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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2009): Social security - overseas

Extending social security to the excluded: are social cash transfers to the poor an appropriate way of fighting poverty in developing countries?

L. Leisering

Global Social Policy, vol.9, 2009, p. 246-272

Formal social security in the global South has long been centred on those employed in the formal sector, with an emphasis on social insurance. Coverage has not been extended to people in rural areas or those employed in the informal sector. A recent strategy to bring in these excluded groups relies of 'social cash transfers' (SCTs). These include non-contributory pensions and conditional cash transfers. This article traces the rise of SCT as a global issue, describes and classifies SCT in the global South, and inquires into its appropriateness in a development context.

The opinions of Finnish physicians on social security system

A. Saarinen

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 29, 2009, p. 426-440

A survey of 2,000 Finnish physicians shows that they are critical of the current social security system. They are more critical than other groups, but share the views of Finnish local government elites. They are especially willing to make cuts in unemployment benefits, which they are unlikely to need themselves as physicians are at no risk of being out of work. However, they do not support cuts in social services or healthcare.

Parental leave in the Netherlands

J. Plantenga and C. Remery

CESifo DICE Report, 2/2009, p. 47-51

The Act on Parental Leave of 1991 granted unpaid part-time parental leave for a maximum of six months to employees who had worked for their current employer for at least one year. It was left to the social partners to supplement this minimum entitlement in terms of length or income support. Over time, however, public responsibilities in relation to parental leave have increased, especially with regard to income support. Parental leave has changed from being a labour market instrument pure and simple, towards being a lever for the facilitation of parenthood and for the improvement of child wellbeing.

Social security and the global socio-economic floor: towards a human rights-based approach

W. van Ginnekan

Global Social Policy, vol. 9, 2009, p. 228-245

The establishment of a global socio-economic floor is one of the recent ideas put forward by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The ILO has defined this floor in terms of its core concerns about employment and social protection rights and social dialogue. This article investigates one of these core concerns, the right to social security. It begins by examining the right to social security within the overall human rights framework. It then reviews key global trends in the extension of social security, showing that many countries have already made great progress towards establishing a right to social security. It shows that a social security floor is affordable, including in low-income countries, with initial support from the international community. It finally explores how a global socio-economic floor could be better implemented through a human rights-based approach and reviews some recent initiatives undertaken by the UN Human Rights Council

Spatially informed knowledge translation: informing potential users of Canada's Compassionate Care Benefit

M. Giesbrecht and others

Social Science and Medicine, vol. 69, 2009, p. 411-419

The Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB) Program implemented in 2004 by the Canadian government aims to provide income assistance and job security to caregivers who take temporary leave from work to care for a terminally ill family member. Uptake has been low, due to a general lack of awareness of the programme's existence. This research used an innovative three step mixed-method analysis to identify: 1) who likely CCB-eligible family caregivers are; 2) where their households are located; and 3) how best to get information about CCB to them. Melding the findings from the three steps generates a tailored path from which an information dissemination strategy can be guided.

Work-family policies, participation and practices: fathers and childcare in Europe

E. Fox, G. Pascall and T. Warren

Community, Work and Family, vol. 12, 2009, p. 313-326

European work-family policies increasingly support the notion that men and women should be able to engage in both work and care-giving. In some European countries, especially Sweden, reform has given fathers non-transferable rights to parental leave. However, in the UK gender inequalities in policy are stark: parental leave systems assume -through maternity leaves - mothers' responsibility for care, while seeing fathers' care as a question of individual choice. This article explores the impact of social policies on fathers' experience of, and commitment to, work and family reconciliation.

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