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Pension reform: why employers are opposed to the “senior index”

This is one of the stated objectives of the pension reform: increasing the employment rate of seniors, which is particularly low in France. Under the effect of successive reforms, the employment rate of 55-64 year olds rose from 38% in 2008 to 56% in 2021. France remains below the European average (60.5%), however.

In order to encourage companies to change their behavior, the government has announced the creation of a “senior index” similar to the gender equality index. It must be implemented by companies with more than 1,000 employees from 2023, and by those with more than 300 employees in 2024.

This “senior index” should “allow good practices to be valued and bad ones to be denounced”, according to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. The indicators that will be used for its implementation will be “defined following an interprofessional consultation”, said Tuesday January 10 the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt.

“I don’t see how we can put this in place in a reasonable way”

The prospect of a “senior index” has been heavily criticized by employers in recent weeks, while the government was considering making it compulsory for all companies with at least 50 employees. “We remain opposed to the principle of this index”, has indicated with of the world the president of Medef, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux. “I don’t see how we can put this in place in a reasonable way”, he already claimed in October 2022 in an interview to Echoes. “It makes no sense, for example, to ask start-ups to have a minimum percentage of seniors,” he added. In addition, the boss of Medef estimated at the time that the index on professional equality between men and women “cannot be replicated for seniors”.

With AFP, on January 4, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux illustrated the fears of the employers’ organization by citing the example of “a company which hires a lot of apprentices and which therefore sees mathematically its percentage of seniors being reduced “. According to him, it “will be classified as a bad company compared to a company that did nothing”.

Jacques Creyssel goes in the same direction. With of the world, the general delegate of the Fédération du commerce et de la distribution, which brings together most of the major brands in the sector, “wonders about the meaning that such a device can have, in particular for professions such as cashiers where young people are many”.

For the Medef, this “senior index” should be “constructed from indicators that can be controlled by companies (rate of access to training, number of mid-career medical visits, etc.) the terms of which would be negotiated by branch or by company”.

“It’s not an index that will scare employers”

Companies where the employment of seniors is not progressing will not be sanctioned, but they will be subject to a “reinforced obligation to negotiate a social agreement” in order to improve the situation, said Olivier Dussopt. On the other hand, “if the company refuses to inform the index, to make its results public, there will be a financial sanction”, warned the Minister of Labor. This will be “calculated as a percentage of (the) payroll” of the companies concerned, as is the case for the index on professional equality between women and men, he indicated.

“We fear that the tool proposed by the government will be toughened during the debates in Parliament and will impose heavy constraints on companies”, worried Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux in The world. “What’s more, the fact that he introduces financial sanctions is not good news,” he adds.

For Philippe Martinez, the secretary general of the CGT, “it is not an index that will scare the employers who every year lay off hundreds, thousands of employees who are over 57, over 58 years old”. “There will be the report and what will we do? We will act […] in companies to tell the boss: the employment rate for seniors is not good, it must be increased. But there are no sanctions”, for his part lamented Laurent Berger, his counterpart at the CFDT.

Source : BBN NEWS

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