Working-Time Changes

Working-Time Changes

Social Integration Through Transitional Labour Markets

Labour Markets and Employment Policy series

Edited by Jacqueline O’Reilly, Inmaculada Cebrián and Michel Lallement

Drawing on both quantitative longitudinal panel study data and qualitative case study material, the authors (whose expertise is drawn from the fields of economics, sociology and law) provide an original perspective on the nature and implications of Transitional Labour Markets in Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Britain, Germany, France and The Netherlands.

Chapter 5: Moving up or moving out? Transitions through part-time employment in Britain and Germany

Silke Bothfeld and Jacqueline O’Reilly

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, labour policy


1 Silke Bothfeld and Jacqueline O’Reilly* A central issue underlying the concept of transitional labour markets is that moving between different employment statuses can lead to social integration rather than exclusion. In this chapter we assess the extent to which part-time work provides an integrating bridge for those outside the labour market in Britain and Germany. Structural divisions in a given labour market can have a significant effect on transitions between different forms of paid and unpaid activity. The transitional labour market approach focuses directly on policies that seek to weaken the barriers and differences between core and secondary employment, or between those inside and outside the labour market. The underlying assumption behind this approach is that transitions between standard, full-time employment and other employment statuses or non-activity should be encouraged rather than penalized (Schmid 1998; Chapter 1 in this volume). Transitions between different working-time arrangements could facilitate or maintain labour market integration. However, it is not transitions per se, rather the quality of transitions, that count. This means that the impact of transitions needs to be seen in relation to the policy institutions that support or discourage them (Chapter 2 in this volume). This idea points to the need for adapting benefit systems to discontinuous working careers. Schmid (1998, pp. 16–17) outlines four major characteristics required to support integrative working-time transitions. These include individual empowerment through infrastructural support, for example childcare provision; sustainable employment and income to guarantee an adequate income in times of reduced economic...

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