Jean Castex announces a “Macron Bonus” for low wages and extends aid

The essentials At the end of the meeting with the social partners, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that companies would be able to pay all employees a bonus of 1000 euros tax-free and without social security contributions, known as the Macron bonus. Among other things, the learning aid will be retained and the recruitment bonus for young people will be extended until May 31.

A “Macron” bonus of 1000 euros, which is open to all low wages, an expansion of the learning aid, but a quick exit from the aid for the recruitment of young people: Jean Castex tried with the social partners, despite projecting the post-crisis more tense Health context.

An exceptional bonus of € 1,000 tax-free, of which “second line workers” should be the privileged beneficiaries, can be paid by employers.
It is the fair recognition of their commitment to the country’s economic continuity.

– Jean Castex (@JeanCASTEX) March 15, 2021

The main announcement of this conference on social dialogue: As in 2019 and 2020, companies will be able to pay a tax-free bonus again in 2021 and be exempt from social contributions of a maximum of 1000 euros to “all employees”. However, the Ministry of Labor then stated that the “target level” of the bonus would be negotiated with the social partners, the idea being to “focus on low wages”. The Macron Bonus in 2019 and 2020 was paid to employees who earn less than three times the minimum wage.

“It will be possible to increase the amount to up to 2000 euros for companies and branches that have either concluded a profit-sharing agreement by the end of the year or have started negotiations on the valuation of the so-called” Trades of Second “line,” which the ” “will be the privileged beneficiary” of this bonus, added Jean Castex. Second-line workers are workers who have been particularly exposed to the pandemic, particularly in retail, cleaning, construction and road transport who are essential to economic continuity and whose wages and working conditions are for most unenviable.

Medef warns of “disillusionment”

The Medef warned against “disillusionment” with this bonus because “companies have had their worst year and will have many difficulties paying”. “We are delighted that the government has chosen a universal premium, and not just for second lines, which would have created real tensions in companies,” he said.

“As long as it is not compulsory, it is in the goodwill of employers and at the moment it is bad will,” commented Philippe Martinez (CGT), who denounced the government’s “categorical refusal” to raise the minimum wage. “This is not a real and stumbling bonus,” also remarked Yves Veyrier (FO), while Marylise Léon (CFDT) believed that “employers who have the opportunity to pay this bonus must do so”, noting that the Medef braked four irons “, but that cannot be” the only answer “.

In contrast to the Medef “the U2P (traders and craftsmen) joins the possibility of granting companies a bonus which would be a” fair recognition of the nation “for these workers. In addition, on May 31, Jean Castex announced the end of the hiring bonus for young people, which will be geared to salaries below 1.6 smic from April, with the aim of “accelerating” the hiring of young people at the beginning of the 2020 school year, the ministry said other components of the youth plan would be passed.

A budget of 2.4 billion euros

According to the ministry, almost 1.3 million under 26-year-olds were hired for more than three months with CDI or CDD between August and January, with 346,000 premium applications (1,000 euros per contract quarter for a maximum of one year). On the other hand, he announced the maintenance of the grant for the hiring of interns until the end of the year, which enabled the apprenticeships to live a record year 2020 despite the crisis, driven by the premium (5,000 euros for minors, 8,000 Euros) for a major). These resources remain open to all study levels and company sizes. The measure corresponds to a budget of 2.4 billion euros.

The Prime Minister also announced the start of consultations on the way out of the crisis, which will take place in three phases. According to the ministry, consultations are now to be held for the sectors most affected to find out how to lift health restrictions and support businesses.

A second phase will focus on how help systems can evolve, and a third “prospective” phase will need to examine what underlying trends are affected by the crisis, such as teleworking. This work could lead to a new conference on social dialogue “at the beginning of summer”.

For this conference, the government had put the annoying issues aside: The reform of the unemployment insurance was decided beforehand, even if the unions intend to request its postponement again. And neither the pension reform, according to Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, “dead and buried”, nor the social deficits were on the agenda.

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