France: President launches new plan to boost employment
In a bid to deal with the continuous increase in the number of unemployed, the government has launched a new plan to boost employment.
On 18 January, French President Francois Hollande presented a plan to boost employment in the face of what he termed 'a state of economic and social emergency'. Under the plan, which is backed by a budget of €2 billion, companies with fewer than 250 workers will receive an annual €2,000 pay-out over two years for every full-time worker they hire on contracts lasting more than six months. The workers will be paid at a rate between the minimum wage and 1.3 times the minimum wage (between €1,466.62 and €1,906.60). In another move, in the event of legal disputes, compensation for dismissals without just or sufficient cause will be capped according to the employee's seniority, except in the case of a serious breach of labour law, such as harassment or discrimination. This measure is designed to satisfy the repeated demand from employers. Finally, the state will make available €1 billion to double the number of training places for the unemployed, which are set to rise from 500,000 in 2015 to one million in 2016. The aim is to provide training for positions that may arise in the future (for example, in the environment, green economy, digitalisation) and to tackle current staff shortages in several sectors.