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Chapter

12. Employment Policy  

Between Efficacy and Experimentation

Martin Rhodes

This chapter focuses on the European Union’s employment policy, which is currently formulated and implemented via several parallel modes of policy-making, including the standard Community method of legislating and a softer mode of policy-making and innovation via the European Employment Strategy (EES). The chapter begins with a discussion of the three modes of policy-making and governance in European employment policy that have been developed since the 1960s: the mode of legislated ‘rights’, based on the classical Community method; the mode of ‘law via collective agreement’; and a ‘new’ mode of governance, using the open method of coordination. It then considers employment policy-making before the Treaty of Amsterdam and employment policy innovations post-Amsterdam. It also examines social and employment vs economic rights in EU law and concludes with an assessment of future prospects for EU employment policy.

Chapter

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter defends the radical view that the state should legally require all parents to take a substantial period of parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child. Though extreme, this strikes the right balance between advancing gender equality and respecting other considerations relating to the family. The chapter begins by identifying the various ways in which the current distribution of paid employment and household work is gendered, showing how women and men tend to play different roles in these domains. It then explains how different kinds of parental leave schemes can challenge the gendered division of labour, criticizing those that are likely to reproduce the current pattern of paid employment and household work. The chapter argues for schemes that encourage a more equal division of labour between women and men. It also discusses the implications of the chapter’s conclusions for the design of parental leave schemes and for the broader landscape in which these policies are nested.

Chapter

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter defends basic income. This policy requires the state to make regular cash payments to each member of society, irrespective of their other income or wealth, or willingness to find employment. It starts by describing three effects of basic income. The first is that it will raise the incomes of the least advantaged. The second is that it will protect against the threats of exploitation and abuse. The third is that it will remove one obstacle to finding employment. The chapter then explains the significance of these effects by drawing on ideas about distributive justice, emphasizing the relevance of John Rawls’s justice as fairness and Elizabeth Anderson’s democratic equality. It also considers the claim that basic income should be rejected because it would require the state to interfere with the lives of those who would be taxed to fund it, arguing that it is a mistake to oppose taxation in such a wholesale way. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the economic sustainability of basic income.

Chapter

This chapter describes the issue of unemployment and ways of making a living. Rather than simply being characterized by unemployment, in less developed areas work is often characterized by its complexity and diversity. The level of complexity is arguably increasing as all around the world there has been an increase in the diversity of ways of making a living, with more part-time wage work, more self-employed, and informal activities, and more flexible work systems. Often, rather than people being unemployed, a major issue is that many work extremely hard but at levels of low productivity, receiving low financial recompense, and thus remaining in relative poverty. They require opportunities for better quality and better remunerated work. Understanding of policy issues is improved by applying the concepts of commodity and subsistence production, reproduction, and waged and unwaged work, as well as an appreciation of how ways of making a living combine these types of work.