Pension reform: the French most at risk


Will the effects of the new law only apply to new hires? This is the whole issue of the pension reform whose negotiations are currently being played out behind the scenes for a public presentation on January 10, 2023. If such a measure were to be put in place, we would then speak of “the grandfather clause “. What does this phrase mean? It indicates that the effects of a new law will only apply to new hires and not to former employees.

The latter will continue to benefit from the conditions of the old law. In law, this is called the grandfather clause. This allows for the abrupt removal of benefits for current workers. Changes or advantages only apply to new entrants. The grandfather clause therefore makes it possible to preserve rights or advantages that will later be suppressed.

In the current pension reform project, we use “the grandfather clause” when we talk about the abolition of special schemes, such as at the RATP or the SNCF. There are about fifteen of them in France. We can therefore already say that new hires will not have the same advantages as their predecessors. But certain sectors should be preserved when they are linked to hardship, we can cite the fishermen or the dancers of the Paris Opera for example.

The special schemes supplement the list of Social Security schemes, which already include the general scheme, the scheme for self-employed workers and the agricultural scheme. The special regimes fall into three main categories: the civil service regime, which includes the military and the national police, among others.

The schemes of companies and public bodies such as EDF, GDF, RATP or SNCF. And, finally, the last category refers to ensembles whose number of beneficiaries is low: French Comedy, Paris Opera, clerks of notaries, Bank of France, sailors, etc.

As for the origin of the expression “grandfather clause”, it dates back to the Civil War in the United States from 1861 to 1865. Despite the victory of the United States in favor of the end of slavery, concessions were made to the southern states. The grandfather clause was established so that blacks would not have the right to vote.

Only veterans who obtained the right to vote before the war retained their rights, as well as their descendants. The black population whose descendants were slaves could not benefit from it. This law was canceled in 1965.