Purchasing power: the revaluation of the RSA ignites debates in the Senate
The question of the revaluation of the RSA animated the debates Thursday evening in the Senate on the purchasing power bill examined at first reading after the National Assembly.
The text, which Minister Bruno Le Maire wishes to contain at 20.7 billion euros, provides in particular for the tripling of up to 6,000 euros of the tax-free premiums that companies can pay to their employees.
It also records a 4% increase in retirement pensions and several allowances (family, social minima) with retroactive effect from July 1, 2022, the deconjugalization of the disabled adult allowance (AAH), as well as various measures to deal with the risks of energy shortage.
“Every euro counts,” warned the Minister of the Economy, wishing to limit the additional cost of Parliament’s contributions to the text to 700 million euros in total – half of which has already been committed to the National Assembly.
The amended draft budget, the second part of support for purchasing power, opens up 44 billion euros in credits, including 9.7 to finance the 100% renationalization of EDF.
Amended in committee on Thursday, it will arrive in the Senate Chamber on Monday.
The two texts were voted on by the deputies Les Républicains, but Bruno Retailleau, leader of the LR senators, who have the majority in the High Assembly with the centrists, laid down his conditions, insisting in particular on “that work pays” .
The Senate voted to continue until December 31, 2023 the “Macron bonus”, introduced in 2019 during the yellow vests crisis, the ceiling being raised to 3,000 euros or 6,000 euros in the event of a profit-sharing agreement.
But against the advice of the government, it has reserved only companies with fewer than 50 employees the perpetuation, from 2024, of a bonus exempt from social security contributions, within the limit of 3,000 euros (6,000 euros in the event of an agreement profit-sharing).
“It’s a stumbling block”, admitted the rapporteur LR Frédérique Puissat.
The left fired red bullets against the very principle of the bonus, the president of the PS group Patrick Kanner seeing in it “the concrete translation of neoliberal ideology (…) always harmful for employees, always profitable for employers” . “A backhoe” to our social protection system for his colleague Laurence Rossignol.
– “Busy to survive” –
Three provisions “to respond to the emergency, in particular of French people who work”, introduced in committee, were validated in the hemicycle.
The senators have created a reduction in employers’ contributions, the amount of which would be fixed by decree, for overtime, for companies with at least 20 employees. For the rapporteur, it is “the necessary complement” to the tax measures adopted in the Assembly within the framework of the PLFR.
Noting “a point of divergence”, the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt judged that it is “not really a purchasing power device”. “It may eventually be useful if it is targeted at small businesses,” he acknowledged, however.
The senators have also provided for the possibility of an early release of employee savings.
They have also relaxed the rules for the use of restaurant vouchers, providing that they are authorized, until December 31, 2023, for the purchase of any food product.
An amendment brought by LR aimed at lowering the anticipated revaluation of the RSA to 3.5% was rejected, the centrists voting against like the left who shouted “indecency”.
3.5% corresponds to the rate of revaluation of the index point for civil servants. For LR senators, “there is no need to revalue” the RSA “at a rate higher than that of people exercising a professional activity”.
The Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt strongly opposed this amendment, stressing that “there is a symbolic force in not treating the most damaged of our fellow citizens in the same way as the others”.
“Particularly shocked”, the socialist Corinne Féret asked “how can we live” with 575 euros for one person.
“These people are busy, they are busy surviving,” said environmentalist Raymonde Poncet Monge.
The Senate has also deleted, against the advice of the government, an article to encourage the branches to sign agreements on their minimum wage, deemed ineffective by the rapporteur.
It was on a completely different subject, the resumption of activity at the coal-fired power plant in Saint-Avold (Moselle), that Mr. Retailleau then pushed “a rant”, protesting against “a debate about cutting” , “on the sly, on the sly” on France‘s energy policy.
The Senate will continue Friday the examination of the text which could extend until Saturday.
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