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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2003): Social Security - Overseas

CHILDREN AND SOCIAL SECURITY

J Bradshaw

Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2003 (International Studies on Social Security, vol. 8)

Discussing issues such as international comparative studies of child poverty, financial benefit packages for children and aspects of social security provision for families with children, this book brings together research from the US, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand.

LEAVE ARRANGEMENTS AND CHILDCARE SERVICES IN CENTRAL EUROPE: POLICIES AND PRACTICES BEFORE AND AFTER TRANSITION

J Kococourkova

Community, Work and Family, vol. 5, 2002, p.301-318

The transition process occurring during the 1990s in central Europe showed many similarities across the region. But the emergence of national, cultural and religious identities has led to diversification of family support policies. There has been a tendency to return to the male breadwinner model of family functioning. Priority has been given to improvements in parental leave, while state expenditure on childcare services has declined dramatically. Male participation in parental leave schemes has remained negligible.

LEAVE ARRANGEMENTS FOR PARENTS: OVERVIEW AND FUTURE OUTLOOK

F Deven and P Moss

Community, Work and Family, vol. 5, 2002, p.237-255

Reviews current policies and recent developments in statutory parental leave arrangements in the EU, Central and Eastern Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. There is complete coverage across Europe for paid maternity leave and paid or unpaid parental leave. Paternity leave has an increasing presence, but is so far found in only a minority of European countries. Leave policy in the non-European countries lags behind Europe, with the exception of Canada. In Europe, parental leave policies remain ungenerous in terms of payment: where payment; exists it is either a low flat rate or a low proportion of normal earnings. The notable exceptions are Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Flexibility is widespread and growing. Options for part-time working and spreading leave over a longer period are developing.

SETTING ASIDE TIME FOR THE FATHER: FATHER'S LEAVE IN SCANDINAVIA

T Rostgaard

Community, Work and Family, vol. 5, 2002, p.343-364

Article looks at how the father's rights to leave are secured in paternity and parental leave legislation in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Finds that fatherhood and the modern father are important in Sweden, whereas the emphasis is on parenthood in Denmark and motherhood in Norway.

SHOULD JOB PROTECTION AND INCOME SUPPORT FOR NEW PARENTS BE SEPARATED? POLICY OPTIONS IN A US AND NEW ZEALAND CONTEXT

P Callister

Community, Work and Family, vol. 5, 2002, p.279-299

Both the USA and New Zealand have very flexible labour markets, and relatively strict eligibility criteria for job protection. This combination means that in both countries a significant proportion of workers do not qualify for job protection. Schemes that link paid parental leave to job protection eligibility mean that these workers would also be ineligible for income support for a period of leave. Over-represented among those most likely to miss out on paid leave are people in greatest need of such support.

WELFARE REFORMS, FAMILY RESOURCES AND CHILD MALTREATMENT

C Paxson and J Waldfogel

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 22, 2003, p.85-113

Paper uses state-level data from 1990 to 1998 to examine the impact of US welfare reforms on several measures of child maltreatment. Evidence strongly indicates that reductions in welfare benefit levels increase the number of children in out-of-home care. There is some evidence that strict lifetime welfare limits and tougher sanctions for non-compliance are related to higher levels of substantiated child maltreatment. Family caps appear to be associated with fewer instances of substantiated maltreatment, but more children in out-of-home care.

"WHEN FLEXIBILITY MEETS RIGIDITY": SOLE MOTHERS' EXPERIENCES IN THE TRANSITION FROM WELFARE TO WORK

M Baker and D Tippin

Journal of Sociology, vol. 38, 2002, p.345-360

Report of study based on interviews with 120 work-tested mothers on social benefits in New Zealand. Argues that, despite its constraining features, the welfare-to-work programme permits enough flexibility to enable the mothers to fulfil "work test" requirements while retaining caring roles. This flexibility can contrast sharply with their work experiences, where slightly higher income is traded for conformity to the rigidities of the labour market. Third, sole mothers' lack of resources and strongly held moral codes about "good mothering" make them vulnerable to work/family tensions but also less valued as employees.

WORKING THEIR WAY OUT OF POVERTY? SOLE MOTHERHOOD, WORK, WELFARE AND MATERIAL WELL-BEING

M Walter

Journal of Sociology, vol 38, 2002, p.361-380

Over the last 20 years, Australian social policy has increasingly focused on raising the labour market participation level of sole parents. The extension of mutual obligation to sole parents under welfare reform further concentrates this policy direction. Article uses data from the 1996/97 Negotiating the Lifecourse Project and three measures of material well-being to examine the relative importance of employment and partnered status to material well-being among sole and married mother households. The results indicate that increased market work may not lead to significantly higher rates of material well-being for sole mother families.

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