The French social security financing law ("loi de financement de la sécurité sociale") dated 17 December 2008 introduced a number of changes to the existing conditions relating to the retirement of employees.

Before the enactment of this law, employees who had reached the legal age of retirement (i.e. 65) were employed at the discretion of their employer, who could, unilaterally, force the retirement of the employee, by terminating the employment contract. Employees are no longer so subject to their employer’s discretion – the above law entitles employees to elect to continue working until the age of 70.

However, employees working in certain sectors of a company, who are subject to a collective agreement which was entered into before 22 December 2006, and which both applies to that sector and includes provision as to remuneration, may be subject to a different regime until the end December 2009. These agreements may still permit the employer to force an employee to retire at the age of 60 (providing the employee is entitled to a “full pension”).

Therefore, whilst the above law modifies the conditions of retirement for certain employees by permitting them to elect to work until the age of 70, until the end of December 2009 there will be other classes of employee, working in certain sectors, who may, in certain circumstances, be forced into retirement at the age of 60.