A Country's Welfare System's Influence On Patterns Of Part Time Work

3546 words - 14 pages

A Country's Welfare System's Influence on Patterns of Part Time Work

Introduction

Since the 1970's, and particularly in the 1980's, there has been a
rapid expansion of part time employment in all OECD countries.
Universal trends in part time work can be seen across countries: it is
often associated with marginal employment; its expansion has coincided
with a period of industrial restructuring and a growing presence of
women in the labour market. In 1994, women accounted for 70 per cent
of part timers in twelve of the fifteen EU states. Therefore, the
gender dimension is a key concept for understanding part time work
(Smith, Fagan and Rubery, 1998). There are many areas of this
phenomenon that can be researched, such as why is it so bound by
gender, what different types of part timers there are and what
conditions will cause it to change. One area of research is how an
economy's welfare state affects part time working and the degree to
which they affect part time working patterns. How influential are the
other factors that alter labour patterns in an economy? By looking at
the effects of welfare state on patterns of part time working, both in
theory and at practice in the UK and the Netherlands, and then
considering arguments against, the conclusion that welfare state
policies greatly affect part time working is reached.

The Influence of Welfare State System

Esping-Andersen seems to support the view that welfare state policies
play a very large influence. They state that today, firm's are- at
least in many countries- unable to rationalise and shed labour without
recourse to the welfare state, whether through early retirement,
unemployment or active manpower policies. For the worker, the decision
to quit, retire or change jobs is similarly guided by the menu of
social policy. The decisions of women (who now begin to approach half
of the total labour force in some nations) to enter the labour force
are even more intimately patterned by the welfare state, in terms of
its service delivery (child care), transfer system (ability to utilise
the option of absenteeism), tax system (ability to utilise the option
of absenteeism), tax system and its labour demand (social welfare
jobs). Different welfare states influence not only the rate of the
rate of growth of services, but also the relative emphasis on
social-welfare activities as opposed to personal services; they
influence the skill and occupational composition of the labour force;
and they influence the distribution of jobs by gender and race/ethnic
background (Esping-Andersen 1990).

When comparing the impact of welfare state effects on part time
working, it is possible to identify three types of welfare states.
This is the liberal, where state plays a minimal role, family and
market roles are emphasised, an example being...

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