French government targets jobless older workers

The French prime minister has not let the furore over his government’s failed youth employment plans prevent him from turning his attention to the other end of the age spectrum.

Dominique de Villepin has proposed introducing short-term contracts for unemployed workers over 56, while making it illegal for organisations to force workers to retire before reaching the age of 65.

The plan will also allow low-earning pensioners to receive a salary and a pension by paying pension bonuses for people who work after turning 60.

The aim is to raise French employment rates among 55- to 64-year-olds from 38% to 50% by 2010.

Unlike the controversial youth employment plan, this latest initiative has received the support of France’s vocal unions and French employers’ organisation Medef.

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