EXCLUSIVE SURVEY – Pensions: for the French, the account is not there on the arduousness

Posted 2 Feb. 2023 at 5:00 PMUpdated Feb 3. 2023 at 8:59

To be able to retire earlier when you have a difficult job? Evidence for eight out of ten French people who believe that this must take place four years before the legal age, where the reform project opens the way to only two years. An evidence, above all, which transcends political sympathies. This is what emerges from an Elabe poll for “Les Echos”, Radio Classique and the Institut Montaigne.

First observation: six out of ten working people believe that they have a difficult job, that is 16 million people. This is even more the case for manual workers (85%) but, surprisingly, it is also true for four out of ten executives. “It’s not nothing,” deciphers Elabe’s advice-opinion director, Vincent Thibault.

Addition of the four criteria

For three-quarters of French people, the reform project currently being debated in the National Assembly does not take the subject sufficiently into account. This perception applies regardless of age, profession, location and… partisan preference. If 81% of those who voted for Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the first round of the last presidential election share it, this is also the case for 60% of Emmanuel Macron’s voters.

Even more surprisingly, the latter are more likely to think that hardship should go hand in hand with early cessation of activity (86% versus 78%). The following is logical: beyond the current criteria (night work, repetitive or even in a hyperbaric environment, noise or extreme temperatures), the French support the addition in the prevention account of the four parameters removed in 2017.

For the record, these are the handling of heavy loads, awkward postures, chemical exposure and exposure to mechanical vibrations. Here again, taking all these factors into account – with stress as a bonus – is not a matter of debate and even less in the ranks of macronists.

“Beyond the postponement of the legal age to 64, which crystallizes the opposition to the reform, hardship could be a lever of compromise capable, perhaps not of making it accepted, at least of reducing its rejection”, concludes Vincent Thibault who underlines the “missed” between the project and the perception of the French vis-à-vis their daily work. “Even the current system is not satisfactory in the eyes of the French,” he underlines.

For the record, the reform project provides that the professional branches identify with Social Security the trades exposed to ergonomic risks responsible for nine out of ten occupational diseases: painful postures, carrying heavy loads and mechanical vibrations. A fund of 1 billion euros will finance “awareness, prevention and retraining” actions for the benefit of the employees concerned.

Incidentally, the professional prevention account (C2P) will gain new rights, but with unchanged criteria, which will allow “more than 60,000 additional people to benefit from an account” each year, according to the government. Reinforced follow-up by occupational medicine is also promised from the age of 45. As well as a compulsory visit at age 61 paving the way for a full rate departure at age 62 for those who will no longer be able to work. Or two years earlier than the future legal age, if the reform is passed.

Survey carried out from January 31 to 1er February 2023 with a sample of 1,001 people according to the quota method.

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