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Working, Yet Poor Project Kicks Off

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Publié le mardi 10 mars 2020

On Thursday, 5 March the Working, Yet Poor (WorkYP) Project kicked off in Luxembourg with a virtual welcome from EU commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit.

Commissioner Schmit told the participants that the recent EU Commission’s initiative on minimum wages “should improve the situation of the most vulnerable workers”, because “labour has to pay enough for the workers and their families to live decently”. Commissioner Schmit also appealed to the group of researchers, “In-work poverty is a complex topic, that’s why we need your crucial research to help us take the right course of action, one that helps every worker to live a dignified life”.

The kick-off meeting also featured a keynote speech, open to the public, by Professor Ive Marx of the University of Antwerp. Author and co-author of many publications on the topic of in-work poverty, Professor Marx is also co-editor of The Handbook of In-Work Poverty (2018). Professor Marx gave an overview of where in-work poverty research stands in Europe at the moment as well as how improvements can be made through policies such as the combination between an adequate minimum wage and an appropriate system of tax credits, including child benefits. It remains, however, that any optimal policy must be tailored to the context of the single country or region”.   

The WorkYP project brings together eleven different academic and institutional partners, including multi-disciplinary researchers from the University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg), University of Bologna (Italy), Tilburg University (The Netherlands), Goethe Universität Frankfurt (Germany), KU Leuven (Belgium), Lund University (Sweden), the University of Gdansk (Poland), Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands), and three social rights institutions, the European Social Observatory, the Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, and the European Anti-Poverty Network. This project also benefits from substantial public funding in the form of an EU Horizon 2020 grant of €3.2m.

Aiming to uncover key drivers behind why a growing number of working European citizens are at risk of falling below the poverty level, this three-year long project also has a goal of providing the EU legislator and Member States’ national legislators with a policy toolkit as well as recommendations on measures that can be taken to mitigate the risk of in-work poverty. A further objective of the project is to reinforce the European Pillar of Social Rights, and in particular the definition of fair and adequate wages and minimum income. To this end, seven EU Member States will be studied (Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Poland and Italy). These particular countries were selected due to their geographical location as well as their different social systems and legal framework.

Luca Ratti, University of Luxembourg Law Associate Professor and project coordinator, commented, “I am honoured to coordinate this important project. It will help developing a better understanding of the in-work poverty phenomenon, while suggesting viable legal and policy solutions to overcome current inequalities in the labour market. It will ultimately help reconstructing the people’s perception of their being European citizens”.

For more detailed information about the project, read November's news article