Journée de solidarité envers les personnes âgées

The French Journée de solidarité (or Journée de solidarité envers les personnes âgées / Day of solidarity with the elderly) is a french law from the Code Du Travail. It was established on June 30, 2004[1] under the government of Jean-Pierre Raffarin. This law states that each year an employee must work seven hours for free for one of his or her employers, and that each year the employer has to pay a specific contribution. The contribution is defined by another law[2] at a rate of 0.3 percent to be paid to the ad hoc Caisse nationale de solidarité pour l'autonomie by the employers (0.3 percent is considered to be the approximate value of this seven hours' work). Its effect is the removal of a day's holiday.

The implementation of this new kind of 'worked holiday' has been complicated, and has led to some controversy over its implications for social rights.

Initial goal

Adopted after the 2003 heatwave caused the death of nearly 15,000 people, the revenue from the law is intended to finance actions in favor of elderly people, especially to prevent risks due to excessive heat. For practical purpose, firms transfer the amount of one day of gross salary without wage costs and social security contributions for each employee to the State. Estimated figures led to discussion. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin judged them to be satisfactory. On June 1, 2006, he said that benefits from that day had been "incalculable".


The employer pays exactly 0.3 percent of employees' gross salary, which is included in employer wage costs. This amount is almost equivalent to one day of net salary. The employer does not have wage costs to pay for that working holiday (because there is no net salary for that day). Thus it results in the employer paying only half the usual rate for one working day and benefits from that day. Over the course of a year, this day is almost equal to (considering a rate of 50 percent for employer wage costs):

The difference between the two rates (0.43 and 0.23), about 0.20 percent of hourly costs including wage costs, is passed to the State.

Amounts collected by the state

Implementation and reaction

In 2004, this new added working day was imposed by law to be by default on Pentecost Monday, formerly a non-working holiday. Between 2004 and 2008, Pentecost Monday has been worked by numerous employees. Pentecost Monday is still a holiday (but a working holiday). This was confirmed by the French Council of State on May 3, 2005.[4]

Many people, especially from the Collectif des Amis du Lundi (CAL) activist organisation are against this law which re-establishes in France one mandatory unpaid work day. The French Council of State was consulted over the constitutional position but did not consider the law illegal.

Employer unions' points of view:

Employee unions' point of view:

See also


  2. Code de l'action sociale et des familles Partie législative Livre Ier : Dispositions générales Titre IV : Institutions Chapitre X : Caisse nationale de solidarité pour l'autonomie.
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