“The first meeting will take place on October 17 and will be followed by two meetings by the end of November,” said Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt in a letter sent to the social partners on Wednesday, which AFP read.

This consultation stems from the bill on “emergency measures” for “full employment”, adopted Tuesday at first reading in the National Assembly. It triggers the possibility, by decree, at the end of the consultation, of modulating unemployment insurance so that it is “stricter when too many jobs are unfilled, more generous when unemployment is high”, according to the Emmanuel Macron’s words during the presidential campaign.

The government wants to act quickly, seeing it as one of the ways of tackling the recruitment difficulties complained of by companies despite an unemployment rate of 7.4%.

In his letter, the Minister specifies “the general questions which this consultation aims to answer”: what state of play of the labor market and “what diagnosis on the very significant increase in recruitment difficulties”, “what parameter(s) ) of the unemployment insurance scheme could be subject to modulation”, how to define “the criteria and procedures for triggering the transition to the different rules as well as the extent of the variations to be expected?”.

Attached to the letter, a 25-page “consultation support” details the avenues of work.

It indicates in particular that the modulation mechanism “could apply to different parameters of the regime, which can be of two kinds”.

On the one hand, the conditions of access to unemployment insurance: “you must have worked for a certain period” (eligibility threshold, 6 months) “over a given period of time” (reference period for affiliation, 24 months), he recalls.

On the other hand, “compensation parameters”: the minimum – 6 months – and maximum duration of compensation – 24 months, 30 months for those aged 53-54, 36 months for those aged 55 and over, and the fact that one hour contributed gives the right to one hour compensated.

All of these parameters are subject to reflection by the social partners, “with the exception of the modulation of the amount of compensation (…) which the government dismisses from the outset”, underlines the document.

On the economic criteria, the executive mentions in particular the unemployment rate, which has the advantage of being “the most readable indicator” but which includes “a part of hazard”, as well as the “tension indicators ” (difficulties in recruiting and lack of personnel measured by business surveys or hiring for more than a month in relation to the number of unemployed).

Recognizing that a rule never reflects “with complete accuracy the situation of the labor market”, he plans to consult an “advisory committee of experts” before any change.

The executive seems to exclude a variation of the rules according to the local situation as in Canada. “Beyond the complexity it generates, such territorialisation could have negative effects such as slowing down the mobility of job seekers, slowing down job creation in areas that are already the least favored”.

The consultation is however likely to be not very fruitful because if the employers are favorable, the unions are all opposed to the principle of modulation, seeing there a “stigmatization of the unemployed”.

If “employers are struggling to recruit today, it is firstly because they cannot find the qualifications and skills they are looking for”, and because “the working or employment conditions offered (.. .) pose problems: salaries that are too low, atypical or unpredictable hours, poor working conditions, very short contracts, difficulties linked to the mode of transport…”, they declared in a joint press release.

In addition, the CGT suspended “all participation in meetings with the government and employers” after the requisitions of strikers in the refineries.