Emmanuel Macron Morningfuture
Guiding The Case 4 April Apr 2018 0830 4 April 2018

How Macron is revolutionising the French labour market

Flexibility and benefits for those who lose their jobs: with a great reform plan, the French labour market is changing. The keyword is “flexicurity.”

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Flexicurity. This combines the flexibility of the market with state benefits to facilitate a transition from one job to another. The word summarises French president Emmanuel Macron’s, vision of the labour world. Elected last year, Macron based much of his election campaign on labour reform, some of which has already been implemented.

Macron’s approach allows employment contracts to be negotiated at a company level, and not nationally. This provides greater freedom for companies to discuss details of contracts with individuals and no longer be bound by collective agreements.

Another new feature is the abolition of the "global health of the company" clause, which allowed collective redundancies to be blocked if the company had profits. Under the new Code, the court can only oppose redundancies if the company's French arm has a positive balance sheet, without considering the general budget.

Economic compensation for unjust dismissals will be established using a table. This existed before the reform but was largely unenforceable as the judges tended to award workers more "generous" settlements.

Companies with less than 50 employees have greater freedom. For example, the management of workers' safety and their representation, will be entrusted to a single organisation. Fixed-term contracts liberalised by the reform will also change. In the past, their duration and renewal possibility (up to a maximum of twice) were legally established. Now, these conditions can be discussed independently with trade unions by the companies from different sectors.

The greater flexibility means that the state is committed to protect unemployed workers.

Greater flexibility means that the state is committed to protect unemployed workers. To function properly, a flexible system needs workers who are unafraid of being unemployed but are convinced they can find even a better employment than before, and without having to spend all their savings.

This is why Macron has planned state benefits not only for those who are made redundant but those who decide to resign and look for another job. The idea is that a worker who finds a more stimulating environment becomes more productive and provides advantages for the State. It is an expensive measure, but Macron intends to cover the cost by using part of the many benefits available (for sickness, unemployment, etc.) and merging them into a single fund.

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