Newsletter May/June 2019

In this Newsletter

In memoriam: Davor Dominkuš

First qualitative study of pairs of carers and users in Austria and Slovenia

Combatting discrimination in the workplace: new European Commission campaign launched

Non-take-up decreased after introducing minimum income benefit in Austria

Socially innovative practices in entrepreneurship

Monetary family benefits in Austria

“Future of Work: Labour Market Transitions in the Spotlight” and “Career & Age Management”

Non-take-up in Austria

18 June: Dr. Tahiraj talks about the Universal Basic Income in the Western Balkans

SDGs in the field of decent work for young people

WHO High-level Conference on Health Equity

Quality in long-term care

Financing long-term care

‘Certainties in Flux’, Workshop on alcohol in Bregenz

Family tax credit vs. basic security for children

Vacancy: Research Fellow for the Health and Care Unit

Board of Directors

Davor Dominkuš, Member of our Board of Directors, has sadly deceased ...

It is with great sorrow that we mourn after Davor Dominkuš who passed away on Saturday, 10 Mai 2019. Davor Dominkuš, former Director General of the Directorate of Social Affairs of the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs of Slovenia, has been a Member of the European Centre’s Board of Directors since January 2011, representing his country Slovenia. Davor was a true friend of the European Centre, a much appreciated colleague and a tireless promoter of international cooperation and international comparative research in the field of social policies. His death, after a long and brave battle, means a great personal and professional loss to all of us: we will miss Davor and will cherish the memory of a dear friend. Our condolences are with his family and friends, we mourn after him together with many other colleagues in the social policy and research community.  

Projects

DET_CAREMIX project meeting in Ljubljana

The European Centre and the project partners of the DET_CAREMIX project met in Ljubljana to discuss the progress of the project with 12 months to its completion on the 18 and 19 June. Stefania Ilinca, Rahel Kahlert and Ricardo Rodrigues from the European Centre discussed with the Slovenia partners the progress of:

i) a quantitative analysis of the distribution of care tasks between informal carers and care services across gender (e.g. sons and daughters) and socio-economic lines (e.g. education);

ii) a comparative qualitative study of pairs (dyads) of informal carers (sons, daughters, in-laws) and their relatives receiving care in Austria (50 observations) and Slovenia (100 observations).

This is the first comparative study of its kind involving both countries.

Awareness-raising workshops in EU Member States to fight discrimination against persons with disabilities at work

On 7 May 2019, the European Commission launched a new campaign "The EU helps fight discrimination at work".  As part of the campaign, the European Commission organises 9 awareness-raising workshops in Member States, targeting public and private employers. The first event took place in Brussels on 15 May 2019 and was attended by over 50 employers from all across Belgium. Participants discussed what existing practices they have to provide persons with disabilities with reasonable accommodation in the workplace and what challenges remain.  

During this campaign, our colleague at the European Centre, Magdi Birtha acts as Rapporteur at the national awareness-raising seminars and supports DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion in collecting promising practices from Member States on existing measures to provide persons with disabilities with reasonable accommodation. A guidebook will be published to present these practices and success stories on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the open labour market in different EU Member States.

Press conference: M. Fuchs & M. Schenk on non-take-up of minimum income benefits in Austria

This study supported by funds of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank assesses whether the reform that replaced the monetary social assistance benefit by the minimum income benefit in Austria has succeeded in increasing take-up rates. We use EU-SILC register data together with the tax-benefit microsimulation model EUROMOD/SORESI. The results show that the reform led to a significant decrease of non-take-up. 

Publications

Socially innovative practices in entrepreneurship

Anette Scoppetta, employment expert of the Thematic Network Employment (ETN), and Leonard Geyer wrote the policy paper on socially innovative entrepreneurship issued by the ESF Transnational Platform. The Socially innovative entrepreneurship paper discusses the relationship between the concepts of 'entrepreneurship' and 'social innovation'. It summarizes the state of play of EU Member States on socially innovative practices in entrepreneurship and provides recommendations by ETN members.

Distributive and fiscal impact of monetary family benefits in Austria

The comparison of the distributive and fiscal outcomes of the family tax credit ‘Familienbonus Plus’ introduced in 2019 and of the hypothetical basic security for children combines the findings of two research projects funded by the Austrian Chamber of Labour and the NGO Volkshilfe Österreich. The family tax credit mainly relieves working parents belonging to the middle class whereas the basic security for children would benefit mainly income-poor and disadvantaged families. The comparison was also presented by Michael Fuchs and Katarina Hollan at the 3rd Research Conference of ESPAnet Austria on 26 April 2019 at the University of Innsbruck.

Two new online policy papers

Anette Scoppetta, employment expert of the Thematic Network Employment (ETN), published two policy papers Future of Work: Labour Market Transitions in the Spotlight and Career Management & Age Management  issued by he ESF Transnational Platform. Both papers summarize the state of play of EU Member States and provide recommendations by ETN members.

New policy brief on non-take-up in Austria

A key performance criterion of social protection systems is whether benefits reach their target groups. Means-tested programmes, however, tend to be characterised by a certain extent of take-up problems. With the aim to increase target efficiency by facilitating access and introducing new minimum standards, the Austrian benefit of last resort 'monetary social assistance' was replaced by the 'minimum income benefit' in 2010/11. The policy brief quantifies the success of the reform by assessing the size and social determinants of (non-)takeup of those benefits, and points at potentials for further policy improvement.

Events

Universal Basic Income: A discussion on the Western Balkans

This presentation will discuss the feasibility of Universal Basic Income (UBI) proposals in the Western Balkans, drawing from local initiatives and current welfare provisions in the ground. It will investigate whether universal initiatives can compete with ever retrenching welfare states and on-going reforms that focus on system efficiency rather than social impacts. Register here for the international seminar.

Multi-Stakeholder-Workshop: SDGs in the field of decent work for young people

The second of five events of the multi-stakeholder workshop series 'Leaving no one behind' took place on Monday June 17, 2019. 50 stakeholders attended to discuss the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the field of decent work for young people in Austria.

The event included an inspiring keynote by EU youth ambassador Ali Mahlodji in which he stressed the potential of young people to deal with the challenges of the labour markets of the future. A panel discussion with representatives of youth organisations, employers, labour organisations and relevant public authorities discussed how far Austria is in providing decent work for (all) young people and where further efforts are required. Four working groups discussed specific challenges like the situation of workers in the gig economy.

WHO High-level Conference on Health Equity

On 11-12 June 2019, Ricardo Rodigues participated as an expert in the WHO High-level Conference on Health Equity in Ljubljana (Slovenia).

This Conference gathered experts and policy representatives from the WHO European region to discuss policies and practices to enhance Health Equity. Ricardo Rodrigues presented on the need for a gender framework to impact on gender inequalities in long-term care. The presentation was based on ongoing research in the context of the FUTUREGEN project and on the joint work carried out with the gender and rights programmes at the WHO, the latter as part of a secondment with the WHO Europe in May/June.

While a number of health indicators are improving across the region (e.g. life expectancy and infant mortality), there has also been a widening of inequalities (e.g. based on gender and socio-economic condition). Equity features prominently in both the Health 2020 European health policy framework and in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Equity considerations extend also to long-term care for older people. Not only do inequalities in health have a strong impact on needs and living arrangements of older people, there are also marked inequalities in how long-term care is provided. For example, the overwhelming majority of the long-term care workforce is female. Women make up for the majority of informal carers, but the probability to provide informal care is actually higher among men in the higher age groups. These were just some of the examples of the gendered nature of long-term care presented at the conference.

Addressing long-term care challenges: a way forward

The European Centre and ICF Mutual Learning Services are organising a series of five workshops in Brussels about challenges and potential solutions in the area of long-term care (LTC) from an EU perspective.

The fifth and final workshop took place on 13 June 2019 and served to discuss a topic that had reccurrently come to the fore during the previous workshops - how to define, measure, monitor and improve quality in long-term care. Kai Leichsenring wrote and presented a brief thematic background paper on ‘Quality in long-term care: a European perspective’. 

The paper provided additional background information for further debates on quality management, quality development and quality assurance in LTC. Challenges in defining quality in LTC were compemented by current practices, highlighting salient approaches to quality assurance in Member States. Emphasis was given to the consequences of market-oriented steering mechanisms that have accompanied the emergence of LTC systems in Europe. 

The workshop ended in wrapping-up the findings from all workshops and developing recommendations by the involved stakeholders to further strengthen the mediating role of the EU in improving long-term care systems in Europe.

Addressing long-term care challenges

The European Centre and ICF Mutual Learning Services are organising a series of five workshops in Brussels about challenges and potential solutions in the area of long-term care (LTC) from an EU perspective.

The fourth workshop took place on 13 and 14 May 2019 and served to discuss the most pressing policy challenges around financing LTC. Ricardo Rodrigues wrote and presented the thematic background paper ‘Achieving a fair balance in the financing of long-term care’.

The paper as well as the ensuing discussions during the workshop addressed the very diverse picture in terms of financing arrangements and the public-private mix of expenditure in Europe. The most prominent arguments and empirical evidence in favour and against existing approaches to financing of LTC - general taxation, social insurance, or a combination of both - were discussed. Furthermore, the rationale behind requiring individual users to contribute to their costs of care through out-of-pocket payments was explored, based on examples of several cost-sharing mechanisms in place in the EU and their possible equity implications. Still, as the public-private mix of care is not just present in the financing of LTC, but also in how LTC is delivered, the current structure of LTC provision in Europe was another issue of concern. It was also debated, what implications in terms of costs might derive from different technologies in the delivering of LTC and what role they might really play.

‘Certainties in Flux’ - Bregenz (Austria), 16-18 May 2019

With the support of the European Centre’s honorary consultant, Cornelius Goos, a workshop on alcohol was organised at the Annual Conference of Dieticians and Nutrition Scientists of the German speaking countries, hosted in Bregenz (Austria) from 16 to 18 May 2019.

Discussions focussed on the often-neglected important role of alcohol consumption for public health and social welfare. While a positive trend in European countries shows a slight reduction of alcohol consumption among young people, alcohol consumption is accountable for 4% of the global burden of disease, harmful consumption is a major factor in public order disturbances and loss of productivity and causes immeasurable misery in families and communities. Fortunately, there is a growing amount of evidence on effective policies and strategies to reduce alcohol related harm by raising awareness, by restricting the physical availability and increasing prices of alcoholic beverages and by limiting the promotion of alcohol.

ESPAnet Austria: family tax credit vs. basic security for children

The comparison of the distributive and fiscal outcomes of the family tax credit ‘Familienbonus Plus’ introduced in 2019 and of the hypothetical basic security for children combines the findings of two research projects funded by the Austrian Chamber of Labour and the NGO Volkshilfe Österreich. The family tax credit mainly relieves working parents belonging to the middle class whereas the basic security for children would benefit mainly income-poor and disadvantaged families. The comparison was presented by Michael Fuchs and Katarina Hollan at the 3rd Research Conference of ESPAnet Austria on 26 April 2019 at the University of Innsbruck.

Vacancy

Vacancy: Research Fellow for the Health and Care Unit

We are looking for a research fellow to work on a range of issues on long-term care, particularly with an international comparative perspective. These issues include inequalities (e.g. social determinants of health and frailty, gender), informal care, life-course, care workforce, care regimes, active ageing or financing.

We offer the possibility for young researchers to develop and grow in a working environment that emphasises excellence, interdisciplinary co-operation between colleagues inside and outside the European Centre, independence and autonomy at work. We also offer flexible working hours and a remuneration package compatible with expertise and demonstrated experience.

We would welcome candidates to send their CV and letter of motivation by 30 June 2019 at the latest.

Further details concerning the position are available in the vacancy note.