“It was to be one of the iconic measures of the Macron five-year term, but it never knew how to find its place”, immediately attacks Stéphanie Villers, economist specializing in macro. We are not even talking about the famous pension reform, scattered to the four winds of the coronavirus, but about universal unemployment. This means nothing to you ? It’s normal, and that’s the problem. “It’s a measure that went under the radar, because it ultimately had very little impact and did not keep the promises of the slogan,” says Claire Vivès, sociologist at the Center for Employment Studies and work. Do not throw any more, oblivion is consumed. How to explain it? A step back is necessary.

In 2017, candidate Emmanuel Macron proposed universal unemployment insurance, an idea broken down into two parts. On the one hand, also compensate the self-employed, traders, craftsmen, self-employed, intermittent … who do not contribute. On the other hand, allow resigning people to receive unemployment. The candidate’s campaign site states: “We will introduce unemployment insurance for all, because in a changing world, unemployment can no longer be a risk against which some cover themselves individually, and others by collective guarantees. But that was in theory.

A butchered measure of its value

Concerning this second part, in practice, “the social partners have seized the device and have enormously restricted it, so that the project has lost its potential”, notes Stéphanie Villers. The final reform, set in mid-2018 in the Professional Future Law and which entered into force on November 1, 2019, is indeed less generous. If they have worked for at least five years in a row, employees who resign with a “professional retraining project” can benefit for two years (three years for those over 50) from the same unemployment compensation as other job seekers. ‘use.

This professional retraining project must in particular be assessed by Unédic and obtain the green light from the association. An aberration for the economist: “What is the credibility of Unédic to validate a professional project? This undermines reform. The basic idea was to encourage the creation of initiatives by empowering people, not infantilizing them to hold them accountable. »

The coronavirus as the ultimate spoilsport

Another factor in the massive lack of interest in this measure is a certain epidemic that appeared in 2020: “With the coronavirus, and now the economic uncertainty linked to the war in Ukraine, the period is not conducive to job abandonment and professional initiatives” , says Stéphanie Villers, the majority of employees preferring to stay warm on permanent contracts.

Claire Vivès adds that even with a professional project well in mind, most people wishing to leave their job first seek a conventional break. And even if this does not work, “there were already 17 reasons deemed legitimate to resign while accessing unemployment before the Macron five-year term. In the end, this reform of universal unemployment insurance only adds one more, and very complicated to access. As a result, in November 2021, only 14,000 people – out of 2.2 million job seekers – received unemployment thanks to this device, indicates Claire Vivès. Not really enough to mark the spirits.

10,000 concerned for 2.2 million unemployed

Almost similar observation for the first part of universality, the extension to the self-employed. Again, a severe rewriting affected the measure, since the device only applies in fact to the self-employed “in the event of judicial liquidation”. The compensation is capped at an amount of 800 euros per month and for a maximum period of six months, requiring in addition an income of at least 10,000 euros over the year. And again, the coronavirus has driven the point home. “With the health crisis, the self-employed, particularly affected by the consequences of the epidemic, were much more affected by the solidarity fund than by universal unemployment”, notes Stéphanie Villers. Figure still on the side of Claire Vivès: in July, only 1,000 people benefited from this unemployment.

The reform, announced with great fanfare, therefore concerns about 15,000 people in total in the country. “When we promise universal unemployment, the French had the right to hope for a little more! remarks the sociologist. Which reminds us that in France, one out of two non-active people does not receive unemployment. “Difficult to speak of universality in this case,” she notes.

Last point, and not least: when we talk about unemployment and reform about Emmanuel Macron, it is not to this measure that we think first, according to the sociologist: “The reform of unemployment insurance, which came into effect in November 2021, is much more significant and concerning. And it does not go in the direction of unemployment for all, on the contrary. According to an estimate made public in April 2021 by Unédic, up to 1.15 million jobseekers have seen their allowance reduced, by 17% on average.