years of compulsory insurance or who have been dismissed by a company on a partial unemployment scheme for at least 6 months at the time of the redundancy, 
  • extension of the change to the sliding scale applied to unemployment benefits, introducing the first threshold only after 273 days and suspending the application of the second threshold.

Law of 18 December 2015 (Mémorial A - N°254 of 24 December 2015)