|Index of Volumes|
|VOLUME 140, NUMBER 1||2001/1|
Equality and empowerment for decent work
Legal instruments currently embody a variety of conceptions of equality. While formal equality typically carries negative duties (e.g. non-discrimination), the concept of substantive equality embodies three overlapping approaches -- equality of results, equality of opportunity and equality of human dignity -- which entail positive duties to promote equality. These three approaches, Hepple argues, lie at the heart of the ILO's concept of decent work. To implement substantive equality, he proposes an incremental approach -- from reliance on voluntary initiative to penalties for non-compliance -- which depends crucially on the active participation of all stakeholders and, therefore, on the empowerment of the disadvantaged groups themselves.
Pension reform in central and eastern Europe: Emerging issues and patterns
Elaine FULTZ and Markus RUCK
The countries of central and eastern Europe are trying different approaches to restructuring their pension systems against a general background of political changes, acute financial constraints and, often, lack of tripartite consensus. Though the process still has a long way to go before its definitive outcomes can be assessed, the authors identify a number of emerging patterns and common difficulties in the two main avenues of reform, namely, privatization and restructuring of the existing public schemes. Their comprehensive discussion covers the economic impact of transition on the pre-existing pension systems, demographic projections, and the financial and institutional aspects of reform.
Redundancy, business flexibility and workers' security: Findings of a comparative European survey
Marie-Laure MORIN and Christine VICENS
Highlighting the conflict between economic and social rationales, dismissal on economic grounds lies at the heart of the debate on ensuring security in people's working lives because it exposes the most vulnerable workers to the risk of long-term unemployment and, hence, social exclusion. This comparative study of redundancy in Europe shows how legal provisions, business practices and government action can all contribute towards countering that risk. In spelling out the responsibilities of each of the actors in the redundancy process, the authors underscore the need for complementarity between employment protection within enterprises and job-search support in the labour market.
Job subsidies and cuts in employers' social security contributions:
This article assembles findings from empirical evaluation studies of the effects of employment subsidies or reductions in employers' social security contributions aimed at stimulating recruitment of long-term unemployed persons and other vulnerable groups. Most suggest the net employment effects are modest to slight. The measured effects are consistently much lower than what most theoretical models and simulations predict, even under relatively pessimistic assumptions, mainly because of deadweight losses and, to a lesser extent, substitution effects. The available studies indicate that the impact of subsidies on beneficiaries' careers is limited, and possibly negative, except if coupled with training and job counselling.
Gender, women and all the rest (Part II)
Recent research on the topic of "men and masculinities" is contributing to a fuller understanding of gender, not as a property of individuals but as an integral component of social orders. Inequalities between women and men thus need to be seen in the broader context of social justice failures that determine the socio-economic situations in which gender is enacted. The second instalment of this Perspective reviews these and other important insights, including critiques of the legal concept of equality, which suggest a need for a new policy framework for promoting equality in the lives that women and men really lead.