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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure FR-2022-34/2833 – measures in France

Allowing exceptional unlocking of employee savings

Autoriser un déblocage exceptionnel de l’épargne salarial

Country France , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 18 August 2022 – 31 December 2022
Context War in Ukraine
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Responses to inflation
– Increasing income in general
Author Frédéric Turlan (IRshare) and Eurofound
Measure added 11 September 2022 (updated 16 September 2022)

Background information

The law on 'emergency measures to protect purchasing power' Law number 2022-1158 of 16 August 2022 allows employees to unblock, on an exceptional basis, their employee savings before the expiry of the common law periods, with the exception of sums allocated to retirement savings plans.

The principle is that employees cannot draw on their employee savings before a legal deadline of several years, except in the event of extraordinary circumstances, such as the termination of the employment contract, the employee's marriage or the arrival of a child.

Content of measure

The law adds a new exceptional case of unlocking, improving purchasing power due to inflation linked to the war in Ukraine. The exception is limited in time.

Employers are required to inform their employees of this derogatory unlocking option 'within two months of the promulgation' of the law, i.e. before 16 October 2022 at the latest.

The unlocking, carried out at the request of the employee, is permitted until 31 December 2022, in one go, up to an overall ceiling of €10,000 net of social security contributions.

It concerns sums from profit-sharing or participation allocated to an employee savings plan before 1 January 2022 and must be used to "finance the purchase of one or more goods or the provision of one or more services". The amounts released will be exempt from income tax and social security contributions.

Use of measure

As this is a new measure, there is no data available.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Workers in non-standard forms of employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
EU level social partners
Companies
Employer

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

As the representative social partners participate in the management bodies of the social security branches, they are necessarily consulted, even if it is a formal consultation.

Views and reactions

About all the measures adopted to increase the purchase power of workers, all the trade union organisations, and in particular the five representative trade union confederations and the organisations representing young people, denounced, in a declaration of 21 July, the legislative measures announced by the government, including the generalisation of profit sharing.

They consider 'that wages are part of the sharing of wealth' and they 'are unanimous on the fact that the priority issue must be to increase wages, pensions, minimum social benefits and student grants'. However, the trade unions denounce the fact that 'a succession of one-off measures, mainly financed by the State, cannot constitute a sufficient package to respond to the emergency'. Moreover, the trade unions and youth organisations point out that 'these exemptions and reductions in contributions are undermining our collective social protection system'.

On the employers' side, the measures presented by the government are better accepted. On the subject of value sharing, the CPME expressed its concern that the payment of the Macron bonus was not immediately included in the bill. The CPME once again pleaded for profit-sharing to be individualised, in addition to the collective part.

Sources

  • 16 August 2022: Loi n° 2022-1158 du 16 août 2022 portant mesures d'urgence pour la protection du pouvoir d'achat (www.legifrance.gouv.fr)

Citation

Eurofound (2022), Allowing exceptional unlocking of employee savings, measure FR-2022-34/2833 (measures in France), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/FR-2022-34_2833.html

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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.