Welcome to the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research

The European Centre is a UN-affiliated intergovernmental organization concerned with all aspects of social welfare policy and research. Executive Director is Kai Leichsenring.


Care leaves from the workplace for informal carers – an international comparison

What kind of support do care leaves from the workplace offer for informal caregivers? How can generosity of different approaches be measured? Featured on the blog.arbeit-wirtschaft.at of the Austrian Chamber of Labour and the Austrian Trade Union Federation, Andrea E. Schmidt presents findings from an international comparison of family care leave policies and legislation, zooming in on the Austrian situation. She concludes that the Austrian care leave models help provide a good work-life balance for caregivers, yet statutory rights are partly found wanting.

Corridor Studies Austria/Turkey and Germany/Turkey on Portability of Social Benefits published as World Bank discussion papers

An increasing share of the world population will spend some time of working life outside their home country. Lacking portability of acquired social rights threatens human rights, deteriorates individual life cycle planning and social risk management, affects labour mobility negatively, and creates fiscal costs for at least one of the countries. In the country coordination of portability, bilateral (and multilateral) agreements play a key role. However, what they are able to achieve with regard to human rights and economic and social outcomes remained largely unknown. Against this background the project commissioned by the World Bank set up corridor studies as an instrument of knowledge gathering and result analysis. The analysis of the two bilateral social security agreements between Austria/Turkey and Germany/Turkey (authors: R. Holzmann, M. Fuchs, S. Pacaci Elitok, P. Dale) brought substantial experiences, as they have existed for many years in migration intensive corridors.

First Memorandum of Understanding signed by Serbia


On 2 June, Dr. Nenad Ivanisevic, Secretary of State for International Affairs in the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Veterans Affairs of the Republic of Serbia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, represented by its Executive Director Kai Leichsenring. This agreement has been a result of the new ‘Bridge-building’ focus of the European Centre in close cooperation with the Austrian Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection. While similar activities are under way in a number of pre-accession countries in Eastern Europe, this was the first official document signed to underline the intention of both parties to collaborate more systematically in all areas of social welfare policy, in particular with a view to knowledge exchange and mutually-agreed research and development projects. In this context we also welcome Ms Anja Javor, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Veterans Affairs, as the new National Liaison Official for Serbia. Contact: Kai Leichsenring

How does social participation change with deteriorating health in old-age?


Chronic disease prevalence increases in old-age, which is likely to reduce social participation patterns of older people. In a publication series for the European Journal of Ageing the factors associated with different forms of social engagement are analysed in five papers in European cross-country comparisons, and presented separately for older people with and without multiple chronic diseases. The activities covered in the series include informal caregiving, volunteering, leisure activities, religious participation and lifelong learning. The results show that individual characteristics (e.g. higher income) are unlikely to compensate for health deficits in the decision to become engaged, for example, in informal care provision.

Vacancy - Researcher / Social Policy Analyst

The European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research is currently searching for a researcher to strengthen its Health and Care Unit. We are searching for someone highly motivated to contribute to the research on the areas of health and long-term care, with a particular focus on Austria and comparative research, holding an advanced academic degree, with proven experience and expertise in these areas and able to work in an international environment. We offer a supportive and flexible working environment, remuneration package compatible with expertise and demonstrated experience and tenure and career track. We hope to find a candidate suitable to work with the team for the long-run. Further details concerning this position are available in the vacancy note and we would welcome candidates to send their application with CV and letter of motivation till the 29th of July to the address stated in the vacancy note.

AGORA – How to build a health-promoting public sphere

Inter-professional cooperation is considered a valuable goal within health promotion as well as “New Public Governance”: for the clients of the respective professions and for the professionals themselves. The practice project AGORA, which was subsidised by the Austrian Health Promotion Fund and by the Health promotion institutes of Vienna and Lower Austria, intended to contribute to the extension and intensification of cooperation of social work and police in the public sphere. In the (German language) report Irmgard Eisenbach-Stangl and her partners from the Universities of Applied Sciences in Vienna and Lower Austria depict current cooperation and discuss experiences with interventions aiming at their improvement.

Employment and health condition of older workers

Employment on Health Conditions

In a new Research Note for the Social Situation Monitor, the ad hoc module on the transition from work to retirement is analysed: the extent to which men and women in the EU continue to work both before and after reaching 65, the hours they work, the types of job they do, as well as the main reasons for staying in work. The health condition of older people, the extent to which they are affected by impairments, including mental disabilities, and how it varies according to their employment situation is investigated using SHARE data. For results read the full report here.

Recent changes in self-employment and entrepreneurship across the EU

Recent Changes in

This Research Note of the Social Situation Monitor examines the widespread growth of self-employment across the EU over the period 2007-2014. Among others, it assesses the extent of movement from unemployment into self-employment, the changes in the income of the self-employed over the crisis period, and considers how far the level of satisfaction with their life, job and financial situation compares with that of employees. Finally, it examines the access to social protection of the self-employed and the policies in place across the EU to encourage people to set up in business. The full report can be found here.

Peter Oeij: Workplace Innovation as a Form of Social Innovation in the Workplace

International Seminar

A new international seminar is coming up! Peter Oeji will talk about research among 51 companies across Europe, that dealt with the question if and how work organisations develop and implement workplace innovation (WPI). WPI is innovation by applying human talents and organisational renewal. The purpose of WPI is to enhance not only productivity and performance, but also the quality of work of employees. This session will discuss the findings of the study, and the implications it may have for other work organisations. In the (interactive) discussion it seeks to link with the broader notion of social innovation: what is ‘social’ about WPI and in what way does it address ‘social issues’?
For more information and registration click here.

More than 1000 participants at the International Conference for Integrated Care


The 16th Conference of the research community focusing on issues of integrated care took place from 23 to 25 May in Barcelona. While still a decade ago this community gathered a small number of experts only, this year there were more than 1,000 delegates, underlining the huge and growing interest in ‘Integrated Care’ and the exchange of experiences across the globe. Kai Leichsenring was among the more than 90 speakers and presented results of the European Centre’s recent study on ‘Integrated Care, Choice and Competition’. During the conference he also gave an interview to outline the European Centre’s expertise and long-standing engagement related to the range of issues in integrating health and social care. Contact: Kai Leichsenring.

Social (insurance) contributions and monetary social benefits in Austria


In a joint paper with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection Michael Fuchs and Katrin Gasior analyse the amount of monetary social benefits received by non-Austrian citizens compared to Austrian citizens and the amount of social (insurance) contributions paid in 2015. The analysis is based on the tax-benefit microsimulation model EUROMOD/SORESI and uses EU-SILC 2014 as input data.
The figures can be downloaded here.

The long night of care in Vienna


The Austrian Federation of Nursing organised a ‘long night of care’ in cooperation with the Viennese Hospital Holding on 9 May 2016. Presentations and panel discussions with key stakeholders focused on the importance of professionalisation to make health systems sustainable, in particular in the context of the ongoing reform of the Austrian Nursing Act. Kai Leichsenring presented key features from the European Centre’s study on "Good Care from Care Workers’ Perspectives". You can find a video regarding the long night of care here.