France Plans Tighter Controls of the Unemployed

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On Monday, the labour ministry and union leaders said that the government of Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, plans to impose tighter controls on the unemployed and raise penalties against the job seekers who fail to look hard enough for a job, the labour ministry and union leaders.

Macron as elected last May on a pro-reform ticket. He has already changed labour rules to make it easier to hire and fire employees, and he is planning to allocate 15 billion euros (£13.2 billion) on offering job training over the next five years.

In a statement following briefing union leaders, the labour ministry said that by next year, the government would triple to 600 the number of employees that are dedicated to monitoring job seekers and add an additional 400 by 2020.

The government said that it would increase sanctions against those who do not look properly for work.

Union leaders said that the sanctions would apply to rejecting what the unemployment office considered a “reasonable” job offer or not being able to fill in a monthly job search log that will be introduced next year.

They said that unemployment benefits would be removed for one month for the first violation, two months for the second infringement and four for the third.

Yvan Ricordeau, from France’s largest union, CFDT, stated: “We can see that (the government) wants to monitor job seekers more but not help them out better.”

Under the said new rules, missing an appointment with a job councillor would incite a 15-day benefit penalty, down from the two months now.

Muriel Penicaud, the Labour Minister, has said that the aim of the said reform was to make the unemployment benefits “fairer and more efficient.”

The unemployment rate of France fell to 8.9 percent during the fourth quarter of last year, declining below 9 percent for the first time since 2009.