Seasonal workers: tips for coping with the unemployment insurance reform

Coming into force in October 2021, the unemployment insurance reform will considerably reduce the amount of benefits received by seasonal workers. Here are some tips to try to mitigate the effects as much as possible.

Attention ! If you are a seasonal worker, you worked in November, December and January, your unemployment rights have run out and you are about to take a job in June, July and August, you could well fall from a height. . The amount of allowances that you will obtain at the end of these six months worked will be much lower than that which you could have claimed before the reform of unemployment insurance.

Unemployment: how much will you lose after October 1?

As a reminder, in your case, since the reform implemented by Elisabeth Borne came into effect (October 1, 2021) the amount of the return to work allowance (ARE) is no longer calculated on the basis of these 6 months you worked, but taking into account the entire period from November to August, i.e. 10 months. You will therefore open rights for 10 months, against 6 previously, but your monthly allowance will be reduced.

Note in passing that you need 6 months of full-time work now to open rights, against 4 before the reform.

Seasonal workers, the first victims of the unemployment reform

This is the very spirit of this reform: the ARE is now spread over a longer period and the amount received monthly is therefore less. The objective, moreover assumed by the government, is to force the “permittents” (workers who alternate between periods of short contracts and periods of unemployment) to return to work as quickly as possible…by no longer allowing them to live on their allowance. It is also to save money, because by extending the duration of compensation, more unemployed people find work before exhausting their rights, which always makes less money to come out of the coffers.

A good operation for the government, less for the unemployed. According to Unédic projections, the recent reform would penalize 1.15 million people during the first year of application and their benefits would drop by an average of 17%. Even more dangerous: 400,000 people would suffer a 40% drop. The most affected among them? Seasonal workers: 1 million people according to figures from the Ministry of Labour.

In Morbihan (56), the unemployed CGT has thus decided to take the problem head on. It must be said that Brittany, a tourist region, welcomes many seasonal workers. “ Many of them have not yet faced the drop in their ARE. Not everyone is yet aware of the effects of the reform and our first role is to inform them “, maintains Vladimir Bizet-Guilleron, activist at the CGT unemployed 56.

In addition to a massive poster campaign to warn of the time bomb that the reform constitutes for seasonal workers, the union provides valuable tips to try to escape what it calls the “ Macron anti-precarious haircut “. That is to say the reduction in the amount of the ARE due to the latest unemployment insurance reform.

Aim for six months of continuous employment

As, since the reform, the period allowing entitlement to be granted is 6 months (and no longer 4), the best strategy for those who do not yet have entitlements is to work for at least 6 consecutive months to open rights without discount, summarizes the document.

It is not a question of finding one and the same six-month contract, which is practically impossible since the tourist or agricultural seasons rarely last so long. But the idea remains to limit, (by chaining 2 or 3 contracts?) during these six months, the number of days off between the different contracts. Thus you will largely escape the discount.

In order not to be trapped by a toxic boss and/or in a job with untenable working conditions, the CGT unemployed 56 has another trick.

Before your hiring, it is possible, on the initiative of the employee, to carry out a period of simulation in a professional environment. It is a Pôle emploi agreement, during which you are not an employee. It is therefore not a period that can create an anti-precarious Macron discount.

The strategy is not infallible, however, the union proves (at the end of the article) that even by alternating 6 months of full work and six months of unemployment for a lifetime, the “Macron anti-precarious discount” would end up falling on you on it after 8 years of work. This is due to the waiting month, a month without compensation between your employment contract and the receipt of your allowance, which ends up making the moment when your new rights are calculated coincide with a period of unemployment. Making an unfavorable calculation inevitable.

Liquidate your unemployment balances

For those who have residual unemployment (rights open but not exhausted because you have chained another employment contract before running out), the task becomes more complicated. And the best thing is to sell them before accepting a new contract.

Indeed, Pôle emploi will pay you these balances between your different seasonal contracts, as soon as you have a period of unemployment. As long as they are not exhausted, they will prevent you from accessing the calculation of the new rights.

A priori, this is not necessarily a problem, since these balances can constitute a completely satisfactory allocation. Except that the worries arise when the balance is exhausted and the time comes to calculate new rights.

At that time, Pole emploi will take into account the last 24 months (36 for recipients aged 53 or over) in the calculation of your ARE! Among them, there will inevitably be non-working periods – during which you have received the famous remainder. Result: the period over which your ARE is calculated again exceeds that of your employment contracts alone… and you will receive a reduced allowance.

Concretely, a seasonal worker at the minimum wage will eventually have an allocation between two contracts which will increase from €950 to €720 per month. “, Considers the CGT unemployed 56. Ironically, trying to exhaust its remainders before starting a new contract amounts to remaining voluntarily unemployed… everything that Elisabeth Borne seemed to want to avoid.

Despite these tricks, the reform of unemployment insurance forced bel and seasonal workers into untenable long-term contortions.

Many people work as seasonal workers, not by choice but by default. They do not choose their periods worked. Others absolutely need periods of inactivity to replenish their workforce, the union concludes.

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