The French government announces plans to reform professional training

The French government wants to simplify the vocational training system in France whose cost was nearly 32 billion in 2014. One of the most attractive ways of accomplishing this, according to their study, is to envisage a levy of 0.3% of the payroll to fund the training needs of jobseekers.

A list of objectives and themes to be discussed by unions and employers to establish this new reform has been included in the guidance document given to the government’s social partners, .

In particular, the executive wants to simplify the sector and the vocational training pathways that suffer from a lack of clarity and transparency and which do not correspond to the rapid and profound changes in society.


Increasing the contribution towards training for jobseekers


The government is working on the introduction  of an additional levy of companies that could reach 0.3% of the payroll to strengthen their contribution to the training of jobseekers by 2019.

To this end, the document proposes that the social partners organize a major effort to train the unemployed and overcome mass unemployment. As a result, the budget they devote to training unemployed people outside the professionalisation contract should be increased to 1.5 billion euros per year, compared to a budget of between 700 to 800 million euros at present. This increase in budget will be obtained via a levy that could rise to 0.3% of payroll.


This contribution is expected to vary depending on the number of jobseekers. The scheme will be carried out within the framework of the skills investment plan announced in September and which aims to train 2 million people over the five-year period.


Merging CPF and CIF schemes


The French Ministry of Employment made it clear that it is not possible to maintain the current level of funding of 1% of training paid by the companies whose collection and management is the responsibility of OPCAs. This distribution is currently divided between the personal training account (CPF) and the individual training leave (CIF), but the latter remains little used. Hence the proposal to combine the two schemes into one.

As a reminder, the CIF was created in 1984 and its purpose is to allow employees to follow a long training course during or outside of their working hours. The management of the CIF scheme is carried out by the joint bodies while its financing goes to the companies. However, the system seems to have difficulties in fulfilling its function in the professional reconversion since, on average, only 50 000 workers out of a total of 19 million employees benefit from training organised through the CIF scheme each year.


Better budget allocation


The government has also expressed its desire to guide its social partners towards considering the establishment of a new unit of measurement of the CPF, which is currently measured in hours and which creates inequalities between employees as a result.

With regard to sandwich courses, which is currently also the subject of a consultation on apprenticeship, the executive is considering setting up a “contract financing system”, in order to better distribute the budget and not to fund streams without candidates.

The deadline for submitting proposals for the reform of vocational training is at the end of January 2018. The government hopes to present a global bill reforming apprenticeships and also unemployment insurance in April of next year.