The purpose of this paper is to discuss how employment regulations and stigma, arising from working for welfare in “public works”, limit the social inclusion of social assistance beneficiaries. Activation in “public works” is meant for those beneficiaries unable to participate to the unsubsidised labour market because of range of work impairments.
The paper is based on qualitative interviews concerning the perspectives of social assistance beneficiaries in Luxembourg who work in “public works” activation schemes in exchange for social assistance support. The paper uses an encompassing definition of social inclusion based on the idea of social rights.
Access to legal employment status and to social rights are fundamental conditions to foster social inclusion and labour market integration. People in “public works” schemes consider their inclusion hampered by the lack of a legal status that could allow them to access social rights, basic social services and economic life – such as decent housing or access to credit – and the presence of stigma related to working for social assistance.
Ensuring social protection of work and lifting stigma aside labour market integration are key for a social inclusion strategy that could support social assistance beneficiaries’ social inclusion.
Debate on activation, including that arising from social investment, stress the centrality of labour market integration for social inclusion but does not take into account institutional factors – such as the social protection of work – and stigmatisation practices that can directly undermine the social inclusion of social assistance beneficiaries working for welfare.
Funding information: supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) (10239475).
Girardi, S., Pulignano, V. and Maas, R. (2019), "Activated and included? The social inclusion of social assistance beneficiaries engaged in “public works”", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 39 No. 9/10, pp. 738-751. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-01-2019-0023Download as .RIS
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