The eco decryption. A “Macron bonus” for second-line workers?

A supermarket cashier protected by plastic film during the Covid-19 epidemic, in Montpellier (Hérault). Illustrative photo. (GUILLAUME BONNEFONT / MAXPPP)

For now, this is only one lead, but the government is working on a bonus for those workers – many of whom are workers by the way – who have run the country during lockdowns, who were on site, or facing the public. Cashiers, cashiers, home helpers, cleaning and maintenance staff, security staff, transport, logistics too. We call them “second line jobs” , the first lines being the caregivers. Or four million people in total, according to CFDT figures.

The executive would take as a model the “Macron bonus” set up during the “yellow vests” movement in 2019. Paid by companies, it was tax-exempt, without contributions provided it did not exceed 1,000 euros. This bonus had worked very well: in 2019 and 2020, more than 4 million employees had benefited from it. They had touched around 500 euros on average.

Except that this bonus stopped at the end of last year and the government had a priori not planned to extend it, but it could reactivate it for these workers. However, it remains to specify the outlines, the amount: should it be totally exempt from charges? Condition it on a company agreement, as was the case at one time? Jean Castex will discuss it with unions and employers during the social summit on Monday March 15. Matignon wants to build the system with the professional branches because it will not be the State that will pay this bonus, but the employers.

But companies believe they’ve played the game in previous years. For example, in supermarkets, large brands paid a total of 600 million euros for these bonuses last year. For Carrefour alone, it is 128 million euros in 2020. And employers also fear turmoil, since in the same company, some employees will be eligible and not others. As a result, this bonus should remain an incentive and not be compulsory.

On the side of the unions, help is always good to take, but for them, it is above all necessary to revalue these trades in the long term, by permanent salary increases and training. Much more useful than a simple exceptional boost.

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