Pensions: the closure of special schemes raises the question of their financing


Posted Jan 26, 2023, 6:05 AM

This is one of the blind spots of pension reform . The gradual disappearance special diets will pose a little more the question of their financing between now and their extinction. The government has decided to postpone this subject to a later date. Something to worry about in the union camp.

“Last week, all the trade unions intervened during a board of directors of the fund to say that it was absolutely lamentable to have a project closing the plans without even addressing the question of financing”, denounces Eric Buttazzoni, CGT administrator of the National Pension Fund for Electricity and Gas Industries (CNIEG).

Worsened demographic ratio

For the record, the reform examined from next week in the National Assembly provides, in the name of “equity”, a “closure” of special diets – in particular that of the RATP and the electricity and gas industries (EDF, Engie etc.) – from September.

This is only the beginning of the end for these plans, because they will be closed under the so-called “grandfather clause”: only new hires will no longer benefit from the retirement ages that are sometimes very early today. today and will henceforth be affiliated to the general scheme and the supplementary pension system for private sector employees (Agirc-Arrco).

The closure may well be very gradual (within forty years), it “will result in an increase in the need for financing of the closed schemes”, notes the detailed analysis of the article of law closing the schemes.

“The demographic ratio of these schemes will be degraded given the reduction in the number of contributors, and their need for financing will be increased”, completes the report attached to the reform project. This degradation will have an impact on the transfers that already exist between schemes.

However, the subject of the financing of special schemes is not a priority in the eyes of the government. Their financing methods “will make it possible to guarantee their financial sustainability in the short term”, he underlines. In addition, “the closure will have no short-term impact on old-age benefits, which require a minimum period of affiliation to be constituted”.

Getting “under the rug”

“Measures relating to the financing of these schemes, making it possible to accompany their closure, will be proposed within the framework of the financial texts for 2024”, writes the government again in its report detailing the effects of the reform. The subject is therefore postponed to the next budget for 2024.

A fear in the union camp is that the government, concerned about the social climate during the discussion of the pension reform, “put under the carpet” the question of the financing of special schemes and the problems that it could pose in particular for employers.

The terms of financing are not all the same according to the plans. In the case of SNCF, which saw access to its special scheme closed at the start of 2020, it was planned that the SNCF pension fund would be compensated for the contributions it no longer received from the scheme fund. General (the CNAV) and the supplementary pension scheme (Agirc-Arrco).

This compensation is calculated on the basis of recruitments to the status before the reform. Without the implementation of this system, it is the State which would have had to compensate for the lack of contributions by increasing its so-called “balance” subsidy. It remains to be seen whether such a scheme could again apply for plans to be closed in September.



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