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By Alain Lemoine May Magazine. Reform to the French social system is less politically unacceptable than it was a few years ago, writes Alain Lemoine To survive the demographic shift, or at least to maintain equilibrium, the French retirement system will need more extensive reforms than those implemented in and And it is going from bad to worse.

There is little margin to improve France's Assurance Vieillesse. The Conseil d'Orientation des Retraites COR , has examined seven scenarios of retirement reforms, from lengthening retirement contributions to increasing retirement age at different levels, just as it did in a previous report published in April However, a number of the new scenarios seem more contentious then previously, and representatives of the employers' lobby, Medef, have asked for them to be tested.

These scenarios include pushing the retirement age to 63 by for people born in and to 65 by for people born in The legal retirement age in France is 60 but given the requirements to get a full pension, many people have to wait until the second legal age of 65, at which age they get fewer penalties on their pension for career breaks. Medef has also asked the COR to calculate the impact of pushing this second legal retirement age up to 68 by and 70 by The contribution length for a full retirement pension was already increased by the Fillon reform in , lengthening the compulsory career from 40 years of contributions to 41 by and then to COR is evaluating a lengthening of this reform principle with a view to increase the contribution period to 45 years of contribution by for those born in , or even faster, by Lengthening working life, and thus retirement contributions, in line with lifespan increases is not shocking in itself, and probably more acceptable than raising already high contributions or cutting pensions, which is socially unacceptable.

In , life expectancy at birth in France was Over the last decade, this retired life expectancy increased by two years for men and 1. This is already foreseen in the Loi Fillon of 21 August , which states that the insurance period for a full rate pension should "evolve in order to maintain a constant ratio between the insurance duration and the average retirement duration observed in ".

There is probably a political consensus over the option of lengthening the contribution period and raising retirement age. Even Martine Aubry, Socialist Party general secretary, discussing retirement age reform on the leading radio station RTL said: "We are certainly going towards 61 or The problem is that raising the retirement age sheds light on two big issues which are really irritating French workers and unions.

The problem is that employers in France tend to get rid of their older workers when they pass 55, which deprives the retirement system from their potential contributions. On average, French people stop working at But they do not retire at that age; they are usually made redundant. This practice has been criticised by the European Commission: the employment level for people aged in France is only In that context, asking older unemployed workers to postpone their retirement age is not very diplomatic say employers' representatives, and French unions criticise this proposal: they believe employers cannot ask people to work longer without giving them jobs.

One of the other toughest aspects of reforming the French retirement system is public employee pensions. In the public sector - as in the private - people will leave at the same age. Contribution length will be aligned. In , a proposal to align public retirement to the private sector pensions' requirements triggered a strike that blocked the entire country for weeks.

This time, Sarkozy and Fillon both said they wanted the retirement reform draft law to be discussed in parliament in September. That might take longer than he hopes. Site powered by Webvision Cloud. Skip to main content Skip to navigation. France: Reforms on the starting line. No comments. Topics Country Reports France Pensions. Related articles. Load more articles. No comments yet. You're not signed in. Only registered users can comment on this article.

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