French parliament takes up retirement reform

PARIS (AP) — The French Parliament on Monday is to debate a pension reform intended to partially plug a funding gap in the generous system by asking the French to work longer.

Economists have criticized the bill for fiddling at the edges of the problem and only addressing a third of the 20-billion-euro hole. They say it puts off too far into the future an extension of the number of years employees must pay into the system and doesn’t extend that period enough. It also doesn’t touch the deals that allow workers in certain professions to retire early.

Any reform to France’s welfare state draws grumbles, and unions have promised protests this week. But the bill looks likely to pass without the massive strikes that dogged the last retirement reform.

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