Employment & Labour Market Issues



Coordinator : Prof. Dr. Ive Marx


The central research question in this domain is how socially adequate income protection can be reconciled with efficient employment policy. Examples are the analysis of unemployment programmes or of changes in the labour market (such as a decreasing demand for low-skilled labour) in function of (minimum) income protection and poverty(prevention); research on the impact of suspensions and sanctions in unemployment insurance on poverty and reintegration, on the social impact of tax cuts, on unemployment traps, on the function of time credit as an employment, early leave and care arrangement, et cetera.



Employment and Poverty in a Changing Society (EMPOV)


Duration: 15/02/2012 - 30/09/2015
Funding: Federal Science Policy
Promoter: Gerlinde Verbist

This research project analyses the relationship between demographic developments, the labour market and social inclusion outcomes. We focus on those demographic groups that have difficulties in finding employment, and hence face an increased poverty risk. The project is structured along three work packages, each dealing with one of the items specified in the call. The main research questions are:

1) Will employment growth lead to a decrease in poverty? Which policy options can lead to better employment and poverty outcomes for the population in general and for specific demographic groups?
2) What are the drivers of labour market behaviour of women older than 50?
3) How can we explain the employment and poverty gap between non-EU migrants and natives? What are potential policy options to reduce these gaps?



Minimum income protection and alternatives to the Socio-Professional Integration-exemption (SPI-exemption) of means of existence


Duration: 22/12/2009 – 30/04/2010 + 15/10/2011 – 25/10/2011
Funding: King Baudouin Foundation
Promoters: Bea Cantillon & Natascha Van Mechelen
Researchers: Kristel Bogaerts


To make the transition from social assistance to (part time) work financially attractive, current Belgian regulations foresee that when an entitlement to social assistance is calculated, an exemption is made for income from work or professional education. This system is called the Socio-Professional Integration-exemption (SPI). Among others due to its lump-sum character, the SPI system faces a few challenges. The project analyses inactivity traps for recipients of minimum income protection. It calculates the difference in net income in the case of unemployment, part-time work and full-time work for a couple of household types. Additionally, it simulates for the same household types net income on the basis of alternative systems of SPI – exemption. The French, Dutch and German exemptions of labour income for minimum income beneficiaries serve as the basis of the calculations. We examine the impact these alternatives systems would have on the income of minimum income beneficiaries in Belgium in case they would replace the Belgian SPI-system.



Research regarding hiring without hindrance: Fighting poverty for people with an atypical curriculum


Duration: 01/02/2009 - 30/06/2010
Funding: COCOM
Promoter: Bea Cantillon
Researchers: Greet Verbergt


Gaps in the chronological composition of curricula vitae can be a major barrier to career development. Despite all support measures and “comprehensive approach” policies people with an atypical curriculum (in the sense of gaps in their curriculum over time) often have a hard time finding a job. Especially when a gap cannot be explained by a socially accepted activity such as training, the situation becomes problematic. People in such situations are therefore often forced to rely on structural unemployment or a job in the sector of social employment. This research project aims to map this problem and to formulate recommendations.



Work incapacity and early Retirement in Flanders


Duration: 01/01/2009 – 31/12/2012
Funding: Flemish Research Foundation (FWO Vlaanderen)
Promoter: Bea Cantillon
Researchers: Pieter Vandenbroucke, Leen Meeusen, Annemie Nys


The research project aims to explore how work incapacity fits into early retirement schemes in Flanders. It also aims to compare the Flemish situation with that in other welfare state regimes. It intends to set out in search of substitution effects between different early exit mechanisms and to find explanations for early retirement patterns in Flanders. Factors such as health, demographic evolutions and employer characteristics are taken into consideration. The project is innovative in two respects. First, there is a lack of research on disability in Flanders. In view of population ageing and low labour participation special attention on the interaction between disability and early retirement is required. Second, the project’s methodology is innovative as a coupled employee-employer database is being used as well as the data of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).

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