“The small pensions are currently being reassessed”, according to Olivier Dussopt

After two days of demonstrations against the transition to 64 years of retirement, the Minister of Labor, Full Employment and Integration, who will present the text on Monday in the Council of Ministers, defended ” redistributive reform “. With JDD, he confirmed that the project has grown since it was presented to France on January 10, in particular by integrating the reassessment of the small pension pension for current pensioners. The government’s goals have not changed: build the majority “, after “parliamentary debate is rich, qualified, sincere and therefore unhindered“.

Are you afraid that the mobilization against reform will last a long time?
No need to talk about”afraid“: Demonstrating is the strictest trade union right, we respect it. We recorded important mobilizations and proceeded quietly. This is the expression of the message we must hear. Some are known, others will appear; we will pay attention to it. On the other hand, it should also be remembered that the debate will take place in Parliament.

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Has the bill changed since the January 10 announcement?
Yes. In particular, it will integrate a small pension reappraisal for current retirees who have worked their entire lives on minimum wage, not just future ones. They will also receive an increase in their pension of up to 100 euros per month. It was a very strong demand from the majority and Republican deputies.

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The system will be balanced by 2030

How much will this change cost?
More than 1 billion euros, financed by increasing employer contributions to the old-age insurance branch, offset by reduced contributions for occupational accidents and occupational diseases. Therefore, it will be labor cost neutral.

What is this change for system balance?
The system will be balanced by 2030. In 2027, the system situation will improve significantly, by around 8 billion euros, bringing the deficit to 4.6 billion compared to 12.4 without reforms.

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How many people will be affected by this minimum pension increase?
About 200,000 new retirees each year, that is almost one in four, to which must be added the 1.8 million current retirees. Above all, it is the more modest pensioner – 30% of the lowest pensioner – that will benefit the most. Currently, a minimum wage employee who retires after 42 years of contribution earns around 1,100 euros gross. In September 2023, he will walk away with almost 1,200 euros.

Will pensions increase?
These reforms are redistributive, as it is the poorest retirees who will see their pensions on liquidation increase the most. An impact study of the bill, which will be presented on Monday, shows an increase of nearly 5% for the lowest 20% of pensioners, compared to less than 1% for the highest 20% of pensioners. The average pension will increase by 0.3% for the 1962 generation, by 0.6% for those born in 1966 and by 1.5% for the 1972 generation.

The opposition and unions believe that the minimum pension promise of 1,200 euros is bogus because it is a gross amount. Can it be clean?
The guaranteed minimum pension of 85% of the net minimum wage for all careers at the minimum wage has been enshrined in law since 2003. Those who criticize us include elected officials who have done nothing to concretize this principle, which remains wishful thinking. The majority of us are people who will live up to this promise by increasing the minimum pension by 100 euros per month and by indexing the amount to the minimum wage so that this progress is sustainable for future generations. I will point out that after retirement, the minimum, like all pensions, is also indexed by inflation.

Also read – Retirement: “Elisabeth Borne doesn’t have 40 deputy LRs ready to vote”, assesses LR-elect Raphaël Schellenberger

Who are the losers and winners of this reform?
There are no losers. We ask many French people to make an effort; we know it’s important, though we make sure it’s right for every situation. For example, we have ensured that the increase in career length is evenly distributed within each generation and between generations. Thus, the effective retirement age [62,9 ans aujourd’hui] actually only shifted by about six months on average, and only three months for those with the lowest pensions. This results in particular from our long career system, with a new level at 18, and maintenance possible leaving from age 62 for disabled people, and at 67 at full rates for those with long career breaks. The winners of the reform will be the poorest French, those with unstable careers, women – as well as all the French who will increase their pensions.

We ask many French people to make an effort

Some unions are afraid to question increased housing for children. Is it an option?
Our reforms protect women. Most of them would benefit from an increase in the minimum pension, as more of them receive small pensions. In addition, some maternity leave places, which are now partly accounted for in pension entitlements, will now be factored in for long career departures and in the calculation of minimum pensions. Impact studies prove it: over the long term, the increase in women’s pensions will be twice that of men (+ 2.2% versus + 0.9%). As for the rules you mentioned, we didn’t change anything. On the other hand, I want the Retirement Orientation Council to take away all family rights, a hotbed of real inequality because it varies by regime.

Also read – Pensions: are reforms really more profitable for women?

French people who start working at the age of 20 must contribute 44 years, and not 43 years like others. Isn’t that an injustice?
Without the reforms, there would have been more than 150,000 people who would have had more housing before the legal age and who would have been unable to leave before. There is always a threshold effect! I don’t deny the difficulty. But what do our detractors think of workers leaving today after 44 years of contributions when the law only took 42 years? We are reducing this gap, we are improving the current system. Claiming perfection is easier in the mouth of a critic than in the hands of one who criticizes.

Don’t you miss this political issue?
No, because we’ve achieved our goal: to restore as much equality as possible. We maintain the full retirement age at 67, we create new rights for those who have worked between the ages of 16 and 18 and we better compensate for career interruptions. The gap between the minimum and maximum duration of a job to go at full rate has never been so small, and therefore the maximum discount will drop from 25% to 15%. Our system is generous and that is a good thing. The proof: the number of early departures in long careers will be reactivated, even though structurally it tends to decrease with the recent entry into the labor market. 40% of workers will benefit from the early departure scheme.

When we have nothing to say about substance, we attack form!

How much will pension reform bring?
By 2030, the reforms will generate a profit of 17.7 billion euros, of which two-thirds will allow for reducing the deficit, and the remainder for financing social justice measures. By 2030, the system will be in balance.

You will create a senior index. Will there be penalties for poor results?
During the consultations, the social partners were clear: no sanctions but an obligation to negotiate in the company about hiring seniors if there is no progress or if there are setbacks. We have heard them. However, if the employer does not publish his index, he must pay a fine equivalent to 1% of salary. Once legislation establishes this tool, social partners will be invited to discuss the criteria, to ensure their relevance and effectiveness.

Can all these actions be included in the text of the budget?
Legislative measures will be examined through an amended Social Security financing bill. Some – and others to come that are not part of the pension reform – could be included in a future text on full employment, in the spring.

Read also – Olivier Dussopt, Minister of Labor: “I have never experienced a popular pension reform”

About fifteen Republican deputies intend to vote against pension reform. Is 49-3 possible?
We intend to build the majority. And I hope that the parliamentary debate will be rich, quality, sincere and therefore unhindered.

The opposition has punished this lack of debate about reform. Isn’t there a method problem?
When we have nothing to say about substance, we attack form… The left cannot play big guns in demonstrations and small arms in debates. [Le leader Insoumis] Jean-Luc Mélenchon claims retirement at 60 years old, but it will cost 85 billion euros. Olivier Faure [numéro un du PS] he too, but with 43 years of contribution: everyone understood that it would be a machine of discount and poverty. Let them already agree among themselves! And, between us, the debate has been going on for four years.

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