Unemployment insurance, telework … what is the record of Elisabeth Borne, Minister of Labor?

The passage of the new Prime Minister rue de Grenelle will have been marked by the health crisis, but also by the highly contested reform of unemployment insurance.

In Transport, in the Ecological and Inclusive Transition then in the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Integration… Elisabeth Borne will have been in all the governments of Emmanuel Macron’s first term. Satisfied with her record over the past five years, the newly re-elected Head of State has just renewed his confidence in her by appointing her Prime Minister on Monday.

But what to remember from his passage rue de Grenelle? Appointed Minister of Labor in July 2020, in the heart of the health crisis, Elisabeth Borne was one of the members of the government propelled to the front line during the pandemic by participating in the deployment of Covid aid, in particular the “anti-dismissal shield” of the partial unemployment from which millions of employees have benefited. With an overall positive result since the unemployment rate was at the end of 2021 (7.2%) close to its pre-crisis level (7.1%) after having increased sharply at the start of the Covid-19 crisis (8, 8% in the third quarter of 2020).

Throughout the pandemic, it was also the ministry she was in charge of that was responsible for developing the company health protocol, revised several times according to the evolution of the epidemic, and for beating the recall on the telecommuting, until it becomes compulsory.

Unemployment insurance, apprenticeship, “1 young person, 1 solution”

Beyond the health crisis, Elisabeth Borne had to manage as soon as she arrived rue de Grenelle the highly contested file of the unemployment insurance reform launched in 2019. Unanimously denounced by the unions, this reform tightened the rules of access to unemployment compensation and led to a reduction in the allowance for certain jobseekers who still receive it “longer” than before, defended the minister. Presented in March 2021 in a version “adapted” to the crisis, the reform fully entered into force in December, after having been suspended for a time.

Also to its credit, the “One young person, one solution” plan presented in July 2020 which mobilized a range of employment measures, including massive learning aid, to avoid a “sacrificed generation”. A plan which, in addition to the 2018 apprenticeship reform, has produced its effects: 718,000 apprenticeship contracts (+ 148% compared to 2017) were signed in 2021 in the private and public sectors. A record.

More recently, Elisabeth Borne was responsible for defending the Youth Engagement Contract launched on March 1, 2022 in the continuity of the “1 young person, 1 solution” plan to help young people far from the labor market. If the left-wing opposition demanded an opening of the RSA to those under 25, Emmanuel Macron has always opposed it, preferring an allowance system paid on the condition of respecting certain commitments in the search for employment.

In November, the Minister of Labor defended “a system of rights and duties in which we want intensive support from start to finish”. “Better a job than benefits,” she said in the regional press.

Elisabeth Borne should also have rubbed shoulders with the explosive pension file she had inherited when she arrived on rue de Grenelle. But the project had been canceled due to the health crisis. It is only a postponement for the new Prime Minister since the reform proposed by Emmanuel Macron, although it no longer has anything to do with that of the first term, promises to be one of the most difficult projects of this second five-year term.

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