Ireland is an ‘outlier’ in terms of its weak employment protection and modest social security spending after significant social policy change during the financial crash, research suggests.
A report compiled by the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute found Irish authorities substantially reduced benefit spending and placed a greater number of conditions on accessing those benefits since the onset of the crisis without improving employment supports to help unemployed people.
The report was also critical of the level of investment in initiatives designed to encourage workers into the labour market and enhance lifelong learning opportunities.
Overall, the Sheffield team’s research found a significant shift towards weaker job security and employment support across Europe since the global financial crisis.
“In post-crisis Europe there has been a significant policy shift towards a more liberal model of weaker job security and increased labour market flexibility. This is a continent-wide trend and the UK is at the forefront,” said report co-author, Professor James Heyes.
“Across European Union states it has become easier to lay off workers, adult training and education provision is declining, and social security systems are being restructured with greater conditionality and ‘workfare’ approaches to benefit entitlements.”
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