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TitleElderly women living alone
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Total Pages149
Table of Contents
pe519 219_en_inside.pdf
		1.1 Research approach
		1.2  Content of the study
		2.1 Demographic trends and the increase in elderly women living alone
		2.2 Trends in living conditions and poverty risks among elderly women living alone
			2.2.1 Health conditions
			2.2.2  Adequacy of income
			2.2.3 The risk of poverty
			2.2.4 Quality of life
		2.3 Concluding remarks
		3.1 Main features of current pension systems and recent reform trends
		3.2 Gender effects of pension reforms and women living alone
			3.2.1 The closer link between contributions and benefits
			3.2.2 The increase and equalization in retirement age
			3.2.3 The move towards a multi-pillar systems
			3.2.4 The role of public minimum pension schemes
			3.2.5 Pension care credits
			3.2.6 Provisions for atypical workers
			3.2.7 The role of derived pension benefits
		3.3 Concluding remarks
		4.1 Recent trends in active ageing, training and labour market policies and their expected effects on women living alone
			4.1.1 Measures to improve employability for the elderly
			4.1.2 Extending working life
			4.1.3 Working conditions and equal opportunities
			4.1.4 Training and lifelong learning for elderly workers
			4.1.5 Other active ageing practices and policies
		4.2 Labour market integration and social inclusion policies
			4.2.1 Labour market integration
			4.2.2 Social inclusion policies
		4.3  Examples of good practices in active ageing policies
			4.3.2 Training, qualification and new technologies for the ageing workforce
			4.3.3 Intergenerational solidarity and Housing policies
			4.3.4 Measures to improve elderly-friendly public spaces, mobility and avoid social isolation
			4.3.5 Meeting places and voluntarism
		4.4 Concluding remarks
		5.1 Recent Trends in Labour Market and Living Conditions of Women Living Alone
		5.2 Recent Policy Changes affecting women living alone
			5.2.1 Pension reforms
			5.2.2 Labour market and active ageing policies
		5.3 Policy implications
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Page 74

Policy Department C: Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs

4.2 Labour market integration and social inclusion policies

Potential obstacles to careers, in turn aggravating living conditions for women, may lie in

an inflexible access to the labour market or interrupted work paths, women's more limited

participation in training and lifelong initiatives, together with their family and care-giving

duties, and the the socio-economic position of disadvantaged groups and vulnerable

individuals on the labour market.

Labour market integration and social inclusion policies can also affect the condition of

elderly women living alone especially when they are still in a working age. To this end, this

section looks into the kinds of policies that target people still in working age, and

women in particular.

4.2.1 Labour market integration

In order to address these major challenges in the labour market, the Swedish Government

has introduced employment policy reforms (see the Swedish Reform Programme for Growth

and Jobs 2006–2008 and 2008–2010; the progress reports for 2007 and 2009, Sweden's

National Reform Programme 2011; the labour market package included in the Budget Bill

for 2012)

. With the labour market package, the Government aims to improve the Public

Employment Service, promoting ‘stronger support and mediation for those at risk of long-

term unemployment, better monitoring of job-seeking activities and higher quality and

activities in the special employment support mechanism and the job guarantee for young

people’ (NRP, 2012, p. 19). More specifically, the special employment support mechanism,

a sort of subsidised employment, was reinforced in 2011 and 2012 and extended through

to 2013. Even if not specifically addressed to elderly women (even if still in

working age), subsidized employment can be seen as a form of protection for the

higher percentage of elderly women at risk of poverty.

Regarding the recent labour market policies in UK, in January 2014 new regulations on

Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) came into

effect updating the 2006 regulations. TUPE rules aimed to protect employees’ rights when

the business in which they work changes hands, implementing the EU Acquired Rights

Directive (2001/23/EC). The TUPE new regulations intend to make employees’ terms and

conditions easier in a transfer scenario. It is also important to mention that in April 2014

the UK statutory discrimination questionnaires were abolished and replaced with an

informal process. In 2011, Germany introduced ‘The Act to Improve the Chances of

Integration in the Labour Market’ designed with the goal ‘to make better use of the

resources available and secondly, to expedite integration into gainful employment,

particularly in jobs that require the payment of social security contributions’ (NRP 2012, p.

27). Among labour market measures that can have an impact on skilled women there is the

Skilled Workers Strategy (June 2011). Skill-development and Integration and qualified

immigration are among the areas of intervention


In order to reduce the high number of long term unemployed people, the Federal Ministry

of Labour and Social Affairs announced in 2014 the initiative ‘Creating opportunities –

ensuring social integration. Concept on reducing long- term unemployment’. Moreover, with

77 To consider the ‘reforms to encourage labour force participation by older people and to improve opportunities
for older unemployed people to stay in the labour market [and the reduction] of the qualifying time for a “new
start” job has been temporarily shortened from twelve to six months for people who have turned’ (NRP 2012, p.

78 See the amendment of the immigration law and the key priorities of the National Action Plan.


Page 75

Elderly women living alone: an update of their living conditions

its G20 Employment Plan 2014, the Federal Government promoted participation of

women in the labour market beyond part-time work, by developing better

childcare facilities and working time arrangements to help them to balance work

and family life (Employment Plan 2014 Germany).

In Italy, women’s inadequate access to and discontinuous presence in the labour market is

partly due to the gender imbalance in the distribution of care duties and the lack of services

for the elderly, associated with regional disparities in terms of quality of services provided.

On December 3, 2014, Parliament approved Law 183/2014 – the so-called 'Jobs Act' which

aims to foster greater flexibility in the Italian labour market. The measures of the Act

include new unemployment benefits, introduction of a new type of permanent employment

contract with rising protections against unfair dismissal (Contratto a Tutele Crescenti), new

rules governing the demotion of workers, new forms of motherhood and parenthood

protection and review of the regulations of work system remote control. However, the

abolishment of these contractual forms currently covers a total of more than 500.000

people, with a large share of women between 30 and 39 years of age.

As for the recent labour market measures in France, it is worth mentioning the ‘Secure

Employment Law’ adopted by the French Parliament in June 2013. This law is intended to

provide greater security and flexibility for businesses, but also new guarantees for

employees. However, as highlighted in the Commission's country report, this law ‘has not

enabled the trends towards increased labour-market segmentation to be reversed’


Indeed, the French labour market is marked by a significant segmentation ‘between steady

but shorter open-ended contracts and fixed-term contracts accounting for an increasing

share of new hires’.

4.2.2 Social inclusion policies

Improvement of the labour market situation for groups with relatively weak positions

(people with relatively short education, foreign-born people and older people who are at

greater risk of long spells of unemployment) and reduced exclusion are some of the policy

challenges for Sweden. Targeting refugees arriving in the country and their families is the

‘Introduction Act’ implemented in Sweden. The act provides a series of measures (such as

Swedish language courses for Immigrants, civic orientation and employment preparation

activities) supporting integration of the foreign born into working and community life. The

newly implemented Introduction Act reform has a clear impact on gender equality,

helping proportionally more foreign-born women to support themselves. The

reform includes the introduction of an individual social benefit that is not affected by other

household members’ incomes. It works as an incentive, for both women and men, to

participate - besides their introduction activities - in the labour market programme or

labour preparation activities (NRP 2012, pp. 22-23). A new set of measures to counteract

abuse of labour immigration regulations was introduced in August 2014. However, as

argued by the Commission, despite ‘the measures of recent years, Sweden has not

managed to significantly improve the employment situation of non-EU migrants, especially

among women, or to address the fact that many migrants with tertiary education are in

employment in low or medium-skilled jobs’


79 European Commission Staff Working Document, Country Report France 2015 p. 47.
80 European Commission Staff Working Document, Country Report Sweden 2015 p. 40.


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