The unions plead for a new form of the Holland generation contract

Posted Oct 23, 2022, 11:39 AMUpdated Oct 23, 2022, 6:28 PM

Surprising convergence of views in the debates on pension reform. The unions and the Institut Montaigne, a think tank close to employers, are each leaning on their side for bringing up to date the generation contract, one of the key devices of François Hollande’s five-year term to solve unemployment among young people and over 55 years old.

The unions participating in the consultations on the pension reform must talk about it this Monday afternoon. As part of the first round of discussions initiated by the government, each organization has already defended its measures on the employment of seniors and the prevention of professional wear and tear with the cabinet of the Minister of Labour, Olivier Dussopt, during bilateral meetings.

From generation to generation

United to denounce the postponement of the legal age to 65, the unions are also seeking to identify other common positions. They have not yet been decided, but among the points of convergence that are emerging is the launch of a sort of generation 2.0 contract.

Launched in 2013, the generation contract was intended to encourage the retention of seniors in employment while promoting the recruitment of young people on permanent contracts and the transmission of skills between generations. All thanks to a financial incentive. Applying differently according to the size of the companies, the device did not take. As early as 2016, the Court of Auditors had drawn up a severe indictment against the system deemed too regulated.

In 2017, of the 500,000 contracts promised, barely more than 67,000 had been signed, many of them purely by windfall effect: the hiring of young people would have taken place without the aid. The death certificate was signed in the first year of Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term, the government believing that common law contracts should be favored over subsidized contracts.

Despite this failure, his philosophy continues to interest. If the unions do not detail a new version, the Institut Montaigne goes a little further. In a note to be published on the employment of seniors, its author, Franck Morel, lawyer at Flichy Grangé and former social adviser to Edouard Philippe at Matignon, defends a “new form of intergenerational contract” based on the transmission of knowledge.

This contract, concluded between the companies and the public authorities and/or the branches, would formalize a form of mentoring between young people and seniors. It would be associated with formalized objectives, would give rise to milestones. And would build on the experience from the Plan 1 young 1 solution.

Other points of convergence

To encourage companies to use it, it could be integrated into the senior index, the indicator which the government is now considering creating to encourage the employment of seniors. Finally, this intergenerational contract could benefit from credits from the FNE training fund or conventional funds.

Among the other subjects on which the unions are trying to reach common positions is the training of seniors. The organizations are committed to ensuring that those concerned can maintain their skills in order to remain employed for as long as possible. They are also attached to an improvement in progressive retirement which allows, from the age of 60, to work part-time while receiving part of their pension.

The unions first seek to form a common front on the employment of seniors. However, on the question of arduousness (or professional wear), another point of convergence seems to be emerging on the reinstatement of the arduousness factors removed in 2017 in the name of simplification. Hardship factors are key to enabling those who have hard work to obtain rights to training, part-time work or early retirement, but employers have constantly denounced a system that is too complicated .

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