Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WorkYP (Working, Yet Poor)
Reporting period: 2020-02-01 to 2021-03-31
Attenuating divergent trends across Europe will effectively prevent the risk of social dumping and reduce economic shocks. Only tackling vertically the vulnerabilities of VUPs and attenuating inequalities across diverging regimes will grant EU citizens, mostly those who do not circulate, regaining confidence in public governance and substantiating their citizenry’s status.
Each local unit is composed by experts in labour law, social security, industrial relations, economics, sociology, social rights, and poverty in general. One of the main features of the project is that such expertise is combined in the understanding of in-work poverty and in the elaboration of policy proposals. Luxembourg has nowadays one of the highest in-work at-risk-of poverty rates in the EU (13.5% in 2018), the second highest in EU. In the same period, Belgium had 5.2 Germany 9.1 Italy 12.2 The Netherlands 6.1 Poland 9.7 and Sweden 7.0. We centred the WorkYP Project on the idea of VUP: in contrast to VIP (i.e. very important people), we minted the VUP acronym, which stands for Vulnerable and Under-represented Persons.
In each of the mentioned Country, we identified four clusters of particularly VUPs, which disadvantaged conditions impede full enjoyment of EU citizenship:
a) low wage workers
b) solo self-employed
c) flexible work contracts (fixed-term, agency work, involuntary part-time)
d) casual/zero-hours/gig-economy workers
The research intuition is that only tackling vertically the vulnerabilities of those VUP groups will grant citizens, mostly those who do not circulate, regaining confidence in public governance and substantiating their citizenry’s status. The impact of the WorkYP project is not limited to a deeper theoretical and practical understanding of those phenomena, but includes public debate initiation, policy recommendations both to the EU and the national legislators, and practical tools such as a “GoodJob!” certificate, to be granted to those employers who respect certain levels of working conditions. The overall message is that income inequality affects economic stability and social cohesion. The rise of in-work poverty is one of the elements to take into account when addressing income inequality.
We made sure that the website and social media were attractive and up to date, to approach to the target groups and to exchange knowledge and experiences with similar projects around the Europe. With the aim of better presenting the project, we prepared a brochure which contains all relevant information about the consortium, project topic and main objectives.
Another important goal of the Project is to raise awareness on the topic of in-work poverty among academics, lawmakers and general public. The Project is still in its initial stage, but it has already produced some interesting results. In the assessments of indicators to measure in-work poverty the limitations of the existing tools have been highlighted. This limitations may be specially important in some particular cases (as, for instance, for Luxembourg). The idea that the existing indicators may be further refined is becoming clear. In next stages, the Project aims at elaborating structured and target oriented regulatory proposals to fight in-work poverty at national and EU level. If these proposals may influence the ongoing debates and initiatives, the impact of the Project would be substantial. The findings of the Project will also help to articulate a discourse on European social citizenship that may be useful to reinforce the image and legitimacy of the EU, strengthening citizen's trust in the European integration project.