An apprentice

Apprenticeship, vocational training and unemployment insurance reforms

The apprenticeship, vocational training and unemployment insurance reforms are the second stage in the sweeping plan set in motion last June to renovate our social model, the first stage for which was the Ordinances on the Labour Code.


Apprenticeship reform


  • enhance the transparency and appeal of the apprenticeship system, by providing clearer information, ahead of enrolment in apprenticeship training programmes, of their employment opportunities;
  • place businesses at the heart of the system through an overhaul of the rules enabling more apprenticeship opportunities to be made available;
  • reform the apprenticeship tax and financial assistance for apprenticeships to channel them towards the short- and medium-term requirements of businesses.

Timeline for the reform:

Working groups involving all of the stakeholders (including the social partners, chambers of commerce and industry and regions) will be set up by the Ministers of Labour and National Education from the beginning of November 2017. They will be expected to present their proposals by the end of January 2018.

Vocational training


  • organise the vocational training market with genuinely transparent information about the employment opportunities and enhanced quality in terms of the programmes run;
  • enable the whole labour force to undertake training, independently, with a view to gaining skills;
  • allow for better guidance to be given to employees who need it when working out their career plan;
  • pay particular attention to jobseekers, employees of micro-businesses and SMEs and the lowest-skilled workers. Unprecedented efforts will be made for the benefit of training jobseekers with the skills investment plan.

Timeline for the reform:

Discussions will begin in mid November. A guidance document, for the attention of the social partners, will assess the situation and outline areas on which the reform could bear. Interbranch negotiations will be held between now and January 2018.

The unemployment insurance system


  • turn the unemployment insurance system into more of a protection system, which makes it possible to support professional mobility;
  • allow the self-employed and, under certain conditions, employees who resign to benefit from unemployment insurance;
  • establish a financing and monitoring system which encourages employers and jobseekers alike to behave responsibly.

Timeline for the reform:

The reform work will begin in the second fortnight of November. A multilateral meeting with all of the social partners will be organised.

The work programme for renovating the social model, presented on 6 June 2017, listed six additional major reforms to be rolled out over the 18 months to come:
  • promote the convergence of social and economic performance, by updating the labour law;
  • give spending power back to employees immediately and visibly;
  • reform vocational training to enable everyone to find their place on the labour market;
  • allow employees who resign and the self-employed to benefit from unemployment insurance and encourage businesses to extend the duration of contracts;
  • reform apprenticeship so as to significantly scale up the opportunities businesses make available to the under 25s;
  • renovate the pensions system.
Organised by the Ordinances reforming the Labour Code, the overhaul of industrial relations  constituted the first stage in this programme. These Ordinances were promulgated on 22 September and their implementing degrees are all due to be published by the end of the year. Employees' contributions to health insurance and unemployment insurance will be scrapped by the social security financing bill for 2018.

This work programme is thus entering a new phase now with a view to carrying out three of the aforementioned reforms, with three aims in common:
  • enable everyone to enjoy more freedom professionally: freedom to choose an occupation in line with their aspirations, freedom to change company or to start a business, and freedom for businesses to innovate in the way they train their employees;
  • afford greater protection to everyone so that they can join and progress on the labour market: more vocational training entitlements – not least for jobseekers, more apprenticeship places, more unemployment insurance entitlements;
  • enable everyone (employees, jobseekers and businesses alike) to adapt to technological developments and to upgrade their skills so that France can retain or resume its leading position within the global value chain.


25 October 2017: presentation of the roadmap for reforming apprenticeship, vocational training and unemployment insurance.
From 17 to 19 October 2017: the Prime Minister, Minister of Labour and Minister of National Education begin consultations with the social partners.
12 October 2017: talks get underway between the President of the Republic and the social partners.