Should we make it easier for retirees to return to work? A certain number of insured persons wish to find their way back to the office after having liquidated their rights, as evidenced by the official website info-retraite.fr. Several devices exist, moreover, of which Planet has already had the opportunity to speak. However, according to the economist Jacques Bichot, professor emeritus at Jean Moulin University (Lyon 3) but also an honorary member of the Economic and Social Council, we should potentially go further. The beneficial effects of such a policy are numerous, he explains. Interview.
Planet: Should we make it easier for retirees to return to work? What would be the beneficial effects of such a policy and, conversely, the less interesting effects?
Jacques Bichot: The return to work of retirees is indeed, it seems to me, an interesting solution for the French economy. This, however, must not be cut off from another no less important solution: the extension of active life without interruption. These two schemes already exist and presuppose, in one case as in the other, this presupposes a certain flexibility on both sides, but it seems to me that it would be possible to facilitate the return to work by encouraging certain measures allowing retirees to return to a job over which they would have some control. Allowing them to retain some power over working time, for example, would make the measure attractive.
Moreover, it is clear that such a measure could prove to be very beneficial. First, on an individual basis, for the few who do not thrive in retirement and could therefore live happier by finding a job. But this is far from being the only advantage: it is also the possibility of inflating one’s remuneration or of compensating for a lack of career, for example. Not to mention the interest that such a decision could have for companies, which are currently struggling to recruit sufficiently qualified workers. In addition, the contributions paid on the wages paid would come to feed social security. In general, instead of having people who cost society, we end up with people who bring in money.
That being said, it would be necessary to be extremely vigilant: hiring, or re-hiring, should not be done under conditions of unfair competition against young workers. Retirees, who already benefit from a pension, will find it easier to accept lower remuneration and therefore to take the place of workers who could find themselves in great need of employment. This kind of fault would be more than deplorable. We must not fall into the eviction of workers who themselves need their entire salary.
Planet: How exactly would it be possible to make it easier for former workers to return to work? Should we be satisfied with pre-existing devices?
Jacques Bichot: In my opinion, there are two levels at which it is possible to act: first the legal aspect, through labor law, then on the social aspect… that of mentalities.
If the French men and women adopt a very weighty mentality which would consist in rejecting a return to work outright on the pretext that it is one more obstacle, for example, for young working people, then it will never be possible to get there. It must be understood that this kind of policy can only be conceived in a good employment situation. A stronger demand for employment is therefore essential and it will not be possible to force French women or men anyway: we are in a democracy. If they don’t want to work harder, they won’t work harder.
In practice, it seems to me, it is more important to concentrate on the possible problems of competition between future former retirees and young workers so as not to lead to a phenomenon of unfair competition with regard to integration into the labor market. .
Planet: In the current state of things, the postponement of the legal retirement age appears to be contested by the population. Does a measure aimed at encouraging retirees to return to work seem viable to you, politically or socially speaking?
Jacques Bichot: It is difficult to answer such a question without being a sociologist. That being said, it seems important to me to remember that the problem does arise and that, in the case of the world of work, the questions must be approached without prejudice.
Moreover, any change of this type leads, at least initially, to strong reactions that are generally negative. The first reflex is to stand up against the proposed transformation on the pretext of protecting one’s retirement, avoiding what could de facto be likened to a reduction in the time for cessation of activity.
For a reform to be worth the effort, the negative effects (which unfortunately cannot be avoided) must not outweigh the positive effects. But, it seems to me, that is precisely the case here. Especially since it would be possible to develop measures aimed at making it simpler or more effective to partially liquidate one’s rights while continuing to work.