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Economy

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Les meilleures années de retraite volées

by Yves Housson

Stealing the Best Retirement Years

Translated Friday 3 September 2010, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Gene Zbikowski

Decoding the news: The bill approved by the French Cabinet on July 13 raises the eligibility age for retirement benefits from 60 to 62. Simultaneously, the age at which one is entitled to a full pension, will be raised from 65 to 67.

Decoding the news

The bill approved by the French Cabinet (Conseil des ministres) on July 13 raises the eligibility age for retirement benefits from 60 to 62. The increase will be applied progressively from 2011 to 2018, four months being added each year.

In practice, beneficiaries born in 1951, who would have been able to retire on July 1st, 2011, will have to delay retirement for four months, until November 1st. Those born in 1952 will have to delay retirement for eight months, and so on. Those born in 1956, who were to retire in 2016, will only be able to retire in 2018.

Simultaneously, the age at which one is entitled to a full pension, no matter how long one has paid into the retirement scheme, will be raised from 65 to 67. These are the most painful measures contained in the bill.

The vast majority of the 700,000 beneficiaries who, on average, retire each year retire at age 60, even if they do not qualify for a full pension. In the short term, the reform aims at stealing their best two retirement years and at forcing them – including those whose jobs are hard – to perform the hardest two years of work.

And it matters not that, for the great majority, they will in truth be two years of great uncertainty – at present, six employees out of ten have already been squeezed off the job market before they retire. And the trend has not changed – according to the latest official figures, unemployment among those aged 50 and over has increased 17.6% over the past year.

The delay in the legal retirement age particularly penalizes employees who began working early. As to raising the age for a guaranteed full pension to 67, it punishes all those who have had interrupted or incomplete careers – in other words, a large number of women.

Over the next ten years, these two measures will take 20 billion euros away from those who have been paying into the French retirement schemes, out of the total of 30 billion euros in the financing plan that is supposed to balance the accounts of the retirement schemes.


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