It is a measure approved by 154 votes against 55 during the discussion on the amending finance bill. The deputies voted Friday, July 22 the possibility for companies to buy back from employees the days of Reduction of working time (RTT) which they would have given up.

The government acceded to a request from the right to include a promise from its candidate for the Elysée Palace Valérie Pécresse. Initially, the group Les Républicains had tabled a series of amendments in order to “better reward work and merit and increase the net salaries of the French”.

If the measure aims to improve the purchasing power of employees, employers are also in favor of it, because of the tensions on the labor market. “Many bosses want to be able to buy back days, because taking RTT sometimes impacts the smooth running of the company,” said LREM deputy Marc Ferracci.

The RTT system allocates rest days or half-days to employees whose working time is more than 35 hours per week, which currently disappear if they are not taken, except when there is a time savings account (CET ). The number of RTT days varies according to company agreements, branch agreements or collective agreements.

The monetization of RTT was already possible in some companies, but it was taxed. At the request of an employee on a fixed daily rate, which makes it possible to remunerate certain employees on the basis of a number of days worked annually, without counting the working time, an employer can in fact already today accept or refuse to pay RTT not taken in the form of leave. If he accepts, he must increase the payment for these days by a rate of 10%, and this additional income is subject to the same contributions and taxes as wages.

The redemption of the RTTs voted by the deputies on Friday is exempt from taxes and contributions. It will be done on the employee’s voluntary basis and after the employer’s acceptance, without going through a company agreement. The measure is also capped at 7,500 euros, as requested by the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire.

The measure is currently confined to private sector employees only. At this stage, “it is not planned” that it be extended to civil servants, or even to hospital staff or doctors, who are permanently on deck and have difficulty taking their RTT, specifies Marc Ferracci. However, the government has planned to take advantage of the 2022-2023 period to “allow reflection and consultation on an even more ambitious system”.

The system may not benefit all employees equitably. Those who will be affected by the redemption of RTT days are indeed employees subject to the day package, mainly executives, employees in the banking and insurance sectors or employees of large groups. For 14.4% of full-time employees, working time is counted in the form of a flat rate in days, according to data published on September 17, 2021 by Dares, the study and statistics service of the Ministry of Labor. .

Conversely, employees working in smaller structures, without a union, could be under more pressure to have their RTT days bought back and, therefore, not to ask them. “In companies and in particular SMEs where there is no union presence, the risk exists that the employer puts pressure on his employees, so that they give up taking certain days”, alert to the Parisian lawyer honorary Gilles Bélier.

The presidential majority, through Marc Ferracci, presented its own amendment to limit the measure in time, between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2023. This time limit “must allow reflection and consultation on an even more ambitious device”, he explained. LR therefore tabled “a fallback amendment” to in turn limit the measure in time, as the majority wanted.