The Senate votes the Social Security budget, but adds a controversial measure on pensions

The measure tabled by René-Paul Savary (here in 2013) on pensions is controversial even in the ranks of the right. – JACQUES DEMARTHON / AFP

The Social Security 2021 budget project was adopted on Tuesday in the Senate on first reading of the Social Security budget project. But the senators added a controversial article on pensions, doomed to disappear in the wake of the parliamentary shuttle.

The text modified by the senators compared to the version adopted at first reading in the National Assembly was voted by 190 votes in favor, 106 votes against and 50 abstentions. Deputies and senators will attempt in the wake of this vote to agree on a common text in a joint committee. In case of failure, a new reading will be organized in both chambers, the National Assembly having the last word.

Longer working hours?

With a deficit of 49 billion euros in 2020, the finance bill is marked with the seal of Covid-19. For 2021, the Minister of Public Accounts Olivier Dussopt forecasts a deficit of “27.1 billion”, and “high deficits of more than 20 billion euros per year” beyond.

On the revenue side, the Senate voted several new provisions, against the advice of the government, including an additional effort requested from complementary health. But above all the senatorial majority has once again proposed to extend the working time in an attempt to balance the pension system.

In the midst of the economic and social crisis, the amendment presented by the LR rapporteur for the old age branch René-Paul Savary had the effect of a bomb on the left, and a few voices on the right were dissociated from it. It recommends both pushing back the legal retirement age to 63 in 2025 and accelerating the lengthening of the contribution period to reach 43 annuities from the 1965 generation.

“Ideological obsession”

“He alone disqualifies the text,” said Bernard Jomier (PS). It is “totally indecent at a time when the layoff plans explode,” said Laurence Cohen (predominantly communist CRCE), while the ecologist Raymonde Poncet Monge castigated “a real ideological obsession”. This provision has no chance of surviving the parliamentary shuttle, the government as the leader of the LREM group in the Assembly, Christophe Castaner, being against it.

The right nevertheless assumed this vote to the end. “We will see if the government, but also all those to whom the position of the commission has raised cries of orchard are not forced to come back”, warned the president of the Commission of Social Affairs Catherine Deroche (LR ).

A revalued salary for home helpers

On the expenditure side, the Senate voted for a new extension of 800 million euros for 2020 requested by the government to cover the expenses related to the increase in PCR tests and the deployment of antigenic tests, as well as to increase the means of establishments. and services for the elderly. The Assembly had already integrated an additional budget of 2.4 billion for hospitals and salary increases of the “Ségur de la santé”.

The text also includes an envelope of 150 million euros in 2021 then 200 million from 2022, to increase the salaries of home helpers, on the front line with the elderly.

Paternity leave and third party payment for abortion

In terms of reforms, the Senate approved almost unanimously and without modifications the flagship measure of the text, the doubling of paternity leave, from 14 to 28 days from next July 1, after a heated debate on the seven mandatory days . The mandatory third party payment in the event of abortion was also approved, but only narrowly.

Green light from the upper room again to the creation of new birth centers as well as to the “fixed price” of 18 euros for patients going to the emergency room without then being hospitalized. The senators, however, maintained the exemptions for people benefiting from a long-term illness.

Pending the old age and autonomy law promised by the government for 2021, the Senate voted widely to implement the 5th branch of Social Security, while regretting the lack of “means” dedicated to this new branch and the ‘lack of “concrete measures”.

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