France will extend planned back-to-work bonus payments to part-time jobs and younger recipients, President Francois Hollande said, as he battles persistently high unemployment that has tarnished his first three years in office.
Speaking on Canal Plus television, Hollande said his government would widen the scope of the draft legislation to be unveiled on Tuesday with the aim of raising work incentives.
In a two-hour appearance timed to mark next month’s three-year anniversary of his election, the Socialist leader vowed to step up the battle against unemployment after failing to make a significant dent in France’s 10 percent jobless rate.
“I am not going to give up introducing reforms to create more jobs,” Hollande said.
His approval ratings have picked up slightly from last year’s record lows, some polls suggest, but Hollande’s prospects of winning a second term in 2017 still look dim.
Hollande would be felled in the first round if a vote were called today, according to the lastest OpinionWay survey, with the conservative UMP leading the field and far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen coming second.
Bonuses under the 4 billion euro (£2.8 billion) back-to-work programme were originally to have been limited to workers over 25 in full-time jobs and earning less than 1,400 euros a month after welfare deductions.
Instead, the monthly top-ups will also be offered to younger workers and those in part-time jobs, Hollande said. “What’s important is to get more of our citizens out of precariousness and resignation and guide them into work.”
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Laurence Frost; Editing by David Goodman)