“act of solidarity” or “out of subject”? Six questions about giving leave to caregivers in holiday vouchers


About 100 members of the majority had launched the idea in mid-May. The National Assembly voted on Tuesday evening in favour of the bill.

A little rest after the storm. Tuesday, June 2, in the evening, l‘National Assembly passed a bill of La République en Marche allowing employees to “Give” leave, in the form of holiday vouchers, to caregivers. About 100 LREM deputies, led by Christophe Blanchet, had put forward this idea in mid-May. The goal? Show “Solidarity” To “those who fight directly against coronavirus”. But what’s going on text is also judged “Off topic” Or “A little obscene” left-wing opposition, given the hospital’s difficulties.

1How does the gift of leave work?

The basic principle is simple: any employee can donate the rest days he or she has left. These are converted into holiday vouchers, up to the value of these holidays. These holiday vouchers are then distributed to caregivers.

The first article the proposed law gives some details about the device: this donation can be made by any employee, on his request and in agreement with the employer”. The employee thus agrees to “renounce without consideration, within a decree limit, to days of rest acquired and not taken, whether or not they have been allocated to a time savings account”. These holidays are then monetized “in order to finance holiday vouchers”.

These holiday vouchers will then be distributed “to all staff in hospitals or in Ehpad, liberal or non-liberal nurses, hospital attendants or maintenance workers, and all those who are in the care of others”, according to the bill’s presentation. For the precise details, we will have to be a little more patient: they must be specified by decree.

2Why a gift in holiday vouchers?

As early as May, the 100 or so LREM MPs who proposed this mechanism argued for a scheme does not represent a burden on the state or for businesses”. And monetization in holiday cheques also had another advantage for the Minister of Labour: “This act of generosity will at the same time contribute to the recovery of the tourism sector very strongly affected” epidemic, according to the Muriel Pénicaud.

As a reminder, holiday vouchers are managed by a public institution: the National Agency for Holiday Checks. These cheques can then be used in France, in partner establishments, private or public, and in connection with holidays, such as transport, hotels, restaurants or cultural activities.

3When will this measure come into force?

For the time being, this bill has only been adopted at first reading in the National Assembly. It must then continue its review in the Senate. Amendments can be made to it. Once it is finally adopted, it will still have to be promulgated by the President of the Republic within 15 days, and specified by decrees.

4Is this (really) a novelty?

The gift of leave or RTT is not a first. It already exists in the law and has even been expanded by decree 2018. But the conditions of these donations are still very strict. Already, it can only be done between colleagues of the same company. Second, this donation can only be made in certain situations, for example to help an employee parent of a seriously ill child.

This proposal to expand the donation of leave for health workers has also made the National Assembly cringe. Supported by elected officials from different political stripes, LR MP Maxime Minot accused his colleagues in the majority of “dishonest plagiarism” and a “Pale copy”, pointing out that on 22 March a draft law to this effect was tabled.

In mid-April, PS MP Christophe Bouillon and his Socialist colleagues tabled a bill to introduce an exceptional holiday voucher scheme “for staff who have ensured the continuity of the nation’s vital services”. “The ‘cuckoo method should not become widespread’, he criticised, denouncing the reappropriation of his proposal by La République en Marche.

5What are the political reactions?

The deputies of La République en Marche tried to thwart the upcoming controversy by hammering that this device does not “not to replace the large-scale measures needed to provide more resources” hospital, according to Christophe Blanchet. At the same time, the Minister of Labour insisted on the timetable for the “Health Ségur”, which was supposed to implement the increases in wages and resources promised for carers, “The conclusions are expected in July”.

But the opposition has expressed its doubts about this. On the Socialist Party side, MP Boris Vallaud expressed a “discomfort” in the face of this proposed law “Unfinished” And “Off topic”, given the difficulties of the hospital. For the insoumise MP Caroline Fiat, this is not “not to the citizens to thank the staff, but to the state”. The elected official therefore proposed to the French “Pose a day of RTT” For “Manifester” June 16, the day of mobilization of unions and hospital collectives.

6What do the main stakeholders think?

Reactions are also mixed on the caregivers’ side. “If the French want to say thank you, it’s good to take”, reacted Frédéric Valletoux, president of the Hospital Federation of France and mayor of Fontainebleau, in mid-May, during the presentation of this proposal. “It is a gesture of solidarity and it could actually allow French people who do not wish, or cannot, make a cash donation to be able to actually mark a form of solidarity”, he praised.

“When I heard this announcement, I was shocked”, reacted Agnès Hartemann, head of the diabetology department at the Hospital de la Pitié Salpêtrière and a member of the inter-hospital collective. “A lot of people are going to be both affected and shocked”, she estimated in mid-May. “Solidarity is touching, of course. But somehow, we’re starting to get a little tired of being given presents. (…) We are still desperately awaiting the announcement of the wage upgrade.”

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