Universiteit Leiden

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Research programme

Reform of Social Legislation

The consequences of social tendencies for the legislation and institutions in the fields of social security, the labor market policy and pension reform are examined in this multdisciplinary research program.

Contact
Olaf van Vliet

Recently, a number of fundamental changes have occurred in the fields of social security and the labor market. Among others, disability, unemployment and pension schemes have been drastically modified, both in the Netherlands and other OECD countries. The labor market and labor relations are now more flexible.

For the future, further adaptations can be expected due to social developments i.e., demographic ageing, individualization and internationalization.

Individualization and globalization

Demographic ageing increases the financial pressure on the welfare state, leading to an intensive social and scientific debate concerning the future of pensions and health care.

As a result of individualization, the need for more arrangements focused on individuals will arise, in which the employability of people will play a more central role. In addition, globalization and in particular European integration will influence national social security systems and may lead to further European coordination of social policy.

This research concerns the analysis of changes in the division of responsibilities (such as regulations at the national or at the European level, and public or private arrangements) and the changes to the objectives of social legislation (such as income protection, pension adequacy, promotion of labor force participation and balanced labor relations) and the degree to which these objectives are achieved.

This program entails analyses of both already realized reforms and of reform options for the future. It focuses in particular on the legal and economic aspects of the reform of social legislation. In addition, also a socio-scientific perspective is taken into account. The bulk of the research has a clear multidisciplinary character. It draws on several research methods: legal (among which is comparative law), economic (among which stands empirical analysis) and social-scientific (among which is comparative welfare state analysis).

Reforms of the social security system 

In the first component of the research program, the reforms of the social security system, pension systems and the reforms on the labor market are analyzed from a national and international perspective. Here, the socio-economic effects of several programs are addressed, such as the impact on the incomes of households and individuals. Also the legal consequences of the reforms are interpreted, for instance in the area of disability.

Furthermore, the implications of recent developments, such as demographic ageing and individualization, for the design of social security systems are examined. Here, the research is focused on, among others, the major reforms in the pension system, including both the public scheme (AOW) and the supplementary pensions. Public and private pensions have become less generous, the costs of long term care are increasing and house prices are decreasing. Currently, these developments have raised a lot of discussion about the financial position of current and future retirees in relationship with proposed pension reforms. The research program investigates the level, distribution and uncertainty of current and future retirement income in the Netherlands (and some other OECD counties) using several administrative datasets and a microsimulation model.
Also, the reform of the Dutch labor law will be taken into account. This concerns the study into adjustments of the Dutch labor law towards social developments, encompassing dismissal legislation, labor relations in the civil service (which includes the debate regarding the status of civil servants and the integration of the dispute resolution), labor dispute resolution in general and the right to training. In particular, the labor market position of older workers in the context of the objective to stimulate prolonged worklifes, will be taken into account.

Influence of internationalization and European integration 

The second component concerns the influence of internationalization and in particular that of European integration on social legislation. Attention is given, amongst others, to the question of  whether and to what extent the disappearance of economic borders constitutes a threat to national social security systems. Another question that is analyzed, is to what extent the social schemes in the Member States of the EU are converging. Furthermore, the legal and economic meaning of the European means of governance with respect to social policy is investigated.

Social security systems are in principle a national responsibility, but more and more co-ordination takes place at the European level. In this respect, the effectiveness of this coordination with respect to poverty reduction and the promotion of employment is analyzed. Finally, attention is paid to the internationalization of labor law. Within a European network, that has been co-founded with the University of Frankfurt, a study is conducted on the Restatement of European individual labor law. Study also takes place regarding the International Labour Organisation and the European Social Charter.

Academic Staff

PhD Candidates

External PhD Candidates

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