If the increase in the legal retirement age to 64 remains the flagship measure of the 2023 pension reform, the provisions concerning the number of quarters also deserve attention.
The government has in fact decided to accelerate the planned timetable aimed at increasing the number of quarters necessary to benefit from a full pension. It is currently necessary to have contributed 167 quarters (i.e. 41 years and 9 months) to leave. This figure will gradually increase, now at the rate of one quarter per year, until it reaches 172 quarters (i.e. 43 years) in 2027.
The count of quarters to work may seem simple. But when it comes to retirement, a quarter is not just a three-month period. This basic unit used to calculate the necessary insurance period conceals many subtleties. It is thus possible to validate a quarter without having worked three months. It is also possible in certain situations to benefit from quarters without having contributed and even to buy back a small number of quarters.
To validate a quarter for retirement, no need to present three payslips over three consecutive months. On the other hand, it is necessary to have contributed over the year on the basis of remuneration reaching at least 150 hourly minimum wage. This represents, at the minimum wage rate at the start of 2023, the sum of €1,690.50.
With this threshold, it is therefore not possible to validate a quarter by working only a few hours per month. Conversely, it is possible to validate a quarter by working only one month (if you are well paid beyond the minimum wage).
However, the salaries taken into account are limited to the Social Security ceiling, currently €3,666 per month. It is therefore not possible to validate a whole year by being (very well) paid in a single month. And, whatever the salary received, it is obviously not possible to validate more than 4 quarters per year of work.
Certain situations entitle you to quarters even in the absence of contributions. These are terms qualified as assimilated. This concerns in particular the periods during which an employee is unemployed, when he receives benefits for sick leave or for maternity leave. This also covers time spent in military service.
For job seekers, for example, a period of 50 days of compensated unemployment validates a quarter for retirement. Uncompensated unemployment can also, under certain conditions, make it possible to obtain quarters.
Quarters of increase
In some cases, it is also possible to be allocated quarters intended to compensate for the vagaries of personal or professional life.
These quarterly increases are granted to parents who have taken parental leave or raised a disabled child. They are also granted to compensate for the difficulty of certain jobs, depending on the points awarded to an employee on his professional prevention account.
Redemption of quarters
To reach the required number of quarters, some policyholders can also buy back quarters. It is thus possible to pay to recover quarters in order to compensate for long studies which have delayed entry into working life.
The repurchase is also offered to those who have experienced accidents along the way, such as a period of sick leave or uncompensated unemployment that did not make it possible to validate quarters.
However, the number of redeemable terms is limited to 12. The cost of a term, which can quickly exceed €5,000, varies according to many criteria: age at the time of redemption (the closer the retirement, the higher the price), average income of the last years (the higher it is, the more the quarter will cost).
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