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France reforms
pension system

Written by
Capstan Avocats, the law firm setting the benchmark for labour law in France.
France adopted controversial changes to its pension system on 14 April 2023, with most relevant provisions coming into effect from 1 September. Here is an overview of some of the most important changes.

Raising the minimum retirement age

France’s statutory minimum retirement age is 62 for those born on or after 1 January 1955.

However, in order to qualify for a full, maximum-rate pension at the age of 62, an employee must have accrued a required number of quarters of contributions. If the employee retires before that number has been reached, their pension will be permanently reduced.

The aim of the pension reform of 2023 is to gradually increase the minimum age from which access to retirement is allowed by two years. Ultimately, and with some exceptions, this age, which was previously set at 62, will rise to 64.

From 1 September 2023, the legal retirement age will be gradually increased by three months per generation for insured persons born on or after 1 September 1961.

Year of birthPension age prior to the reform*Pension age after the reform*Additional period of work
1 Jan - 31 Aug 19616262None
1 Sep - 31 Dec 19616262 + 3 months3 months
19626262 + 6 months6 months
19636262 + 9 months9 months
196462631 year
19656263 + 3 months1 year 3 months
19666263 + 6 months1 year 6 months
19676263 + 9 months1 year 9 months
196862642 years
196962642 years
* Exceptions apply

In order to mitigate the effects of the increase in the statutory retirement age, the pre-existing scheme for those with a long career has been strengthened since it is now open to insured persons who started working before the age of 21.

The retirement age for those who have had a long career and a minimum required insurance period (172 quarters) is according to the following four specific age limits:

  • 58 years for those who contributed 4 or 5 quarters before the age of 16
  • 60 years for those who contributed 4 or 5 quarters before the age of 18
  • 62 years for those who contributed 4 or 5 quarters before the age of 20
  • 63 for those who contributed 4 or 5 quarters before the age of 21


Essentially, the exceptions allowing certain people to benefit from an early retirement age of two years in relation to the legal retirement age have been maintained. Thus, workers with disabilities or incapacities linked to hardship, those affected by severe occupational hazards and holders of asbestos allowances continue to be able to retire earlier, although their retirement age may not be lower than 62 (except for victims of an occupational hazard who may retire at 60 and disabled workers who may retire from 55). Several additional improvements are also being made, including for employees in a situation of incapacity or permanent disability, employees who have been victims of workplace accidents or occupational diseases and disabled employees.

Increased contributions required for a full pension

The contribution period required to benefit from a full pension will be increased to 43 years (i.e. 172 quarters) from 2027 instead of 2035 as previously planned. This measure will fully affect workers from the generation born in 1965 (instead of 1973), but it will cause an increase in the number of quarters required for generations that were previously exempt (those born from 1 September 1961).

Thus, more people will have to work beyond the statutory age because they will be required to contribute more quarters to receive a full pension (i.e without a reduction).

The age at which a person who has not contributed for 43 years can benefit from a full pension remains unchanged by the reform and remains fixed at 67 years.

Several technical mechanisms have also been introduced by the reform to improve the recognition of arduous jobs, to promote the transition from work to retirement and to increase in the lowest pensions, among other measures.

To find out more about pensions