Unemployed in France, unemployable in Switzerland

January 2016

Unemployed in France, unemployable in Switzerland

At the end of 2015, the European Cross-Border Grouping (Groupement Transfrontalier Européen, GTE) was alerted by Switzerland's temping agencies regarding the difficulties they are encountering in hiring French unemployed people as temporary workers.

Under a French-Swiss agreement concluded in September 2006, a French border region worker who is receiving unemployment benefit in France and starts working in Switzerland must come under the French social security system if they continue to receive part of their benefit. This specific agreement between France and Switzerland and has created an insuperable problem with respect to the hiring of unemployed French people in Switzerland.

This is the point of view of Michel Charrat, the European Cross-Border Grouping's President, who is also Treasurer of the MOT:

"The situation has been exacerbated since the majority of cross-border workers switched to the French social security system. The French social security bodies can now better detect people who are registered in both systems and therefore, as soon as the filling of a temporary post is communicated, ask Swiss employers (including temping agencies) to register their cross-border employees in their country of residence and to pay the corresponding social security contributions there. This leads to higher costs and cumbersome administrative procedures that make French border region temporary workers unemployable in Switzerland.

Several thousand jobs are therefore under threat. The European Cross-Border Grouping has alerted the border region MPs and the French administrative authorities, and referred the issue to the representative of the European Commission when it visited Brussels on 13 November.

This is a classic example of the disconnect between a binational agreement that may appear fair and application on the ground that has concrete consequences that the lawmakers had not anticipated. The problem stems above all from the differential in the level of the social security charges applied to salaries in the two countries, which can be twice as high in France. To deal with all eventualities, some firms make their future cross-border employees sign a document stipulating that they undertake to reimburse the firm should it have to register with URSSAF (the French administrative body that collects social security contributions). A solution needs to be found urgently."

More info [FR]

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