How France aims to calm youths and get them jobs

French PM Manuel Valls announced 11 measures on Monday aimed at appeasing France’s frustrated young generation and help them find jobs that have proved hard to come by.

How France aims to calm youths and get them jobs
Photo: AFP

The measures will cost the government up to €500 million, and will be specifically aimed at those disadvantaged young people who have found it hard to gain accommodation, qualifications, a foothold in the notoriously rigid jobs market or even access to health care.

They were announced after weeks of protests against a controversial labour laws bill aimed at making it easier for companies to fire and hire workers, in the hope it will reduce unemployment, which stands at over 10 percent and 25 percent for young people.

Valls put the proposals to a meeting of eight youth organizations that oppose the reforms, including the biggest student union, UNEF.

UNEF welcomed the measures, saying they were “a genuine response to young people's demands” but did not rule out joining the next major protest on April 28th.

Here are the principal measures Valls announced on Monday.

  • Companies will have to pay higher taxes on temporary job contracts known as CDDs in order to encourage firms to hand out permanent CDI contracts, which are becoming harder and harder to find in France.
  • In a bid to help young people gain qualifications, places will reserved at France’s 116 Instituts universitaires de technologie or IUTs, which are attached to universities. The number of BTS diplomas – which offer a quick way to enter the jobs market – will also be increased.
  • Another proposal is for new graduates of modest means to receive a four-month extension to their study grants to help tide them over until they find work.The government believes 126,000 young people could benefit in September 2016 and the total cost to the government would be €130 million over a full year.
  • The salaries for certain apprenticeships will be boosted in 2017 with the government to stump up €80 million to cover a rise in the minimum wage for 16 to 20-year-olds.
  • The “youth guarantee”, which allows poorer youths to claim a monthly sum of €460 and help in finding work or training, will be extended in 2017, for all those young people in a precarious situation.
  • A fund that offers grants for high school students will also be boosted to €28 million, with the average yearly grant increasing to €697.
  • Another €25 million will be made available to create 25,000 scholarships for 1,000 more hard-up students, who would normally receive no financial help other than being exempt from the costs of university sign-up fees.
  • To help school drop outs get back into education the government will create 12,500 new grants of €1,000 in the September 2016.
  • When it comes to helping young people find accommodation, the government wants to create a universal rental guarantee for under 30s. The cost of this measure is aimed at €100 million per year and will be covered by the social security system.
  • The state will also speed up the system that allows young people without jobs to gain access to the CMU-C universal health care, which could cost up to €20 million.

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