France Considering an Individual Activity Account

Categories: social
Tags: welfare

What? In 2015, the French government announced the intention to create Individual Activity Accounts (IAAs) for French workers by January 2017. Although the specifics of the program are under development, the idea is that every worker would have a lifelong individual account, accumulating points in a system comparable to “air miles”. Points would be earned by working either for the private or public sector (e.g. earning more points for working in a physically strenuous job) and could be spent on items such as education or professional training. Pro bono community service would also generate points. In addition, employees could choose to shorten the duration of their unemployment benefits, in order to invest the corresponding points elsewhere.

So what? At a time when self-employment and short-term contract work is rising, the IAA aims at giving flexibility to employees by offering more equal access to essential benefits regardless of the professional status, and by offering the transferability of some rights when the professional situation of an individual is changing . Negotiations are now taking place between the unions and employers to detail the content of the IAA. The goal for most of the unions is to ensure that the collective rights from different sectors will not be diminished with this process that will individualize some rights.


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