Pension reform, collateral victim of Covid-19

More and more voices are celebrating the funeral of the great social reform of the quinquennium. After the leader of the LREM deputies, Gilles Le Gendre, who judged in mid-April that “the pension reform should be put aside if it prevents the republican pact from being concluded”, it was François Bayrou’s turn to put a new shovelful of earth on pension reform. Pandemic obliges, the Modem boss called on April 19 to “dismiss for a moment the most controversial subjects” and “not to put mines on the table during this period”.

After having withstood a year of government procrastination and a massive strike in public transport, the big bang of point pensions is unlikely to survive Covid-19. “We may keep some social advances in the reform that could be voted on in 2021, believes LREM deputy Cendra Motin, but the bills, as they were adopted at first reading by the majority, are a priori abandoned . ” A warning sign, the Secretary of State for pension reform, Laurent Pietraszewski, has been reassigned in recent weeks to dialogue with the unions to prepare for the resumption of work in post-confinement companies …

The deficit to be absorbed in the years to come

If the reform will undoubtedly be ruled out, the subject of the financial balance of the pension system, it should return to the front of the stage in the aftermath of the health crisis.

The recession and the surge in public debt risk in fact imposing austerity measures. In the years following the 2009 crisis, several reforms were also passed to replenish the funds. In 2010, Nicolas Sarkozy lowered the legal retirement age to 62. In 2014, François Hollande began to extend the contribution period. And, in 2015, unions and employers froze supplementary pensions for three years.

“Over the next few years, we expect the government to put measures on the table to rebalance the pension accounts, confirms a trade unionist, a specialist in pensions. We will then campaign for them to be counterbalanced by the positive aspects the reform of point-based pensions which will not have seen the light of day, such as the increase in the minimum pension or the establishment of greater solidarity between the schemes. “

Legislative traffic jam

But the point-based pension scheme will probably not be the only collateral victim of the health crisis. The new rules for calculating unemployment benefits, which were to start on 1is April and generate savings of 3.4 billion, were postponed for several months. Just like the degression of allowances for executives receiving more than 4,500 euros gross per month. And if unemployment explodes by September – the IMF forecasts 10.4% unemployment at the end of 2020 – nothing says that the government will not review its copy yet.

In the Assembly, the examination of bills related to the coronavirus – state of health emergency, corrective 2020 budget, etc. – also postponed some sensitive projects. Among these texts, there is in particular the reform of the public audiovisual sector, which was to bring together all the public channels and radio stations under the same holding, or the bioethics law, which provided for the extension of medically assisted procreation to single women and to couples of women.

In the coming months, legislative traffic jams threaten. Between the promise of a massive plan of investments and salary increases for hospitals, the great law on dependency and the revival of the economy, all the bills of the old “new world” will not find their place in the reform package of the “next world”.