New project on “working, yet poor” people receive big grant from Horizon2020
They work, but earn wages that leave them on the verge on the poverty line. The emerging “working yet poor” workers are now to be researched in seven European countries. The project as a whole receives 3.25 million euros in funding from the EU Horizon 2020 grant institute. Of this, 300.000 euros goes to the Swedish part of the project, led by Vincenzo Pietrogiovanni from Lund University School of Economics and Management.
There is an increasing social trend of working people at risk or below the poverty line, according to the new project Working and Yet Poor (WorkYP). The researchers across Europe will explore the reasons for such phenomenon and elaborate recommendations to the EU and legislators, in order to enhance the goals proclaimed in the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The project will analyse seven representative countries (Sweden, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Poland), selected on the basis of their geographical area, as well as their different social systems and legal orders.
“A vulnerability that needs to be addressed”
Sweden has a quite low rate of people in-work, while at-risk-of-poverty (7.0%), especially if compared to some of the other participating countries (Luxembourg 13.5%, Germany 9.1%, Italy 12.2%, Poland 9.7%), nonetheless there are sectors and workers in Sweden who have been facing these problems. Lund University School of Economics and Management researchers lead the Swedish part of the study and will investigate the Swedish system in its legislative, policy and socio-economic aspects.
Vincenzo Pietrogiovanni, associate professor of Labour Law, is the coordinator of the multidisciplinary unit in Lund, which also consist of Anna Missiaia, senior lecturer of Economic History, and from 1 April Ann-Christine Hartzén, postdoctoral researcher in Business Law with full focus on research on the working poor in Sweden.
“It is important to do research on people that are working, but yet are poor, because this would shed a light on such workers who might disappear from statistics on social exclusion, such as those on unemployment. Indeed, they represent a social vulnerability that needs to be addressed by law and policymakers. In-work poverty may be the results of different types of problems, for instance, issues related to the labour market, the welfare state or the education system. Investigating it will help in understanding the pitfalls and, as a consequence, limit – or hopefully fix – the problems,” Vincenzo Pietrogiovanni says.
Is this something new – for Sweden or Europe – people working, yet poor? Or is it perhaps something that has returned?
“To some extent, working poor represent a new issue, at least in Europe after WWII, when having a job has usually meant the key to access a free and decent life for the workers and their families,” Vincenzo Pietrogiovanni says.
The project started in February 2020 and will continue until January 2023.