“To perform community service in the event of unemployment.“Out of four proposals on the subject of social assistance and taxes, 47% of our readers chose what was chosen during our online consultation. Logically, when we know that according to an Ifop survey for JDD published on March 23, 80% of the French are in favor of Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to condition the payment of RSA on a few hours’ work.
Here is the proposal formulated by Jean-Yves, a 79-year-old resident of La Seyne-sur-Mer. More precisely, it is a question for him about “establish a universal minimum wage for all students or jobseekers under the age of 25 in return for a few hours of community service per monthI”.
With different modalities, the idea is global that the recipients of the Active Solidarity Income (RSA) perform in exchange for a few hours of volunteer work with the aim of introducing, “says Jean-Yves,”more social solidaritye “.
What problem does it solve?
This type of proposal is based in particular on the postulate that the absence of work leads to a progressive de-socialization. These few hours of work, in addition to the service provided to the community in exchange for the help it produces – it is the departments that pay the RSA – would allow, say those who repeat it, to avoid any prolonged exclusion.
This is what Nicolas Fricoteaux, UDI President of Aisne, said in 2019 to justify the establishment of a gender measure in his department. He then explained that the device was intended to “move from a certain counter logic, increasingly assimilated to a kind of limiting assistantship, to a real deployment strategy“.
In Aisne, recipients of active solidarity income thus sign a contract with the local community, which undertakes to devote 35 hours per week to their professional integration project.
However, it is not a matter of forcing the recipients to perform work or a voluntary activity, but of following a course of support, training or immersion in a professional environment. If the beneficiary does not meet its obligations, he still risks a suspension of the payment of RSA.
The measure can also be compared to a component of a savings regimen. But it also often appears as a demagogic proposal aimed at those accused of being “assisted”.
Is it implemented here or elsewhere?
Apart from Aisne, the departments of Nord or Haut-Rhin had already introduced this type of measure. This even though the branch councils are not competent when it comes to setting the terms for awarding RSA. In this case, the Council of State had upheld the decision of the elected officials. If French departments had taken the lead, other European countries would have already taken the leap for some time. Like Britain. On the other side of the canal, since April 2013, people who have been unemployed for more than two years must devote 30 hours a week to society, otherwise they will lose their benefits.
The unit, called “Help to Work”, was the work of the British Conservative finance minister. George Osborne then wanted to “none [reçoive] something without consideratione “.
Even earlier, Germany chose the “one-euro job”. It was in 2005 that the condemned measure was introduced, which limits unemployment benefits to one year before jobseekers are supported by the Hartz IV program. They then receive the equivalent of RSA, but must in return perform work paid one euro per hour, most often in the social or public sector.
In Denmark or Sweden, countries that are seen as models for social democracy, the provision of community service or internships are the condition for maintaining a benefit after a few months of inactivity.
The next to implement this type of device should be the Belgians. Specifically the Flemish, with compulsory community service. From 2023, the long-term unemployed (more than two years) must perform community service with a municipality, a maximum of 64 hours per month.
For what results?
It is difficult to say whether the results of these policies are positive, as the social and professional situations are very different from country to country.
In the Scandinavian countries, the equation unemployment benefits versus voluntary work seems to work. But in Denmark or Sweden the number of unemployed is much lower than in France. However, the “volunteer work” of these hours must be found. Not to mention that they are valued by those who want to give their time, engage from a bourgeois point of view. Some see this as a question mark over volunteer work and fear that it will be replaced by people who themselves would be forced to give their time.
In Germany, on the other hand, the number of years in which one-euro jobs have existed has not made them more attractive. Some analysts even believe that these underpaid jobs (although we are talking about compensation rather than pay) would have generated more uncertainties as those who work on them no longer have time to perform odd tasks, sometimes in black.
We also point to some form of free labor. In 2010, when the United Kingdom at the time was only considering resorting to such a measure, Christian Charpy, then Director-General of Pôle emploi, assessed that “it was not part of the French tradition to force people to work“and pointed out that”a job deserves a salary, regardless of the situation“.
Which candidates are talking about it?
Recently, it is the outgoing president, candidate for his succession, who has set foot in the bowl of RSA compensation with a number of hours of work to be done. In fact, Emmanuel Macron proposes to condition the payment of this aid on about twenty hours of activity per week.
But he is not the only one. The measure is particularly entrenched on the right. Thus, Valérie Pécresse (LR) requests a minimum activity of fifteen hours to collect RSA. Nicolas Dupont-Aignan rather expects a weekly day of community service.
In fact, with regard to the development of RSA, the other other candidates are primarily in favor of an extension for young people under the age of 25, without, however, making it a weekly activity.