On March 22, 2014, employer and employee unions agreed to a new agreement on unemployment benefits (Accord National Interprofessionnel) which must be approved by the French government before becoming effective. This agreement impacts the extent to which an employee’s unemployment benefits are accumulated when starting new employment and also extends the period of time before which an employee is able to receive unemployment benefits if he/she received a termination payment which exceeded the amount legally required to be paid on termination.

Specifically, the new agreement allows job-seekers to carry over their rights to unemployment benefits when they find new employment. Under the current system, employees starting a new position can partially lose their unemployment benefits when they start new employment until such benefits are reaccrued.

The second change provides that employees who receive termination payments in excess of the legally required payments may have to wait an additional period of time before they can receive unemployment benefits. The length of the delay before the employee can receive unemployment benefits is dependent on a specific formula. The length of the delay is capped at 180 days, and applies when the amount of the additional termination payment exceeds 16,200 EUR. Previously, the delay was capped at 75 days for amounts exceeding 6,750 EUR. Due to the additional delay, this provision has been sharply criticized.

Once approved by the French government, the new agreement will apply to all the employees whose employment terminates after June 30, 2014.