Alysia Blackham and Catherine Barnard
The growth in self-employment in EU Member States has the potential to fundamentally challenge the existing scope and implementation of welfare structures. In this chapter, drawing on insights from a gender-based analysis, we question the extent to which welfare provision extends to female ‘entrepreneurs’, as opposed to (dependent) ‘workers’. These results are compared with findings from an analysis of EU race equality law, particularly as it relates to social protection for the self-employed. We argue for a broad understanding of the term ‘self-employed worker’, so as to include the maximum number of workers possible within welfare structures. This may help to accommodate the new reality of work for many self-employed women but, as the British example shows, it comes with a price attached. We also flag the comparative neglect of issues of ethnicity as they relate to the self-employed at EU level, and consider why a racial lens is important for the future development of the welfare state.