Do 75% of professional branches start with minima below the SMIC, as Philippe Martinez asserts?

“We have increased the minimum wage, but in reality, in companies and in the branches, we are not at the level, there are still 75% of branches which start below the minimum wage”deplores the secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, questioned Monday, February 21, on France Inter.

This needs a little clarification first. In France, no employer can pay an employee below the SMIC, it is prohibited by law. However, salary grids may well display coefficients below the SMIC. But, in this case, the employer has the obligation to fill the gap so that in the end, the employee does indeed receive at least a minimum wage. This can include the payment of bonuses in addition to the fixed salary.

According to the Ministry of Labour, to date, 57% of professional branches have at least one coefficient below the minimum wage, i.e. 97 branches out of 171. This would therefore concern a little more than half of professional branches, and not three quarters , as Philippe Martinez suggests. However, the latest annual report by SMIC experts notes that “the number of these branches would now be historically high”.

So how to explain it? The Ministry of Labor recalls that, in about 10% of the branches, the situation was “blocked”without “no negotiation”. Clearly, these are branches in which the grids had not been touched for years. This is particularly the case of the hairstyle.

In addition, the SMIC suffered two close increases on 1 October and 1 January. Thus, certain branches which had minima just at the SMIC or slightly above suddenly fell back below the legal minimum wage.

But all these branches will not remain in this situation since negotiations are underway. The Ministry of Labor ensures that out of around forty branches for which the situation was more alarming, around a third are in the process of unblocking, as in the hotel and catering industry for example.
But negotiate “it takes time” recalls in particular the CGT. To avoid this, this union calls in particular for the automatic increase of all branch minimum wages as soon as the minimum wage is increased.

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