Employment: the Senate cuts the employment budget by 800 million euros

With the strongest increase – including the Ecology mission – in its budget compared to the one voted by the Parliament a year ago, the Labor and Employment budget is doing well in terms of accounting. But this is an “insignificant” development, in the words of Olivier Dussopt himself. So the Minister of Labor agreed before the Senate that this increase in the budget, which brings the budget for the “Work and employment” mission to more than 20 billion euros, is mainly due to continuation of credits previously financed by the recovery, such as 400 million euros dedicated to partial activity. These appropriations therefore already existed last year without being counted in this budgetary mission in the so-called “initial” financial law, which explains a formal increase in the budget of “Work and employment”. »

A final “sincere” budget that includes costs related to tuition assistance

Especially since 5 billion euros, i.e. a quarter of the mission’s credits, are dedicated to compensation for exemptions from social security contributions, including 1.4 billion in apprenticeship contracts, an amount that is increasing by more than 50%. The policy in favor of apprenticeship followed since 2019 by the government in a way that forces the State to take the purse for every contract signed. This is called an “open envelope.” “However, the success of the device generated costs higher than what was planned. The rapporteur for these credits, the senator Les Indépendants Emmanuel Capus, welcomed a budget that “seems to his more honest than the 2022 budget”, while another rapporteur, the environmentalist senator Daniel Breuiller, also confessed that he prefers “from honesty to a secret deficit. »

Therefore, the government only puts on paper what is a state budget for the year 2022: basically, the State will not put more money in the fight against unemployment and improving vocational training than in 2022, Olivier Dussopt himself agrees. The Minister of Labor is part of the continuation of the government’s action in recent years, in the “pursuit and achievement of full employment”, and the youth employment action, with an increase of 3 5 billion of the budget dedicated to education on the job , in particular, and the stated goal of one million apprentices by 2027.

The Minister of Labor defended before the Senate a “transition budget”, with the aim of setting up “France Travail”, which “will not be a merger or structural rapprochement operation” in order to “not know the embolism” that has occurred when Pôle Emploi was created. The “model” of this new “one-stop shop for employment” that will replace the Pôle emploi, but will also include local missions or associations, will be available “between December and January”, announced Olivier Dussopt without giving more details above. room

“If we want to continue to develop apprenticeships and training, it is urgent to secure their funding”

And the sustainability of the policies pushed by the government in recent years is what worries the senators. Paradoxically, “the success of the apprenticeship is the source of one of the main difficulties of this mission”, explains the rapporteur Emmanuel Capus, with the costs generated by the exceptional aid paid to each company that hires a apprentice until December 31 2022. ” The budget cost jumped from 1.3 billion to 4.2 billion in 2021, for 2022 the amount will certainly be of the same order”, specified the senator Les Indépendants.

The “popular successes” of the work-study program and the Professional Training Account (CPF), welcomed by Carole Grandjean, Minister Delegate for Training and Vocational Education, forced the State to “intervene up to 3 billion in 2021 and 4 billion in 2022 “to increase the budget of” France competencies “, which are usually financed by employers.

For a deficit that will still reach 3.5 billion euros at the end of 2022, said Emmanuel Capus. “If we want to continue to develop apprenticeships and training, it is urgent to secure their funding. However, at this stage, no long-term response has been given to the fiscal imbalance of France’s practices”, so alerted Frédérique Puissat, the LR rapporteur for opinion, who worked on this budget on behalf of the Social Affairs Committee, and has reported unemployment insurance reform to the Senate.

France’s capabilities: a “worrying” financial situation

Even on the left, Bernard Jomier, socialist senator, recognizes an “unbalanced financial situation” and “structural causes of the lack” of France’s capabilities, while calling for confidence in the social dialogue on the subject: “It is not -owned by the Parliament, or for the regulatory power to replace the social partners and force through the necessary reforms. “On the right, we push for “a controlled budget, taking into account the current difficulties”, in those words of Céline Boulay-Espéronnier (LR), who believes that “the protection of the French and work also passes through this discipline. budgetary. »

Thus, the majority of senators had an amendment adopted by the Social Committee, against the opinion of the Finance Committee, which reduced the budget by 800 million euros for “the accompanying economic changes and job development”, including 300 million euros taken from the subsidy granted to France by skills and 500 million in the Skills Investment Plan (PIC), a plan that finances actions that accompany the return to work. “This is a change in consistency,” defended Frédérique Puissat (LR), believing that “it would be complicated to let these billions pass without contributing to this unity effort. The rapporteur Les Indépendants, Emmanuel Capus, said to “understand the objective set to reduce costs” and share “concerns” on the financing of France Skills, in particular. But according to him, going through “the reduction of credits ” is “a false good idea”, because in any case, the contracts signed at this time will be eligible for exceptional study aid throughout the year 2023 , regardless of the Parliament’s vote on the budget.

800 million euros in savings in the name of “budgetary discipline”

Clearly, these costs will still reach, and it is only at the end of 2023 and in 2024, when the contracts signed until December 31, 2022 will expire, that the costs of the French capabilities will be able to reduce. So, “directly register 1.7 billion [en subvention à France compétences , ndlr] looks more honest”, argues Emmanuel Capus, asserting: “At the end of the year, the costs will be there, and my fear is that the 1.7 billion is not enough. This will force the government to – again – ask Parliament for “extensions”, such as in amending the finance bills this year. “For a moment, we will not continue like this,” protested Senator LR Jérôme Bascher, when the majority of senators finally approved this budget cut.

The Finance Committee and the Social Affairs Committee, on the other hand, agreed on the regulation of expenditure related to the financing of the professional training account (CPF), because two identical amendments by Emmanuel Capus and Frédérique Puissat referring to the “regulatory mechanisms” of the CPF-eligible courses planned to be established by the government by decree of the State Council, have been approved. It is therefore necessary to “clearly indicate” which training courses may be subject to a ceiling on reimbursements and the cases where the ceilings are not applicable, for the long-term unemployed for example.

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