MEPs unanimous to improve the calculation of farmers’ pensions

Posted Dec 1 2022 at 12:51Updated 1 Dec. 2022 at 18:22

Change of foot in the National Assembly. This Thursday, the deputies unanimously adopted in session and with the support of the government, a bill from the Republicans aimed at improving the retirement of farmers which had been rejected in committee.

The text wants to “put an end to a situation of inequity”, underlined its rapporteur, the elected LR Julien Dive (Aisne). And this, by aligning the method of calculation of the basic pension of self-employed farmers (heads of farms, heads of agricultural businesses, etc.) with that applicable to employees in the private sector and the self-employed. Debated two weeks before the presentation of the pension reform, “this text […] is a useful text and an awaited text”, welcomed the Minister of Labour, Olivier Dussopt.

Make the job more attractive

The objective is that farmers see their pension calculated on the basis of their 25 best years of income and no longer on their entire career. The idea is thus to pass the towel over the years when the farmers saw their incomes collapse in particular because of the agricultural calamities.

This change, demanded by the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA), should make it possible to increase agricultural pensions. Knowing that they are on average lower than those of French retirees. The parliamentarians also stressed that a large number of farmers were going to retire in the coming years and that the profession of farmer had to be made attractive.

Postponement to 2026

Despite convergence on the principles, the text had been rejected – narrowly – in the Social Affairs Committee. MPs from the majority argued that the proposed reform was “unconstitutional” and inapplicable in the short term. Julien Dive has largely corrected his copy by amendments with the blessing of the government.

Concretely, he proposed to postpone the entry into force of the reform from 2024 to 2026. A postponement desired, he says, by the Mutualité sociale agricole (MSA) which manages the retirement of farmers. The amended text mainly returns the ball to the government on the terms of implementation of the reform. The latter is thus responsible for drafting a report detailing the scenarios envisaged and the parameters adopted to apply it, in particular in order to avoid making losers as well.

This report must also assess the consequences of this change for the contributions and the financial balance of the plan. A sign that the subject is delicate, the government is also responsible for “assessing the advisability of a gradual entry into force of the reform”.

Continuation of previous reforms

For the executive and its majority, supporting the bill avoids exposing itself to criticism on a politically sensitive subject and makes it possible to reach out to the Republicans, at the dawn of a pension reform which will require the support of the right to be adopted.

Julien Dive’s bill is intended to be an extension of the so-called “Chassaigne 1” and “Chassaigne 2” laws, adopted in 2020 and 2021. The first raised the minimum pension for heads of farms or agricultural businesses from 75 to 85% of the net minimum wage. The second brought the minimum basic pension for collaborating spouses and family workers into line with that of heads of farms or agricultural businesses.

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