The 2023 French pension reform

Eddie Sammon Investments

The 2023 French pension reform explained (la réforme des retraites)

In 2023 the French government succeeded in passing many changes to the French state pension system. The process of reforming the pension system led to many protests which made news around the world. This article will give a summary of the main changes.


How do French state pensions work? 

First of all, it is important to understand how the French state pension system works. In France, employers pay into the French state pension, so employees in France do not normally receive a company pension, although employee savings plans and private pension and tax-efficient savings accounts and investment products exist. The French pensions take the form of a monthly income and are guaranteed for the rest of your life. They are reviewed each year but the regular increases can be less than the rate of inflation. There are also different pension regimes for different sectors, with different rules. This blog will focus mostly on the general regime. You also often have a main pension (retraite de base) and a complementary pension (retraite complémentaire).


What changed in September 2023? 

Here is a summary of the main changes, for a complete list, please consult the links at the end of this article or get in touch with us.

  • Minimum pension age increased from 62 to 64. This change is progressive and applied to those born from 1961 to 1968 and onwards
  • Pension age without an early retirement reduction (une décote), known as a “retraite à taux plein”, remains 67 years old. The pension amount that you receive remains dependent upon the number of quarters (trimestres) that you validate and also your income
  • Changes to early retirement “long career” pensions. Before, there were different rules for those who started work before 16 and before 20, now the minimum pension ages for those who started to work at a young age are as follows:
    • You started to work before age                 Early retirement age (subject to conditions): 
      21                                                                      63
      20                                                                     62
      18                                                                      60
      16                                                                      58
  • Minimum age for a pension in case of permanent incapacity remains 60 years old (the original plan was to increase this to age 62). Disabled workers can still retire from age 55. However there is now a pension start age of 62 for those who are invalid who those deemed unfit to work.
  • The quarters required in order to retire without an early retirement reduction increases more quickly than originally planned. For those who are born before 1 September 1961, the minimum will remain 168 quarters (42 years). This will be progressively increased until it is at 172 quarters (43 years) for anyone born from 1965, whereas before it was only those born in 1973 onwards who were affected.
  • Protection of quarters for mothers. Now, four quarters will be attributed automatically to the mother and a further two to four for the upbringing of the child. Previously, the father could receive all four of the quarters granted for the upbringing of the child, but now at least two must go to the mother
  • Greater protections for the parents whose child dies before four years old. Now they will receive four quarters for the upbringing of the child, as opposed to one previously. There are different rules for many public sector workers (fonctionnaires).
  • Loss of upbringing quarters in case of child abuse
  • Quarters for stay-at-home parents are now included in the early retirement “long career” calculations
  • Relaxation of the rules regarding the purchase of quarters in certain circumstances such as the quarters spent in some internships, for locally elected politicians and for sports professions.
  • Extra quaters granted to voluntary fire fighters
  • An increase in the minimum pension (granted under certain conditions). This will be to 85% of the French minimum wage for those who had a full career at the French minimum wage. The minimum wage, known as the SMIC, is currently 1,766,92 euros per month before tax.
  • Increases for having three or more children now extended to “liberal” professions and lawyers
  • Small increases for parents from 1.25% to 5%
  • The creation of a pension for children who have lost their parents, up to the age of 21 or without age limit for disabled children.
  • Five special regimes have been deleted
  • Possibility to earn a second pension for those who work whilst retired.
  • Extra support for those who have dangerous or physically demanding jobs in order to help them retrain (reconversion professionelle)
  • Quarters to be granted to those who are caring for a disabled or elderly family member
  • An objective has been written into law to end pension inequality between men and women by 2050
  • A review of the reform in 2027


How AISA International can help you? 

Feel free to contact us for a pension and investment review. We can produce a lifetime cashflow forecast and propose investments to you that could increase your future income in retirement.


The views expressed in this article are not to be construed as personal advice. Therefore, you should contact a qualified, and ideally, regulated adviser in order to obtain up-to-date personal advice with regard to your own personal circumstances. Consequently, if you do not, then you are acting under your own authority and deemed “execution only”. Additionally, the author does not accept any liability for people acting without personalised advice, who base a decision on views expressed in this generic article. Importantly, this article is dated and is based on legislation as of the date. It should be noted that legislation changes, but articles are rarely updated. Sometimes a new article is written; so, please check for later articles. Additionally, check for changes in legislation on official government websites. Finally, this article should not be relied on in isolation.


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