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The Secretariats of the Political Groups
I. – ORGANIZATION AND FINANCING OF THE SECRETARIATS OF THE POLITICAL GROUPS
1. – The assistants of the political groups
Each political group is entirely responsible for its staff, whether it be their recruitment, the amount they are paid, their work conditions or their dismissal.
These assistants come from different backgrounds: they may be young university graduates or doctoral students, civil servants on leave of absence from central or regional administration or even people from a community service background.
The number of assistants working for political groups in the XIIIth term of Parliament is around one hundred.
2. – The financing of the secretariats of the political groups
In order to manage its staff, each political group can avail of a financial contribution from the National Assembly and from its members towards the secretarial costs. The latter contribution is made up of transfers of a part of the staff allowance or of dues. The subsidy was introduced in 1954, i.e. twenty years before the creation of the staff allowance.
From an administrative point of view, since 1980 the group benefits from technical support from the Financial Affairs Department which calculates the salaries and the social and tax contributions linked to them, of those working for each group upon the instructions of their employer.
3. – The Association of chairmen of political groups
An association, set up in 1961, brings together the chairmen of the political groups.
From a tax and social security point of view, it is the employer and it is in charge of fulfilling the necessary obligations as regards tax declarations and the payment of contributions.
In practice, the competence of the association is mainly formal. Nonetheless it is registered with the URSAFF (the social security contribution collection agency) as an employer (in the place of the political groups which in certain cases have no legal identity).
In addition, all the employees of the political groups contribute to the same complementary retirement scheme and to the same contingency scheme.
II. – MISSIONS OF THE SECRETARIATS OF THE POLITICAL GROUPS
Generally speaking, the assistants of the political groups work under a secretary who, under the authority of the chairman of the political group, apportions the tasks between them and is responsible for their management.
Each political group decides freely on its internal organization, which depends largely on the number of available assistants. Most of them are in charge of one or several areas of legislative activity. As they are in regular contact with the civil servants of the secretariats of standing committees, they follow the activities of the relevant committee(s) and contribute, within their group, to the drawing-up of the position to be adopted regarding the bills which are being examined (the managing of working groups, the preparation of Members’ bills and amendments etc.).