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How your unemployment benefits will change in France from November 1st

The Local France
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How your unemployment benefits will change in France from November 1st
Photos: AFP

This November brings big changes for people claiming unemployment benefits in France.


You need to work more before claiming

From November 1st 2019, you must have worked 130 days (910 hours or 6 months) over the last 24 months to be entitled to unemployment compensation.

Previously, it was necessary to have worked 88 days (roughly four calendar months) over the last 28 months to qualify.

You’ll also need to work for longer before claiming benefits again

Claiming unemployment benefits for a second or third time say will depend on you having worked for at least six months before the claim is made again.

Up until now it was only necessary to work for one month before your unemployment rights were “reloaded”, as France's Service Public website puts it.

Big earners who lose their jobs will get paid less compensation

Workers in France who had incomes of €4,500 gross per month before losing their jobs will see their dole money cut by 30 percent from the seventh month of unemployment, with the base rate set at €2,261 net per month.

In France how much you receive in benefits is not a flat rate, it is calculated as a percentage of your previous salary, so the more you wee earning (and therefore paying in taxes) the more you get back - up to a ceiling of €7,700 a month. The rate continues for two years, or three if you are over 50.

If you quit your job after five years, you can claim benefits

Employees who resign after spending five years working at a company will be able to claim unemployment compensation if they are going to start their own business or kick-start a professional venture.

READ ALSO Five reasons to start your own business in France

Self-employed people can get better benefits

Freelancers and other self-employed people in France will be able to claim unemployment compensation of €800 per month for 6 months.

The benefits are however subject to certain conditions, such as having had an income of €10,000 a year over the past two years. 


More big changes soon to come 

The above measures will all come into force on November 1st 2019 but the French government also has other changes planned for its unemployment scheme, likely to be enshrined in law in 2020. 

Perhaps the most drastic alteration will be the new way in which the actual unemployment benefits are calculated.

The new base rate will be calculated against the average monthly salary, but can never be less than 65 percent of the person’s average monthly salary.

Currently the amount an unemployed person gets in France is a percentage of the salary they have received at the time they lost your job (and therefore how much they have been paying in contributions into the system) up to a ceiling of €7,700 a month.

The government says it will also be recalculating some rates to ensure that people in work are always better off than those out of work - under the current system it is sometimes possible for people alternating between short-term contracts and periods of unemployment to be better off than those working continuously.

Although these big payouts are always headline-grabbers, unions have pointed out that half of the 2.6 million people currently receiving unemployment benefit receive less than €860 a month.

France’s government also plans to introduce extra measures in January 2020 aimed at helping people who have recently become unemployed as well as struggling workers who are alternating between short-term contracts and periods of unemployment.


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