All quiet on France’s second solidarity day front

Plans to remove one of France’s 11 public holidays to help fund increased support for older people have gone quiet.

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In 2004, an annual “solidarity day” was chosen to take place on Pentecost (Whit) Monday, in which workers “gave up” a day’s pay to fund care for the elderly.

But since 2008 the day has been restored as a public holiday, leaving businesses free to choose their own day to contribute to the measure.

The decision followed the summer heatwave of 2003, in which more than 15,000 people died.

Many of the victims of the heatwave were elderly.

President Emmanuel Macron indicated support for a second “solidarity day” in April, when he said: “We have 1.5million people over 85. By 2050 it will be five million... This demographic shock is coming.

“It [a second solidarity day] is not necessarily a bad idea, Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Jacques Chirac proposed it in the past. It could be an option.”

Since that statement, however, little more has been said on the matter, leaving many wondering whether the idea will get off the ground.

It is estimated the removal of one public holiday (jour férié), making it an extra solidarity day, could raise as much as €3billion to support the elderly

The government has estimated the care bill for older people is set to grow by €6.2billion by 2024, and will cost an estimated €9.2billion extra by 2030.