France will soon have a brand-new job seeker service called France Travail (or France Works), which will replace the existing agency (and job board), Pole Emploi. The aim of this reform is to simplify the process of entering the workforce and enhance coordination among various stakeholders within the French public employment service. France Travail, set to become operational on January 1, 2024, is part of the French government’s strategy to revamp the country’s employment landscape. This new job seeker service seeks to streamline the entry into work and consolidate the efforts of key entities in the French public employment service. By replacing Pole Emploi, France Travail will establish a single point of contact for individuals seeking employment opportunities.
Bringing together six services
The comprehensive range of services offered by France Travail will bring together various entities such as Pole Emploi, Cap Emploi (focused on disabled employees), Mission Locale (focused on young people up to age 25), local authorities, organizations, and the CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales), a government body that supports families. This integration aims to provide a more cohesive and efficient experience for job seekers and employers alike.
The €2.9 billion plan
According to the French government, the transformation to France Travail will entail an estimated cost of up to €2.9 billion over a three-year period from 2024 to 2027. Thibaut Guilluy, the high commissioner for employment and the driving force behind France Travail, emphasised that the service’s core objectives encompass reception, orientation, support, training, integration, and job placement for individuals seeking employment or encountering social difficulties.
Additionally, Guilluy highlighted that France Travail will establish standardised procedures and criteria for registration and orientation, creating a common platform of services that benefits both individuals and employers. Rigorous evaluations will also be implemented to ensure the effectiveness of the service in meeting its goals.
New social security benefit for the unemployed
To facilitate this overhaul, all job seekers, including beneficiaries of RSA (Revenu de Solidarité Active) – a social security benefit for the unemployed – will be required to register and sign a “commitment contract” with France Travail. The new system will mandate 15 to 20 hours of weekly activities, including workshops, CV writing sessions, and skills refreshers. Non-compliance with these requirements could result in penalties such as the suspension or withdrawal of benefit payments.
But not everyone is seemingly on board. The introduction of these changes has faced criticism from the trade union CGT, which voiced concerns about the severity of penalties and deemed the 15 to 20-hour activity requirement as “absurd.” The CGT emphasised that among the 60% of RSA beneficiaries not currently registered with Pole Emploi, there are individuals with disabilities and those facing extremely challenging social situations.
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Picture credit: Pole Emploi