FRANCE – French labour minister Francois Fillon has announced that there may have to be an increase in pension contributions, particularly by employers, if early retirement does not slow down.

“In the coming five years, there must be a cultural change regarding older workers,” said Fillon in an interview with the Parisien-Dimanche newspaper. He added that the experience of older workers should be counted on, and their careers reinvented and redeveloped.

“If companies do not rise to the challenge, then there will have to be an increase in contributions, particularly by the employers, in order to finance pensions,” Fillon said. Only in two cases would this not apply, he added – in hard physical labour, and in the event of very large cases of restructuring.

On Friday night the French senate finalised its debate on the pensions bill. Discussions had been underway for ten days following the agreed proposals by French ministers. The key points of the bill are a harmonisation of the public and private pension contribution periods, and the introduction of individual retirement savings plans. The final bill be published by the end of this week.