A measure that divides. Will the beneficiaries of the Active Solidarity Income (RSA) soon be forced to work? Several departments will launch this experiment in the fall, for a period of one year, announced last week the Minister of Labour, Full Employment and Integration Olivier Dussopt. This test responds to a campaign promise by Emmanuel Macron during the 2022 presidential election and whose objective is to condition the payment of the RSA to 15 or 20 hours of weekly activity. About ten employment areas will be able to participate in this experiment, but they have not yet been announced. For now, beneficiaries will be selected on a voluntary basis.

The objective, for the government, is to better support recipients towards employment, while protecting those who will not be able to work, because they are too fragile or with particular family situations. David*[the first name has been changed, Editor’s note] is under 30, lives alone and has no dependent children. He therefore receives 598 euros from RSA each month and does not look favorably on this experiment: “I am already followed by a referent, I do not need to have other conditions to receive my allowance”, explains he told Planet.

The young man has been looking for a job for several months and feels like an additional pressure this obligation to work, in a sector that may not suit him. “I don’t spend my days on my sofa waiting for time to pass. I apply for offers and, by working 15-20 hours a week, I would automatically have less time to find a stable job and maybe even full-time,” he told Planet. He already knows that he will not be voluntary.

This observation is also that of the Aducaf association, which defends CAF users, including RSA beneficiaries. Questioned by Planet, its president regrets that certain details are not clear enough: “Will the amount of the RSA be paid over the entire duration? The job offer is proposed by whom? Does the beneficiary have to even look for a job? If at the end of his contract this person loses his job, who will help him find another one? Will he continue to receive the RSA? Questions that do not yet have answers and that may only have some at the end of the experiment. For the association, the pressure could be too great on the beneficiaries if this measure becomes compulsory…

For the president of the Aducaf association, this experiment responds to a bad impression from the general public, “who does not know the situations of the beneficiaries in relation to the labor market”. According to him, the pressure of employment already exists for these people, while some sometimes lack support in their research. “Some beneficiaries are forced to accept offers that do not correspond to their skills and they live it quite badly. However, they have no choice if not the RSA is removed from them”, adds the association to Planet.

Above all, its president fears that it will become a vicious circle: “If, after this job, the person returns to Pôle emploi to apply for unemployment benefits, then becomes a beneficiary of the RSA again… Back to square one”. “What more do we add by saying that we are going to encourage them to work?”, he wonders, before adding: “This measure suggests that the beneficiaries are not encouraged to work, but they already are, so I don’t see what that adds more.” For him, the problem is elsewhere…

David would like to be better supported in his job search, not punished because he refuses to work “part-time in a sector that is not mine”. For the moment, the Aducaf association has not had a call from worried beneficiaries because, for its president, “they are not yet aware”. On the other hand, he adds to Planet, “we receive a lot of calls saying that the RSA is suspended without the beneficiary knowing why”. “Sometimes, we realize that the person has been suspended because a letter was sent to him for a summons, that he did not receive it or did not answer it”, he specifies. Rules which, according to him, are already quite sufficient for the beneficiaries of the RSA. He therefore calls for better support rather than new allocation conditions.