“The message I want to send them is “we need you, we need your experience.” » The Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, said on Thursday, November 23, that he was in favor of lowering the duration of unemployment compensation for those over 55 to align it with those of other unemployed people; one of the measures to be taken, according to him, to achieve full employment, that is to say an unemployment rate of around 5%.

“If we don’t shake things up, there won’t be a 5% unemployment rate” at the end of the five-year term (compared to 7.4% today), said the Minister of the Economy on Franceinfo. “Something is wrong in the French social model” which prevents this from being achieved, according to him.

“One of the ways is through the employment of seniors,” said the minister, who recalled that compensation for those over 55 is “twenty-seven months”, compared to “eighteen months” for applicants for employing younger people, a way according to him “to bring those over 55 into early retirement”. “Would those over 55 be worth less? (…) I see no reason for there to be a longer compensation period, (…) it’s total hypocrisy,” he assured.

He recalled that the employment rate of seniors was “ten points” lower in France than the general employment rate (68%). The minister thus intends to “raise the debate” of a reduction in the duration of compensation for seniors “with the total determination to achieve this 5% unemployment rate that we have not reached for half a century in France “.

Criticisms of the unemployment insurance agreement

He also judged the agreement on unemployment insurance signed last week by representatives of employee and employer union organizations to be “perfectable”, particularly on this issue of seniors.

He also criticized the financing measures that appear in the agreement, with “certain expenses”, such as reductions in contributions, compensated by “improbable savings”. The agreement proposes in particular “to make savings on the creation of businesses”, noted Mr. Le Maire, judging “the idea a bit baroque because we need to create businesses, and the economy quantified at almost €900 million seems very improbable to me.”

“On the financial side, we can legitimately express doubts, I had the opportunity to explain this with the president of Medef [Movement of Businesses of France]”, concluded the minister.