Pension reform: the device on “long careers” does not benefit the most experienced workers


During the day of mobilization against the pension reform, on the old port of Marseille, March 7, 2023.

These are two notes that the executive and parliamentarians will have in mind when arbitrations on pension reform. Published Monday, March 6 by the Institute of Public Policy, they show that the so-called “long career” system, reserved for people who started working early, does not mainly benefit those who are the least qualified or the most damaged by their job. Going against popular belief, such an observation is likely to influence future choices, since the government – ​​spurred on by right-wing deputies – plans to extend the system, according to uncertain terms at this stage.

Created in 2003, made more generous in 2012, the mechanism of long careers makes it possible to retire before the legal age – ie 62 years old, today. To benefit from this derogation, you must have started your working life before the age of 20 and display a “duration of insurance” at least equal to that required for a full pension (forty-three years, eventually). These rules have a significant impact: for the generation born in 1953, for example, they offered the possibility of early retirement in almost one out of four cases, if we consider the general system.

This body of standards “is often seen as affecting people with few qualifications (…)having more often worked in manual trades” or physically demanding, writes Patrick Aubert, the author of the studies. However, the link between occupational hardship and the fact of being eligible for the scheme is not “not as obvious as it seems”.

Explanations: Questions to understand the pension reform: small pensions, long careers and impact for women

Those who were entitled to a pension before age 62 “for long career” have “a life expectancy equal to, or even greater than, that of other non-disabled pensioners”. They also seem “less often with a disability”. Thus, among individuals who left at age 60 or 61 during the 2017-2020 period, 5% say they were severely limited in their activities during the first twelve months of retirement and 10% say they were “limited but not strongly” (compared to 7% and 16% among those who left at 62 or 63, “excluding invalidity or handicap”).

“Career Holes”

If we look at social categories, the study shows that unskilled workers and employees are “grossly underrepresented” in early departures. Similarly, only 2% of the beneficiaries of the long career system are among the most modest retirees, in the generation of 1954.

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