Age de départ à la retraite, le cas des ASHQ

Voici une décision aussi importante sur le plan pratique que complexe au plan théorique, confinant à l’archéologie et à l’entomologie juridiques : CE, 7 août 2008, Caisse des dépôts et consignations c/ P-L, n°281359.

Un agent des services publics hospitaliers qualifié (ASHQ) de l’institut départemental de l’enfance et de la famille de Bron, né le 20 octobre 1934, avait été radié des cadres le 19 octobre 1999, la veille de ses 65 ans. Mais la Caisse nationale de retraite des agents des collectivités territoriales (CNRACL) avait liquidé ses droits en ne prenant en compte que les années effectuées jusqu’au 20 octobre 1996, soit jusqu’à son 62ème anniversaire.

L’intéressée a naturellement demandé à ce que sa pension soit révisée, ce qui lui fut refusé au motif que l’âge limite de son emploi était fixé à 60 ans, auxquels pouvaient seulement s’ajouter deux ans de prolongation d’activité au titre des deux enfants qu’elle avait eus.

Elle a donc porté le litige devant le juge administratif. En première instance, le tribunal administratif de Lyon l’a déboutée de sa demande. Sur appel interjeté, la cour administrative d’appel de Lyon, par arrêt du 22 mars 2005, lui a donné raison en jugeant que la limite d’âge qui lui était applicable était effectivement de 65 ans.

La Caisse des dépôts et consignations, laquelle gère 48 régimes et institutions de retraite dont la CNRACL, s’est pourvue en cassation contre la décision d’appel.

Pour rendre sa décision, le Conseil d’État a du exhumer et examiner des textes relativement anciens.

Du général au particulier et du particulier au général

Le II de l’article 9 du décret du 9 septembre 1965 relatif au régime de retraite des fonctionnaires affiliés à la CNRACL, qui est également applicable aux fonctionnaires relevant du titre IV du statut général, dispose que :

« les services accomplis postérieurement à la limite d’âge ne peuvent être pris en compte dans une pension. (…) Si aucune limite d’âge n’est déterminée par le statut particulier, la limite d’âge à prendre en compte est celle fixée pour les agents de l’État ».

Or, que révèle le statut particulier applicable à l’intéressée sur cette question ? Rien.

Le décret n°55-683 du 20 mai 1955 portant statut général du personnel des établissements d’hospitalisation, de soins ou de cures publics est en effet muet sur ce point. Le décret n°89-241 du 18 avril 1989 portant statuts particuliers des aides-soignants et des agents des services hospitaliers qualifiés de la fonction publique hospitalière, ne comprend également aucune disposition relative à l’âge de départ à la retraite, ce qui renvoie à la limite d’âge applicable aux agents de l’État.

Quelle est donc la limite d’âge applicable aux agents de l’État ?

Celle-ci a été fixée par l’article 1er, alinéa 1er, de la loi n°84-834 du 13 septembre 1984 relative à la limite d’âge dans la fonction publique et le secteur public, aux termes duquel :

« Sous réserve des reculs de limite d’âge pouvant résulter des textes applicables à l’ensemble des agents de l’État, la limite d’âge des fonctionnaires civils de l’État est fixée à soixante-cinq ans lorsqu’elle était, avant l’intervention de la présente loi, fixée à un âge supérieur ».

A cette étape de la démonstration, le raisonnement devient subtil pour le profane comme pour le juriste.

Par principe, l’âge limite est fixé à 65 ans. Par exception, des limites inférieures à 65 ans peuvent exister dès lors que la loi de 1984 ne fixe la limite de 65 ans que lorsque la limite antérieure était la plus élevée, sans la relever à 65 ans lorsqu’elle était la plus basse.

La suppléance du silence des textes

Le Conseil d’État a choisi de combiner deux textes fort anciens : l’article 1er de la loi du 18 août 1936 concernant les mises à la retraite par ancienneté et l’article 1er de la loi n°75-1280 du 30 décembre 1975 relative à la limite d’âge des fonctionnaires de l’État.

Le premier de ces textes énonce :

« La limite d’âge est abaissée pour les fonctionnaires et employés civils de l’Etat de la catégorie A et de la catégorie B dans les conditions ci-dessous : (…) Catégorie B : 1er échelon, 67 ans. 2ème échelon, 65 ans. 3ème échelon, 62 ans. 4ème échelon, 60 ans ».

Le second de ces textes dispose :

« Sous réserve des reculs de limite d’âge pouvant résulter des textes applicables à l’ensemble des agents de l’Etat, la limite d’âge des fonctionnaires civils de l’Etat est fixée à soixante-huit ans lorsqu’elle était de soixante-dix ans avant l’intervention de la présente loi et à soixante-cinq ans lorsqu’elle était de soixante-sept ans. (…) »

Si l’arrêté du 12 novembre 1969 a classé le grade des ASHQ dans un emploi de catégorie B ((Ce qui peut paraître très surprenant dans la mesure où le grade d’ASHQ est traditionnellement rangé dans la catégorie C, laquelle est la plus grande pourvoyeuse d’agents dans les trois fonctions publiques confondues.)), aucun arrêté n’est venu répartir les emplois de catégories A et B entre les différents échelons auxquels se réfère l’article 1er de la loi de 1936.

Dans un tel cas, le Conseil d’État a jugé que la seule limite d’âge applicable à ces agents est celle que les personnels classés en catégorie B ne peuvent dépasser, c’est-à-dire celle prévue pour le 1er échelon de cette catégorie, soit 67 ans ((CE, 27 avril 1968, Piellard et a. : Rec. CE 1968, p. 269.)). Cette âge limite étant supérieur à 65 ans, il était ramené à 65 ans par l’effet de la loi du 13 septembre 1984 citée supra, qui était donc l’âge limite de départ à la retraite de la requérante.

Il est étonnant de constater que le juge administratif doive s’ingénier à jongler avec des textes tous plus anciens les uns que les autres pour trancher une question qu’on aurait pu légitimement croire réglée depuis longtemps.

Omar YAHIA

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