In-work poverty in Europe. A study of national policies

Peña-Casas R., Ghailani D., Spasova S. and Vanhercke B.

European Social Policy Network (ESPN), Brussels: European Commission

Date de publication

This synthesis report based on the in-depth national contributions prepared by the 35 Country Teams of the European Social Policy Network (ESPN) outlines five key findings:

  • The in-work poor represent a substantial group among workers and their numbers continue to grow in many European countries, leading to a polarisation within the EU.
  • In certain categories of the population (mostly young, low educated, non-standard workers, poor households with children including lone parents, workers and households with low work intensity) in-work poverty (IWP) is significantly higher and has in some cases been increasing significantly in recent years.
  • Governments typically combine a variety of measures (such as minimum income, minimum wage, income replacement or supplement, active labour market policies, tackling labour market segmentation, family and in-work benefits) that directly influence IWP. However, most often IWP is not a stated policy goal. Moreover, a number of other policies and measures (such as childcare, housing and healthcare) which may only have an indirect impact on IWP are equally important to address this complex issue.
  • Though the issue of IWP is not extensively discussed in policy discourse and action, most of the countries accelerated the pace of related policy reforms between 2015 and 2018.
  • The commonly agreed EU indicators of IWP are a good basis for understanding and monitoring IWP, but some additional breakdowns of these indicators (such as IWP rates before and after social transfers) should be available on the Eurostat website.
Cette publication est disponible en