Whether they are professionals or volunteers, firefighters in France benefit from certain advantages when they decide to hang up their helmets. But what exactly are they, and what might their retirement look like?

First of all, it is necessary to distinguish between the two types of activities.

A professional firefighter can practice this profession from the age of 18, after passing a competition: he then becomes an employee of a departmental fire and rescue service and works full time.

The volunteer firefighter, or SPV, can volunteer from the age of 16, and carries out missions in his spare time, with a minimum commitment of five years. He is not paid but he receives compensation (exempt from income tax) according to his rank.

In France, “79% of firefighters are volunteers, against 16% of professionals (SPP)”, specifies the Dispatch.

As territorial public officials, professional firefighters (SPP) contribute to the National Pension Fund for Local Authority Agents (CNRACL).

To leave with a full pension, they must theoretically contribute 37 years.

But they are also entitled to a bonus, which corresponds to one-fifth of the time of service performed as a professional firefighter.

“It is added to the effective services taken into account in the constitution of pension rights: which authorizes a professional firefighter, when he meets all the conditions, to retire at full rate after 32.5 years of service. (with the bonus, the 37.5 annuities are then reached)”, specifies the site pompier.fr.

Thus, most professional SPs, recruited around the age of 25, can retire around the age of 57, with a full rate.

The amount of their pension is fixed at 75% of their salary.

SPPs also have the option of building up a supplementary pension by contributing to the National Civil Service Provident Fund (Préfon-retraite).

They can also benefit from the “fire bonus”, which increases their pension (it represents 25% of the basic salary), provided that they have worked for at least 17 years as SPP and that they have reached the age legal retirement of their generation.

As for the SPVs, being volunteers, they theoretically cannot contribute and therefore do not receive a retirement pension once they decide to stop this activity. However, they are eligible for certain benefits:

In addition, if the volunteer firefighter dies in the course of his missions, a survivor’s pension may be paid to his family.