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Welfare Reform on the Web - January 2001: Social security - overseas

CURING THE DUTCH DISEASE? SICKNESS ABSENCE AND WORK DISABILITY IN THE NETHERLANDS

S. Geurts, M. Kompier and R. Gründemann

International Social Security Review, vol. 53, no. 4, 2000, p. 79-103

The Dutch government has made various attempts over the past decade to reduce expenditure on sick pay and disablement benefits for workers by increasing the (financial) responsibility of employers. Article concludes that these legislative changes have not had long-lasting effects on sickness absence and work disability rates. Employers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, often buy minimum service packages from occupational health services, show risk avoiding behaviour and primarily undertake procedural and person-oriented measures.

GERMANY'S LONG-TERM-CARE INSURANCE: PUTTING A SOCIAL INSURANCE MODEL INTO PRACTICE

M. Geraedts, G. V. Heller and C. A. Harrington

Milbank Quarterly, vol. 78, 2000, p. 375-401

In response to an ageing population, Germany put into effect a Long-Term Care Insurance Act in 1995 that introduced mandatory public or private insurance for the entire population. People in the public system and their employers each pay contributions equal to 0.85% of each employee's gross salary. Ten per cent of the population with the highest income have elected to purchase private insurance, Provisions were made for uniform eligibility criteria, benefits based on level of care needs, cost containment and quality assurance, Over the first four years of its operation, the system has proved financially sound and has expanded access to long-term care services.

SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEMS IN LOW INCOME COUNTRIES: CONCEPTS, CONSTRAINTS AND THE NEED FOR CO-OPERATION

J. Jütting

International Social Security Review, vol. 53, no. 4, 2000, p. 3-24

Paper describes existing social security systems in developing countries and analyses their institutional strengths and weaknesses. It identifies four main providers of social security, namely the State, the market, member-based organisations and private households. Given that all four providers have different strengths and weaknesses, proposes a partnership between then to develop social security systems.

SOLIDARITY AND TENSION BETWEEN AGE-GROUPS IN THE UNITED STATES: CHALLENGE FOR AN AGEING AMERICA IN THE 21ST CENTURY

M. Silverstein et al

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 9, 2000, p. 270-284

Using national survey data, authors examine the extent to which Americans' view of public responsibility for the aged has shifted between the mid-1980s and the late-1990s, a period characterised by the intensification of "generational politics" and a growing distrust of "big government". Results indicate that the public has generally grown more apprehensive about the value and costs of government programmes serving both the elderly and the poor. Yet the fact that the state pension scheme enjoys far more support than social programmes serving the poor suggests that the elderly are perceived as more deserving of their benefits than other dependent groups in society. The public also appears to be increasingly reluctant to redistribute old age benefits according to need. Results suggest that growing distrust of government and reluctance to help the poor has indirectly fuelled opposition to public spending on older people.

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