Newsletter January/February 2018

Vacancy note: Social Policy Analyst; Labour Market Expert

The European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research is searching for researchers to work in an international comparative perspective in the UNECE region.

The vacancy comprises of two positions: Social Policy Analyst and Labour Market Expert.

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

We would welcome candidates to send their Europass CV and letter of motivation by 12 September 2018 at the latest. Further details concerning the two positions are available in the vacancy note.

Affordable housing for low-income families

Countries use a variety of housing policy measures to pursue social policy objectives, such as assistance with housing costs to prevent material deprivation and, more broadly, access to affordable housing to promote social inclusion. This Policy Brief by Eszter Zólyomi and Katarina Hollan aims to provide an overview of two such housing policy instruments, social housing and housing allowance, focusing on six EU Member States (Austria, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom). It also addresses the extent to which housing allowances benefit individuals and households lower down the income scale.

EEPOW Kick-Off in Vienna

The Posting of Workers in Eastern Europe (EEPOW) Project had its Kick-Off event in Vienna, Austria on the 27 and 28 February 2018. The project brought together eight partners and three associated partners, four from EU member states (Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia) and four candidate countries from the Western Balkans (Albania, FYROM, Montenegro, Serbia). The project aims to proactively address the issue of posting of workers at its pre-accession stage by assisting the participating candidate countries in assessing their needs on the implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive and building their capacities for the implementation of the Directive when it becomes applicable. It does so through various activities on mutual learning, information exchange, cooperation and research among the partner organizations and the targeted national and transnational stakeholders. The Kick-Off was followed by the first Steering Group Meeting of the Project.

OSH E-Observatory launched

In a world of continuous globalization, with companies and organizations deploying more and more workers across borders, it is essential to provide information about the labor field, posted workers, rules and general updates concerning the safety and health of posted workers in the EU.

The purpose of the e-Observatory, developed under the 'Depicting the existing and future challenges in assuring decent working conditions and wellbeing of workers in hazardous sectors (POOSH)' project, VS/2016/0224, is to collect and enhance relevant information for stakeholders (posted workers, employers, competent public authorities, trade unions, employers' associations, NGOs), researchers and media about the overlooked issue of OSH in the context of posting abroad to provide services.

The OSH e-Observatory presents

  • information and evidence-based analysis of data on occupational safety and health of posted workers in the EU;
  • information on OSH related campaigns and events;
  • information from the European Commission, with links to relevant web pages;
  • information on competent national public authorities, European institutions and supporting organizations. 

Expert-level Workshop in the Western Balkans: 29-31 January 2018, Belgrade

The European Centre commissioned by the UNDP conducted an expert-level Workshop regarding 'Integrated case management in the Western Balkans'. During the 3-days lasting workshop in Belgrade (29 January - 31 January 2018), the European Centre informed on user-centred approaches for vulnerable and hard-to-employ groups (for public employment and social welfare services). To achieving inclusive labour markets that leave no one behind, the European Centre created a mutual learning and collective rethinking environment for policymakers and civil servants. The workshop showcased good practices and common trends on service delivery in the region and it contributed to the following outcomes:

  • It enabled national policymakers to collectively think and envisage macro (policy), meso (organizational) and micro (beneficiary) level implications of potential case management practices in their own countries.
  • It stimulated practical ideas concerning partnership modalities that will ensure effective and efficient implementation of case management and of local inclusive labour markets vision at large.
  • It ensured convergence towards EU and global good practice enhanced through peer learning and support.
  • It instigated cross-country policy dialogue to help innovate applications to tackle the employment of vulnerable groups and foster inclusive labour markets.

Book chapter on 'Unions and migrant workers: The perspective of Estonians in Finland and Albanians in Italy and Greece'

In their book chapter 'Unions and Migrant Workers: The Perspective of Estonians in Finland and Albanians in Italy and Greece', as part of Reconstructing Solidarity: Labour Unions, Precarious Work, and the Politics of Institutional Change in Europe edited by Virginia Doellgast, Nathan Lillie, and Valeria Pulignano, and published by Oxford University Press, the authors Sonila Danaj, Erka Caro, Laura Mankki, Markku Sippola, and Nathan Lillie examine the relationship of migrant workers with trade unions. Based on a series of biographic interviews of migrant workers, they argue that when migrants join unions, it is usually a result of an individual movement out of precarious and sometimes informal work into secure, formal work relations with strong trade union workplace presence. Although in all three countries, the migrants were quite passive and instrumentalist in their relations to unions, they nonetheless generally joined when working in unionized contexts, as a way of conforming to workplace norms.

Germany’s latest reforms of the long-term care system

This Peer Review provided an occasion to compare the latest German reforms in the area of long-term care to other Member States’ policies. German stakeholders presented an overview of good practices and to experts representing twelve other Member States, while these presented their responses to similar challenges. Ricardo Rodrigues contributed with his Thematic Discussion Paper to setting the scene. The paper outlines the policy context as well as similarities and differences in national approaches to expanding access to affordable care, to developing services in the community and to better integration of health and long-term care.

Gudrun Bauer and Kai Leichsenring moderated the discussions as part of the Mutual Learning Team that produced a short report with key policy messages of this Peer Review.     

Book chapter on ‘Income poverty in the EU: what do we actually measure? Empirical evidence on choices, underlying assumptions and implications’

In their book chapter, published in Reducing Inequalities by Palgrave, Orsolya Lelkes and Katrin Gasior highlight the methodological and normative assumptions beyond the ‘lead’ indicator of poverty and show the actual empirical implications of these. What is the significance of the specific poverty threshold chosen? What does it imply for cross-country comparison? They discuss the issue of poverty monitoring over time and make a case for the use of the poverty rate with a threshold ‘anchored in time’, and demonstrate the significance of this choice with country-specific evidence. The chapter concludes with data on the situation of migrants, indicating that social disparities within a particular country are of specific relevance in the use of this indicator. The analysis is based on EU-SILC data from the years 2005–2014.

New research article published in EuroHealth on inequality and inequity in the use of long-term care in Europe

The latest Eurohealth issue focused on Access to care in Europe, includes the Eurohealth Observer original article by Ricardo Rodrigues, Stefania Ilinca and Andrea E. Schmidt on “Inequality and inequity in the use of long-term care services in Europe: is there reason for concern?”. Drawing on data and results from previous European Centre research (Ilinca et al., 2017; Rodrigues et al., 2017), the authors discuss the differences between 14 European countries in the use of long-term care services across income groups. There is little evidence of inequity in the use of formal care services across Europe. However, poorer individuals disproportionately use informal care, even after accounting for differential care needs. To find out which countries fare better in targeting long-term care services to people living at home and what are the implications of inequalities in formal and informal care for European long-term care systems, click here.

Are you interested in reading more on this topic? Further relevant links:
Fairness and Eligibility to Long-Term Care: An Analysis of the Factors Driving Inequality and Inequity in the Use of Home Care for Older Europeans
Gender and social class inequalities in active ageing
Analysing equity in the use of long-term care in Europe - Research note 9/2014 by Ricardo Rodrigues, Stefania Ilinca, Andrea Schmidt (2014)