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Sarah Marchal, Ive Marx and Gerlinde Verbist

This chapter provides an overview and discussion of the direct income support measures available to workers. Using model family simulations of the net income and income components of a single person and a lone-parent family, the authors assess the policy measures currently in place in the European Union (EU) member states and the United States to guarantee an income floor to working families: minimum wages, favourable tax and social insurance contribution conditions, and supportive benefits. They demonstrate that despite ample supportive direct income measures, net incomes at minimum wage are well below the EU at-risk-of-poverty threshold. Yet there has clearly been a tendency to implement direct income support measures that increase the net incomes of workers paid at or around the minimum wage. The authors discuss how direct income support measures, in particular personal income tax reliefs, social security reductions and different types of social benefits, can play a broader role in combating in-work poverty at large.