They work two jobs to avoid being in the red: the ordeal of some French people in the face of inflation

They work two jobs to avoid being in the red: the ordeal of some French people in the face of inflation

Selon une étude du géant de l'intérim Randstad en janvier 2023, 15% des sondés français ont “décidé de prendre ou de rechercher un deuxième emploi pour mieux faire face à l'augmentation du coût de la vie”. manonallard/Getty Images

"The advantage is that at the bank I am no longer in the red": school assistant in Hauts-de-France, Hélène is also maintenance worker, a tiring life to escape precariousness.

Despite its motto "we work to live but we don't live to work", this dynamic forty-year-old with short hair is one of the 2.4 million people who at the end of 2020 were working in France simultaneously several jobs, or 8.4% of workers.

In a café in the countryside south of Lille near the Belgian border, Hélène (borrowed first name Editor's note), who has been working since she was 16, confides with reserve about her daily life & ;quot;tiring".

After being laid off and retraining, for six years she has been a “supporter for students with disabilities (AESH)”, suffering from dyslexia, attention deficit disorder or others.

She is the single mother of a 16-year-old teenager and this job – 24 hours a week paid at minimum wage – is not enough to cover her expenses.

So Hélène accepts a second part-time job, to clean in the nursery next to the school. On a permanent contract, she nevertheless avoids publicizing her situation, for fear of being singled out.

"I would like to be a full-time AESH, but it doesn'exist", explains this woman who campaigned in a collective of' AESH and felt close to the Yellow Vests.

Legal duration

His cumulative jobs represent a salary of 1,685 euros net, for 42.5 hours/week, with choppy schedules that leave him "10 minutes to eat" and often end at 8:30 p.m.

His HLM costs him 300 euros, aid deducted, but there are the charges, the bills which are rising: "I'm no longer in the red", but "this is not ;#39;that doesn't mean I can go on vacation. In the summer, she just goes to the sea near Dunkirk or Bray Dunes.

"I'I even thought about a third job", she said.

Some days, she is content with just one meal, and at home, the heating is turned down to sixteen degrees.

Faced with inflation, she is more attentive than ever to labels, and when the price at the checkout is higher than announced, she asks for a refund. "It's as if I came to beg," she laments.

For Jean-François Boudy, author of a "History of pluriactivity", these multiple job seekers find "a door to exit from precariousness.

But even if it can last a few years, it is "often only temporary", he emphasizes. "It can be tiring."

The employee has the right to hold multiple jobs and does not have the obligation to inform his employer, but he must respect the maximum legal working time , set at 10 hours per day and 48 hours per week

Cost of living

Faced with an increase in prices which reached 4.9% in 2023 and wages which do not keep up with inflation, those who earn little will have difficulty making up for this loss of power. “purchase, which encourages them (…) to go and take another job”, indicates Ibrahima Fall, researcher and consultant who heads the Institute of Real Work.

According to a study by the temporary employment giant Randstad in January 2023, 15% of French respondents have "decided to take or look for a second job to better cope with the job situation. #39;increasing cost of living.

At 34, Kourou, a Guinean, works up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, because he has a project: to create his business.

Full-time youth mediator on minimum wage in the Lille metropolis, he is also a meal deliveryman for a platform: during his lunch break, after work, on weekends, he travels around the city scooter.

"If there's a bill to pay, I know I'll work more," he explains.

But after a change in algorithm at the end of 2023, he who earned up to 600 euros/week now only earns 700 to 1,000 euros/month, from which the & #39;insurance or gas, he said, showing his pay slips.

Contractual, without visibility for his future, he sees this as a transition to one day launch his parcel transport business and settle in Canada.

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