Unemployment insurance: lessons from defeat

The State Council examined unemployment insurance reforms in December 2021, ending a long battle with a government victory after two and a half years of chaotic court drama.

At his camp, he was able to rely on the support of economists such as Pierre Kahook and Jean Tirole, and the last and last Medef rally. On the contrary, all employee unions unanimously opposed the reforms described by Laurent Berger (CFDT) and Philippe Martinez (CGT) as “unfair, absurd and vulgar.”

But four years ago, the reforms were based on an almost strictly symmetrical political structure. That is, the unprecedented alliance of all unions behind Macron’s proposal, inspired by economist Jean Tirole, will introduce a new polluter pays. Principles from the perspective of employment and unemployment by establishing an employer-paid bonus Mars mechanism. Medef, as part of that, was very firmly opposed.

But with this complete reversal, it would be wrong to see signs of political or idealistic change on the part of the executive branch. According to his promise, he implemented the bonus Mars system. The cause of this about face is simple. The polluter pays principle that trade unions require from employers has been extended to the employees themselves. Polluter pays, sprinkler-watering.

Bonus-malus … for employees

What is unemployment insurance reform?If you stick to the most controversial clause, the new calculation of daily reference wages (SJR), it’s Bonus Mars orExperience evaluation On the employee side (to use American terminology).

French economists generally follow this practiceExperience evaluation Adjusting Employer Contributions Effective in the United States from an Unemployment Insurance Perspective: Employers in the United States are subject to contributions that vary depending on the costs that employment policies generate in the insurance system. in fact, Experience evaluation More generally, it refers to a system of individualized premiums and / or compensation based on observations of past risk occurrences, a system applicable to all disciplines.

For example, before being banned in the United States by the so-called “Obamacare” law in 2010, this was commonly done by private health insurance companies by adjusting premiums and risk coverage according to the patient’s medical history. Thing. Bad Health, Bad Health Insurance … Donald Trump then tried to recover from a health perspective in the United States, and Emmanuel Macron imposed it in France from an unemployment insurance perspective.

Nowhere else in the French social protection system is a brutal principle of adjusting coverage according to the individual history of covered risk occurrences.

Technically, the daily salary reform will lower the benefit range in proportion to the history of unemployment observed in the previous reference period of 24 months. For the person with the highest salary, the logic is exactly proportional. Employees who are unemployed for one-third of the time during this observation period (whether six months out of 18 or 10 days a month) will have their monthly allowance reduced by one-third. I did. Polluter pays.

For the person with the lowest salary, the allowance is not strictly insurance related, so the reduction is not perfectly proportional. You will also benefit from a fixed portion of € 12 per day that is not affected by the mechanism. But the principle is the same. The history of unemployment in the past observation period leads to a decrease in coverage for the current benefit period.

Nowhere else in the French social protection system is a brutal principle of adjusting coverage according to the individual history of covered risk occurrences. Such a modulation goes against the very spirit of social security. It is also prohibited by the Mutuality Law in terms of health. Indeed, employer contributions include bonus Mars in terms of workplace accidents and occupational illnesses. This depends on the loss experience observed in the company or sector. However, no one (yet) has considered adjusting employee rights according to the number of accidents the employee has experienced.

On the other hand, when it comes to unemployment, recurrence quickly raises suspicion. And the desire to make those who refuse to “cross the street” think of their decision as an old liberal antiphon.

Stop regeneration of polluter pays area

Replaying the game is always easy after.. The union could not expect the government to increase its strength and return bonus Mars weapons against the unemployed. heard. But at the time of the balance sheet, what lessons can we draw from what cannot be reduced to the coup de Jarnac from the government?

In this case, the government and the economists who inspire it have a coherence of idealism to practice without subtle nuances. On the other hand, it replaces labor law standards with financial incentives in the form of social pollution. On the other hand, destroying the principle of collective equalization of social security in the name of the polluter pays principle. This is basically a principle of responsibility aimed at individualizing the financing of the risks covered.

Should we always think that unemployment insurance can be a guide to action in the labor market?

Should I continue to this place, even partially? Should we always think that unemployment insurance can be a guide to action in the labor market? Or do you need to maintain the sole function of compensation? Need to accept or support the introduction of a separate logic of “polluter pays” type of responsibility? Or do we need to stick to the social security-specific logic of collective leveling of risk?

I am convinced that supporting the introduction of Bonus Mars is to let go of the shadow prey, even if it is limited to the contribution of only one employer. It is to defeat the recession in terms of funding by accepting the freeze on contribution rates imposed by employers and now the government. In particular, it violates the leveling logic underlying the economic power of social security mechanisms, which can only cover significant risks because it is based on the insured’s “net contributors” who contribute like everyone else. That is. You will never experience the same level. Of risk.

Granting bonuses in the form of continuous reductions in employee contributions with permanent contracts is similar to cutting off branches based on unemployment insurance capabilities that cover most of the most volatile. I am. In addition, the idea of ​​regulating the labor market by increasing the cost of flexible work also arises from abandonment: this is to price socially polluting rights, and implicitly with respect to use. You will give up imposing standards. In addition, these euro bonus Mars rarely seem to encourage employers to offer permanent contracts rather than short-term contracts.

Finally, Bonus Mars’s weapons have a very ridiculous political and moral attitude given these pitfalls by attacking “bad” bosses and rewarding “good” bosses. Seems to be satisfying. Turning our back on the government’s unemployed, it’s a component of social regression that we haven’t finished measuring.