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The Active Social Policy Agenda: An OECD Perspective Paper for the European Regional Meeting of the International Social Security Association , Oslo, 15 - 16 May 2007. Peter Whiteford Social Policy Division, OECD Peter.Whiteford@oecd.org. Outline. Why is active social policy on the agenda?
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The Active Social Policy Agenda: An OECD PerspectivePaper for the European Regional Meeting of the International Social Security Association, Oslo, 15 - 16 May 2007
Social Policy Division, OECD
A further complicating factor – widening market income inequalities mean the welfare state has to work more effectivelyGini coefficient for household earnings
The potentially mobilisable labour force varies in compositionExcess inactivity and unemployment as % of population 15 to 64, except students
Reliance on benefits has increased% of working age population in receipt of income replacement benefits, full-time equivalents, 1980 and 2004
More than one in five persons of working age are reliant on benefits in many European countries% of working age population in receipt of income replacement benefits, full-time equivalents, 2004
Pension reform to cut implicit tax on working Restrict other early retirement pathways Better options for phased retirement
Change employer practices
Suitable training opportunities at all agesBetter help for older jobseekersSafe & healthy working conditions
Tackle age discriminationAlign labour costs with productivity Protect employment opportunities not jobs
Ensure greater neutrality in work-retirement choices
Reduce early retirement options
Beyond neutrality – actively promote participation
Tackle negative employer attitudes
Align labour costs closer to productivity
Focus on enhancing employability of older workers rather than on job protection
Ensure older unemployed are actively seeking work in exchange for better employment services
Encourage greater take-up of training
Improve the work environment
Public incapacity- and unemployment-related cash spending in % of GDP, 2003
Source: : OECD (2007, forthcoming), Social Expenditure Database, Paris (www.oecd.org/els/social/expenditure)
Disability benefit recipients in % of the working-age population
Source: : OECD (2003, 2006 and 2007, forthcoming)
Growth in numbers of people receiving disability benefits has been worryingly rapidTrends in receipt of disability benefits, OECD countries, 1980 = 100
Annual rates of outflow from disability benefits, 1999 (percentages)
Trends in disability policies in the OECD areaA generalised change in “philosophy” – but country approaches and implementations differ greatly
Child poverty is an increasing problem in Europe % of children in households with incomes less than 50% of equivalent medianPreliminary figures
Worklessness among families with children is a particular problem in some countriesJobless households as percentage of all households with children
Higher female employment is key to reducing child poverty Percentage point reduction in child poverty rate through reforms to reduce joblessness and increase share of two-earner couples to level of third-best performing countries
Policy approaches: the mix of policy objectives on which family-friendly policy is based
Prime age women (25-54), and older workers (55-64), constitute the largest demographic groups of non-employed persons who could be mobilised. Raising their participation is of key importance.
A significant proportion of non-active women say they would like to have a job (more than 17% of non-active women aged 25-54 in 2001, on average over 19 European countries).
In many OECD countries, 80% or more of non-employed women are not actively looking for a job. Standard policies aimed at fighting unemployment are not enough to increase significantly women’s employment rate.
Low educational attainment increases the probability of being non-employed, for women as well as for men. But there are more inequalities related to education in the female labour market.
In Germany 79% of women with university or tertiary education are in employment compared to 43% of women with less than upper secondary education. The education/employment gap relative to men is twice as wide for low skilled women as for highly educated women (18% and 8%).
Non-employment, particularly among lone mothers leads very often to poverty and child poverty.
Non-employment can contribute to poverty in old age.Raising women’s employment rates could help to meet demographic challenges and improve social outcomes
There is no single model that fits all countries. Key elements include: