New name, new identity, new coat of arms, but above all new rules. Pôle emploi will disappear on January 1, 2024 to make way for the new public employment service, “France Travail”. After the publication of a report in April by the High Commissioner for Employment, Thibaut Guilluy, the bill will be presented to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday June 7, before an examination in the Senate during the first half of July.
Behind this new reform, the government’s objective remains the same: to achieve full employment by the end of the five-year term. “We are closer than ever”, regularly repeats the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt.
Proudly displaying the unemployment figures, 7.1% in the first quarter of 2023, its lowest level since 1982, the executive is counting on the overhaul of the institution and its support courses to lower this rate below the bar of 5% before 2027.
Respond to labor needs
This ambition is combined with the desire to respond to calls for help from companies: nearly half of them are currently having difficulty recruiting. “France Travail wants to bring people to the doors of companies”, argued Thibaut Guilluy at the presentation of his report on April 19. Specific portfolios for jobs in tension (catering, transport, health and social) have already been created to encourage job seekers to move towards these sectors.
The pressure on the advisers of Pôle emploi is strong. “There are financial incentives for in-demand jobs. We inform the applicants, it is normal, testifies one of them, based in Paris. But lately, in some agencies, we are pushed to convince anyone to become security guards for the Olympics, as there is a shortage of manpower”.
To solve the problem of shortages, training has been identified as a “major lever” but it must respond more “to the direct needs of companies”, according to the report. A diagnosis shared by Bertrand Martinot, economist at the Institut Montaigne, who nevertheless has reservations about the logic followed by the reform.
“The bill reinforces the hegemonic place of France Travail, designated as the central operator, whereas today it is the training organizations and integration agencies that play a central role in recruitment, develops the economist . It is a pity that they are not allowed to act directly on job seekers and to facilitate training within companies, without going through the Pôle Emploi box. »
Critics also point to the lack of useful measures to reduce unemployment, such as professional retraining or the issue of employment for seniors. “After pushing back the retirement age to 64, we could expect a reform relating to maintaining employment or hiring seniors. But the government prefers to play on the conditionality of aid for people far from the labor market, rather than really helping those who are registered as unemployed, ”regrets Carole Tuchszirer, socio-economist at the Center for Employment and Labor Studies. (Ceet) of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (Cnam).
Integrating RSA beneficiaries
“The bill aims to make up for the labor shortage in businesses and achieve full employment. To do this, it is not only a question of providing work for the unemployed, but also of bringing back to the labor market people who are very far from employment ”, we assure Olivier Dussopt’s cabinet. One of the main projects of the reform thus resides in the integration of a new population into the category of “job seekers”: the approximately 2 million recipients of the active solidarity income (RSA).
According to a report by the Court of Auditors published in January, 70% of eligible people use it and only 40% are registered with Pôle Emploi. “The identification of these people and solutions to the obstacles they face (mobility, childcare, housing, etc.)” must be a priority to bring them back to employment, assured Thibaut Guilluy in his report.
Automatic registration with France Travail
The government promises automatic registration of RSA holders at France Travail and the establishment of “personalized, intensive support courses” according to the degree of marginalization of the recipients. Article 10 of the bill provides, if necessary, to support them specifically for the care of their children with the appointment of a “local actor intended to identify the places available”. This mechanism must find its place in the government plan to open 200,000 additional places in crèches by 2030.
The key point of the reform concerns the establishment of “sanctions”. Recipients will thus have to sign a contract of reciprocal commitments, determining a single “action plan”. This may include the obligation to participate in workshops, training or activities, up to 15-20 hours per week, under penalty of having their allowance suspended.
Risk of breach of trust
“Register these people to help them define a professional path, build a project, get out of precariousness, why not, advances Carole Tuchszirer. But conditioning their allocation means taking the risk of increasing non-take-up. We should already ensure their support and jointly resolve these brakes before talking about sanctions. »
“These are people who are sometimes extremely far from employment. If we enter into this idea of sanction, especially at the very beginning of the course, we risk breaking the already fragile confidence in the institution. Which will be counterproductive”, adds Hélène Ibanez, general secretary at the CFDT “Social protection work employment”, recalling that “some are also completely unable to work”.
In addition, the automatic registration of several million people is a prospect that gives vertigo to employment professionals, who are also facing a labor shortage. “The government wants to double down on intensive support for people far from employment, which implies an increase in the number of advisers, underlines Hélène Ibanez. Means seem to be planned, but they must absolutely match the ambitions. »
42% of RSA recipients have been on it for at least seven years
In the first quarter of 2023, France had 2,800,000 registered with Pôle emploi in category A (unemployed). There were also 2,289,000 people located in the unemployment halo, for example in partial activity (categories B and C).
Including spouses and dependent children, 3.85 million people are covered by the RSA, i.e. 5.8% of the French population. A third of beneficiary households are single-parent families.
According to estimates made by the Court of Auditors in January 2023, seven years after entering the RSA, 42% of recipients are still receiving it, while 34% of recipients are employed. A quarter no longer receive it and remain unemployed.
Between his registration with Pôle emploi and his first appointment with an adviser, an RSA beneficiary waits approximately 150 days. The government hopes to reduce this period to a maximum of one month.