Birth of France travail, overhaul of support for RSA beneficiaries, with a contract of employment, which may provide for between 15 and 20 hours of activity, and easier sanctions... The government presented this Wednesday, June 7, its draft full employment law. Éric Heyer, director of the analysis and forecasting department of the French Observatory of Economic Conditions (OFCE), deciphers for Le Point the measures contained in this new reform.
Le Point: The full-employment bill aims to simplify the public employment service by creating the France travail network, which should allow the various organizations to coordinate better. Real breakthrough or new gas plant?
Éric Heyer: For the moment, it is difficult to assess the relevance of this new device. Trying to simplify and rationalize the course of the unemployed is a priori a good idea. But sometimes, by trying to simplify, we add complexity… But what is certain is that it is not this measure that will allow us to achieve full employment.
Support for RSA beneficiaries has also been renewed. Should this be tackled?
We must first defeat an idea that can slip behind these speeches: no, we do not live well with the RSA. The beneficiaries of this allowance are not people who "loose" in a comfortable situation and who should be punished, because they do not rush to unfilled job offers. They are sometimes very far from the job market, and it is not enough for them to cross the street to find a job. RSA is called "passive spending," a safety net.
But the role of the state cannot stop there: we must succeed in bringing these people back to work. And for this, it is necessary to set up "active expenses", training, theoretical or in business, which will allow them to acquire skills. Then, we can actually think about a sanction if the person refuses. It would be difficult to completely remove this safety net, but suspending his RSA for a few days as a small fine, why not. But don't make it conditional on a real job! What is important is the active expenditure made to train the person. Not to condition the RSA.
Will this be enough to achieve full employment?
Clearly, no. There are other reasons why we have unfilled vacancies today, and first and foremost the problem of mobility. Today it is very difficult to change regions because of the housing problem. When you are a tenant, you bear the full brunt of rising rents when you move. And if you are a homeowner in a region where the employment pool is in a catastrophic state, it is only at the time of sale that you will collect the loss in value of your home. Finally, the fall in unemployment depends above all on job creation.
What are your job creation forecasts for the next few months?
They are not terrible... That said, our models have been contradicted by reality since 2019, with much more dynamic job creation than we anticipated. But for two months, the job prospects of business leaders, who had been in good shape in recent years, have turned around. The party seems to be over. This does not mean that we are going to see job losses, but we believe that they should not be sufficient to bring down unemployment. This one should even go up.